The Math Olympiad is a math problem solving competition designed to feed student’s love of math. Other goals of the competition are to introduce important math concepts and to encourage creativity and flexibility in problem solving. Most of all, the point is to love math and have fun doing it. The Math Olympiad was created in 1977 by a math educator named Dr. George Lenchner. In any given year, almost 170,000 students participate. These students are from all 50 states and 30 other countries. In today’s competitions, schools or homeschool associations can enter teams of up to 35 students. Each team can compete in just one division. Those divisions are for grades 4-6 and 6-8. Being selected for a team can be as easy as signing up with a teacher. As students get older, the selection process may involve taking a test for team placement.
The Math Olympiad includes various mathematical topics, including number theory and combinatorics. Combinatorics can be almost anything in mathematics, such as algebra, arithmetic or geometry. Participants in the Math Olympiad can win awards based on individual and team performance. Everyone who participates receives a Certificate of Participation. Each team’s high scoring member receives trophy. Other awards include, silver and gold pins, plaques and embroidered patches.
How to Prepare and Study for the Math Olympiad
To prepare for the Math Olympiad, students need to practice, practice, practice, and practice some more. Students preparing for a math contest such as the STEM Math Olympiad need to know what kind of math concepts to know and practice. Fundamental math skills, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division should be strong and quick so that test time isn’t spent trying to recall them. Olympians also need to practice higher level math skill such as algebra. Finally, problem solving skills should be refined and practiced. Just like an athlete prepares for a game or math by practicing their sport, a math contest participant must do the same.
Other Math Competitions
Math competitions are a fun way to practice, refine, and show off one’s math skills. They bring together students from a variety of places and backgrounds. Math is a subject that creates a shared language even when participants may speak different ones. Math competitions combine the fun of math and the fun of sport into one activity.