Math Exams

IMO: Equating Math with Creativity


July 9, 2020

Reading Time: 3 minutes


According to Po-Shen Loh, USA’s coach for the International Math Olympiad: Math is creative thinking and problem-solving in an analytical environment. It induces the ability of mathematical reasoning in your child.

Mathematical thinking is not the same as just performing Mathematical calculations or solving complex mathematical problems. Mathematical Thinking is an essential life skill that would help your child develop a valuable mental ability.

The Math that your child is taught in school focuses mostly on learning procedures that equip them with the knowledge to solve highly complex and stereotyped problems.

On the other hand, professional mathematicians think in a certain way, that helps them solve real-life problems with the help of maths. The goal of school math should be to inculcate the habit of solving a problem in multiple ways and fostering the ability to think outside the box.

The International Math Olympiad is one of the most prestigious Math competitions held in India under the purview of the Science Olympiad Foundation(SOF) which aims to recognize and encourage the mathematical abilities in students, both in India and throughout the world. 

The International Math Olympiad gives your child the ability to assess every situation around them with a mathematical or arithmetical mindset. 

All Indian students from class 1 to 12 are eligible for the IMO exam. All schools with affiliations with SOF organization, hold IMO exams annually, throughout the year according to schedules and schemes.

How to participate in IMO?

The International Math Olympiad is not just a math competition; it’s a global challenge that helps your child grow their mathematical skills in a competitive environment.

The International Mathematical Olympiad was first started in Romania in the year 1959. As of 2020, China holds the top position in the International Mathematical Olympiad.

In 2021, the International Mathematical Olympiad will be conducted from the 14th of July to the 24th of July in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The selection process differs in every country. India has been participating in IMO since 1989 and has never finished first in IMO.

For representing India at IMO, there is a four-stage process that tests the math skills of a child. First, there is a pre-regional exam from which shortlisted candidates participate in the regional level exam. The selected students then take part in Indian National Math Olympiad, and the shortlisted candidates from this stage go through a rigorous IMO training camp. Six students are then selected to represent India at IMO. 

How IMO helps your Child?

1. Induces Mathematical Creativity

Math is the art of creative thinking in a problem-solving environment by using analytical and reasoning skills together to solve complex problems.

IMO requires your child to focus on a complex problem in a multitude of ways which goes beyond the basic structure of the blackboard educational system.

 The questions are made in a way that requires your child to find solutions that are not straightforward.

2. Allows your child to brainstorm with different people from all over the world

The International Math Olympiad allows your child to meet and interact with people from all over the world.

This poses a great opportunity for your child to compete with some of the best mathletes. It creates room for positive connections and healthy competition for your child to partake in.

important notes to remember
"Math Olympiads broaden horizons regarding mathematics and allows your child to look into it as a challenge instead of being scared of it."

3. Gives a window for your child to explore Math beyond school

The pattern of questions set in the International Math Olympiad is quite different from what your child is taught at school. The Math Olympiad is created to challenge your child’s problem-solving skills in the practical world that is beyond what your child learns at school.

At Cuemath, we believe your child needs to be equipped with the knowledge to solve complex real-life problems that would help him/her work their way through the curveballs life throws at them.

  • SOF arranges 6 different Olympiads annually. The Math Olympiad (International Mathematics Olympiad or IMO) is conducted on two levels. The scheme is patterned according to each class and its scope and syllabus.

  • The exam papers for each class are different and one can find class-wise detailed information about the latest IMO Exam pattern here.

4. Changes your child’s perspective about Math

IMO is created keeping in mind that Math is not all about routine problem-solving.

It shows your child that Math can be fun, and is not rooted in rot learning and memorizing formulas.

This removes the tag of difficulty and boredom from math and helps curb the fear of math in your child.

OMR sheet

5. Allows your child to invent their own solutions

Math problems can have many different answers. IMO problems are set in a way that requires your child to find and innovate their own solutions to real-life problems. When your child solves such unique problems, it does not just challenge them; it inspires them to continue striving towards betterment.


Participating in Olympiads has multiple benefits for your child and participating in such international level competitions will increase their confidence in mathematics and even inspire them to do wonders in their academic careers.

Do you want your child to be Olympiad ready for the International Mathematical Olympiad? Enroll your child in Cuemath special IMO course today!

Cuemath, a student-friendly mathematics platform, conducts regular Online Live Classes for academics and skill-development and their Mental Math App, on both iOS and Android, is a one-stop solution for kids to develop multiple skills

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is IMO?

The International Math Olympiad is one of the most prestigious Math competitions held in India under the purview of the Science Olympiad Foundation(SOF) which aims to recognize as well as encourage the mathematical abilities and innovative talents in students, both in India and throughout the world.

How to enroll for the IMO?

Students have to undergo Math Olympiad exam registration. They have to apply from their own schools first. To know more about IMO Registration and Application click here.

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