What do you need to know to prepare for the Class 8 Maths Olympiad?

A systematic approach is a key to success in any examination, and more so an Olympiad.

The Olympiad helps to identify young talents who have special skills for various subjects from across the world. It also helps to motivate students to improve their performance.

According to the website of the Science Olympiad Foundation, the International Mathematics Olympiad (SOF IMO) will be held on one of the following dates according to the convenience of the schools.

Saturday 4th & Sunday 5th Dec 2021

Friday 24th & Sunday 26th Dec 2021

Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th Jan 2022

Therefore, the preparation should start keeping in mind these dates.

The paper will have 4  sections.

Logical Reasoning                    15 X  1               15

Mathematical Reasoning        20 X  1               20

Everyday Mathematics           10  X  1               10

Achievers Section                    5   X  3                15

Total                                           50                        Total Score : 60

The logical reasoning syllabus will be general verbal and nonverbal reasoning. The other 3 sections will follow the same syllabus as a school – Rational Numbers, Squares and Square Roots, Cubes and Cube Roots, Exponents and Powers, Algebraic Expressions and  Identities, Linear Equations in One Variable, Understanding Quadrilaterals, Mensuration, Visualising Solid Shapes, Constructions, Data Handling, Direct and Inverse Variations, Factorisation, Introduction to Graphs, Comparing Quantities, Playing with Numbers.

The syllabus is a combination of the ICSE, CBSE and state board syllabus content. The olympiad generally provides questions of a higher level to check the conceptual clarity of the students and to test their thinking. Various experts in the field put together the paper keeping in mind a class 8 student. The aim of these questions is to promote the students to think beyond just the scope of their school syllabus. Students can check previous year papers to get a clearer idea of the type of questions asked.

There will be two levels to the olympiad. The level 1 exam is open to any student interested in participating. The top 5% of students, 25 zone toppers, and toppers from every school with at least 10 participants with a minimum 50% score are eligible for the level 2 exam.

The level 1 exam will have a 40% syllabus from class 7 and for the level 2 exam, all the questions will be from class 8.

For the sources, the basic source should be the textbook provided by the school, be it any board – ICSE or CBSE or any state board. The next best resource that can be used is the SOF website, it contains books and resources and also sample papers to check the level of preparation.

The SOF website also suggests various other books or materials (all available on the MTG website) –

MTG Class wise Workbooks

SOF Olympiad Trainer’ Mobile Apps

OSDS (Olympiad Skill Development System)

Previous Years’ Papers

Olympiads’ Books of Reasoning (to prepare for the reasoning section)

The 100 Percent Real Test Papers


Once the student understands the syllabus, they should go through past year question papers to determine the types of questions and to identify the most significant areas/topics or the most frequently asked types of questions

Smart work can help out at times. In most cases, the whole syllabus of class 8 will not have been completed by the time the IMO is conducted. In case there is plenty of time at hand, then the student can consult teachers or online sites and do self-study.

Else, as the syllabus consists of questions from the student’s previous year of study i.e. class 7 and what is being taught in the current school year (class 8), the ideal technique for preparation would be to review the previous year’s portions and clarify the concepts.

And secondly, the student should form a firm understanding of whatever is currently being taught in class 8.

Instead of attempting to focus on the entire syllabus and not reaching anywhere, the best way to approach the Class 8 syllabus is to study and practice and keep revising what has already been taught, as completing the entire syllabus in such a short time span is impossible for a student in class 8, and students can gain a basic understanding of other topics that have not yet been covered if there is the time at hand.

Another important and advantageous point is that the exam does not have negative markings. Hence, the maximum number of questions can be attempted, almost all the questions.

All 50 questions need to be completed in 60 minutes. So timed practice is the key. Try to attempt at least 10 or 15 questions every day and complete it on time.

Mock Tests are the most crucial part of the entire preparation process. Mock Tests should be done on a regular basis, maybe on weekends or as time permits. This helps the student in becoming familiar with the question pattern. The mock examinations should be finished in the allotted one hour, which will assist the student in managing time during the actual exam.

Furthermore, the paper should be examined to see the topics the student excels at. This will help in determining which topics the student should focus on or what can be improved. The internet has various IMO Maths Olympiad Class 8 Sample Paper 1 which can be used to the student’s advantage.

While attempting the exam, make sure not to hover over questions that can waste a lot of time and may not even provide a correct answer. Make it a point to solve the easiest questions first and then take time to move on to the more challenging questions. After attempting the questions, try to double-check all the answers up to the very last step including all calculations. This will help in having maximum accuracy.

The most important thing to remember when preparing for the Maths Olympiad is to be calm and confident along with hard work. The ability to manage time is essential for success. Students should form a timetable and schedule time for other topics in school, as well as for rest and enjoyment, in addition to preparation for the Maths Olympiad.

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