Cracking and scoring well in Olympiads can be a tricky task and can often scare students to their core. The major reason behind this can be the lack of knowledge one holds in regard to the Olympiads they have to undertake and not knowing how to prepare for the same. Broadly, the International Mathematics Olympiad is an Olympiad in the subject of mathematics attempted by primary, secondary and senior secondary school learners. The earliest Mathematics Olympiad took place in Romania in 1959. Since then, it is being held annually (except in 1980).
In India, the mathematics Olympiad is offered and governed by Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE) on behalf of the National Board for Higher Mathematics (NBHM) of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Government of India. The Olympiad is held for students of class 1st to 10th and the primary motive behind it is to clarify the base concepts among the learners so that they can get their hands on tricky questions without the fear of failing. Furthermore, Mathematics Olympiads foster students and help them put to test their strengths and work on their weaknesses in the subject.
Before appearing for the Olympiad, the learner appearing for the exam must be aware of the six stages at which the exam takes place. Stage one is a Pre-Regional Mathematics Olympiad that takes place at a school near the exam undertaker and comprises questions that have answers of 1 or 2 digits. Stage two is a Regional Mathematics Olympiad that takes place at a few numbers of centres in the region and has descriptive questions. Stage three is Indian National Mathematics Olympiad that takes place at 30 centres across India and has descriptive type questions. Stage four is the International Mathematics Olympiad Training Camp organized by HBCSE that conducts lectures and problem-solving sessions. Stage five is the Pre-Departure Camp, also organized by HBCSE, conducting a similar types of lectures and problem-solving sessions. Stage six is the International Olympiad held at international venues conducting problem-solving competitions.
An important question that may arise while applying for a Mathematics Olympiad is how to prepare for the same and what course of methodology must be followed. The learning and problem-solving capabilities of each student vary and hence, no specific path of action can be defined. What might work for one may not work for the bunch. There is, however, a basic outline that can be followed and moulded by exam takers according to what fits them the best and what caters to their needs the most.
Ab initio, it is crucial to know your syllabus. The Mathematics Olympiad for class 8 has a vast syllabus and questions that are part of a particular set come from a wide range of topics. You can also go through IMO Maths Olympiad Sample Papers for Class 8 for better preparation. Henceforth, the mere knowledge of what topics to cover is insufficient. The candidate appearing for the exam must have knowledge of the most and least important topics and allocate the time accordingly. Although, none of the topics must be left behind with a mindset that it is not important enough.
Once the candidate is familiarized with the syllabus, he/she must understand the level at with the exam is being conducted. It, not being a regular school examination, requires an in-depth knowledge of each concept with a higher level of theoretical and practical knowledge is required. The candidate must also visit the official website of the Mathematics Olympiad and look for instructions and study material provided by the organizing committee. There might also be any changes in the existing rules that the candidate must be aware of in order to avoid any type of error fault.
The candidate must further make sure to make the most out of available resources. Clarifying concepts from prescribed courses and textbooks is crucial. In contemporary times, the internet also serves as a helping hand and a virtual guide. The amount of matter and information available online is enormous and reliable. There is no limit to questions one can have access to via the means of the internet. The candidate can further ingress books by foreign authors that might not be available in their home country in form of e-book and PDFs.
Time management is the key. Be it a Mathematics Olympiad or any other field, being punctual and utilizing 24 hours of the day in the most effective and efficient manner can help succeed in any domain. Prioritizing studying and drafting a timetable to divide time to practice all the topics thoroughly has proven to be helpful. This eliminates the chances of putting the available time on any unproductive activity. After the formulation of the schedule, make sure to stick to it. If one wishes to succeed in the class 8 Mathematics Olympiad, he/she must remain extremely motivated and stick to the drafted timetable for optimized learning. No timetable can be stated to be perfect but it can certainly bring you one step closer to the correct path to follow. Time tables can also be re-adjusted in case any unavoidable task pops up.
The most common saying, “Practice makes a man perfect”, comes here to use. Practice numerous questions on each topic to provide yourself with more conceptual clarity and be confident in what alternative method you choose to reach the right solution. Not only practice different questions but also test different methods. Having a different approach and using a different method might take a lesser amount of time and may reduce the chances of error.
Do not forget to question yourself and your preparation before the final destination, i.e., the Mathematics Olympiad. Take online tests. Analyse your scores and work on your weak links. Work on them and put yourself to the test again. Do not forget to get a teacher’s opinion. Everything can not be done alone and the guidance of a reliable professional is like none other.
Lastly, do not lose your calm. It is observed that most mistakes are done in a hurry. Let your mind relax. The best way to do so is to either meditate or spend some quality time with family but make sure to not engage yourself in something that distracts you.
The road to success is surely not an easy one. The journey will be bumpy and full of ups and downs but once you reach the destination, it all seems worth the effort. It is because the taste of success is sweet and the final destination is beautiful.