British Mathematical Olympiad

Olympiad Training

Various training camps are held throughout the year to select and prepare students for participation in the UK team at forthcoming International Mathematical Olympiads and other international events. In addition, there is an Advanced Mentoring Scheme, and correspondence training for team members and potential team members for particular international competitions.

Initial training camp, Oxford

Since 2001–2, the annual cycle has started with a week-long camp in September (originally at the University of Bath; at The Queen’s College, Oxford from 2009) for students who are new to Olympiad training, and who may be ready to join the Advanced Mentoring Scheme. Students for this camp are selected based on information from Summer Schools, the Senior Mentoring Scheme and various competitions held over the previous year, including those for younger students such as the Intermediate Mathematical Olympiad and Kangaroo (IMOK).

New Year camp, Hungary

Since 2001–2, there has been a visit to Budapest over the New Year to train with the Hungarian IMO squad. Students for this camp are selected based on performances in BMO 1, taking into account how much previous training they have received.

Easter camp, Cambridge

The traditional Easter training and selection camp has been held at Trinity College, Cambridge from 1989 onwards. The BMOC is most grateful to Trinity College, Cambridge for its generous hosting of the event. Based on performances in BMO 1 and BMO 2, along with any other relevant information such as that from exams at the Hungary camp, 24 students are invited to the Trinity camp. The group includes all candidates for the current year’s IMO team along with some younger students being blooded for the future. There are 4 or 5 sessions per day covering material which is useful for IMO problems. Part way through and at the end of the 6-day camp, students sit two IMO-style 4½-hour papers, after which a final small UK IMO squad is selected for intensive training. This group normally contains about ten students. In addition, the team for the Balkan Mathematical Olympiad is selected at the end of this camp, subject to the timing of the camp and of that Olympiad.

IMO selection camp

The team of 6 for the IMO is finalised towards the end of May after a training and selection camp. This camp is attended by the approximately ten students selected at the end of the Trinity camp. This camp was held in Leeds in 2019, at Tonbridge School from 2015 to 2018 and at Oundle School from 2002 to 2014, with a similar camp being held at Trinity in 2001.

Pre-IMO camp

A final camp for the IMO team is held immediately before the IMO; when possible, that final camp is a joint camp with the Australian team and the Mathematics Ashes competition is held at that camp.

Advanced Mentoring Scheme

In addition to the main UKMT mentoring schemes, there is an Advanced Mentoring Scheme for those students working closest to IMO level. This scheme works in the same way as the other mentoring schemes. Students are selected for it based on performances at the Oxford camp and in BMO1 and BMO2. Performances on mentoring sheets are not part of the selection criteria for international competitions.