Guide To The Stages Of The International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO)

Guide to the Stages of the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO)

Guide To The Stages Of The International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO)

The International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) is one of the most prestigious high school mathematics competitions globally. This comprehensive guide provides everything students need to know about the IMO with a special focus on the stages and levels of this esteemed olympiad.

Let’s get started:

What is the IMO?

The IMO is an annual international mathematics competition exam for high school students under the age of 20. It was first held in 1959 in Romania and has been conducted annually since then, except in 1980. Over 100 countries participate by sending teams. Each country’s team comprises up to 6 student competitors, 1 team leader, 1 deputy team leader, and observers. The exam is a two-day event, and on each day, students are expected to complete a question paper containing three detailed questions.

Benefits of Participating in the IMO

Competing in the IMO offers many benefits, including learning advanced mathematical concepts, developing strong logical thinking and problem-solving abilities, competing against top math students internationally, interacting with like-minded peers, getting the opportunity to travel to new countries, and visibility for future academic opportunities.

Eligibility Criteria for IMO India

To participate in the IMO from India, students must be born on or after January 1, 2004, be enrolled in 8–12th grade in a school in India, have a strong foundation in math, be fluent in reading and writing English, score a minimum of 60% in Preliminary Round (PRMO), Regional Mathematical Olympiad (RMO), and Indian National Mathematical Olympiad (INMO), and be selected for the International Mathematical Olympiad Training Camp (IMOTC).

Stages of IMO Selection in India

The selection happens in six stages:

Stage 1: Preliminary Round (PRMO)

The PRMO is a national-level exam conducted by the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE) with 30 multiple-choice questions testing basic math. Every question has a single- or two-digit answer, which must be entered on an OMR response sheet.

Stage 2: Regional Mathematical Olympiad (RMO)

The Regional Mathematical Olympiad (RMO), which is the second stage of the examination, is a three-hour test featuring six problems. RMOs are available in English, Hindi, and other regional languages, depending on the Regional Coordinators’ decision. The problems within each topic are known for their challenging and sophisticated nature.

Stage 3: Indian National Mathematical Olympiad (INMO)

In this stage, about 900 of the best students in the RMO participate in the Indian National Mathematical Olympiad (INMO), and the exam is conducted at 28 locations across the country on the third Sunday of every January. The top 35 students from this stage qualify for IMOTC.

Stage 4: International Mathematical Olympiad Training Camp (IMOTC)

The INMOC is a 10-day residential training camp in Mumbai conducted by HBCSE for the top 35 students from the INMO, with intensive training via lectures, exams, and problem-solving sessions from experts throughout the country. The top 6 students qualify to represent India at the IMO.

Stage 5: Pre-Departure Training Camp for IMO (PDC)

It is an 8–10-day residential training camp conducted by HBCSE with advanced training through lectures, tests, and mock papers prior to the departure of these six students for the IMO.

Stage 6: International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO)

The IMO is the final international competition held in a different country every year. The examination extends over two consecutive days, and students must complete two question papers, one on each day. Each of these question papers comprises three detailed problems.


● Arithmetic of Integers: Understanding the fundamental properties of integers and their operations.
● Geometry: Exploring geometric shapes, their properties, and spatial relationships.
● Quadratic Equations and Expressions: Solving and manipulating quadratic equations and expressions.
● Trigonometry: Delving into trigonometric functions and their applications.
● Coordinate Geometry: Studying the connection between algebra and geometry through coordinates.
● System of Linear Equations: Solving sets of linear equations and understanding their solutions.
● Permutations and Combinations: Investigating arrangements and selections in different scenarios.
● Factorization of Polynomials: Breaking down polynomials into their basic components.
● Inequalities: Exploring the relationships and properties of inequalities.
● Elementary Combinatorics: Examining counting techniques and basic combinatorial principles.
● Probability Theory and Number Theory: Unravelling the mysteries of Probability and number relationships.
● Finite Series and Complex Numbers: Understanding the summation of sequences and diving into complex numbers.
● Elementary Graph Theory: Exploring networks and their mathematical properties.

Please note that calculus and statistics are not part of this syllabus. Focus on enriching understanding of algebra, combinatorics, geometry, and number theory. While the topics covered are from Class X to Class XII curricula, the problems presented will challenge one with a higher level of difficulty and sophistication. As students progress from the RMO to INMO and eventually to the IMO, they’ll witness the complexity increasing, preparing them for exciting mathematical journeys ahead.


The International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) is undoubtedly one of the best avenues for young maths enthusiasts and it provides a host of attractive benefits like networking with international talent. However, we recommend thorough, methodical preparation due to its academic standard. IMO stands as a wonderful opportunity to open doors to new perspectives on maths as a field and thus, students should be well prepared for both its academic and non-academic facets.

Narayana Schools offers a comprehensive programme to help students crack IMO. Over the years, our students have successfully cleared IMO exams and secured silver and gold medals, a shining testament to our dedication.

Want to learn more about how we can help you crack IMO and other major Olympiads this year? Visit us at now and get a head start now!

To stay updated about all the important information from the Narayana Educational Institutions, Join our social media channels:

Guide To The Stages Of The International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top