British Mathematical Olympiad

Olympiad Training

Various training camps and correspondence courses 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, the Advanced Olympiad Mentoring Scheme runs from September to March (by invitation) for students who have scored highly on BMO, and have a good chance to represent the UK at an international competition in the future.

Initial training camp, Oxford

The annual cycle starts with a week-long residential camp in September for students who are new to international-level olympiad mathematics. The usual programme involves masterclasses in geometry and number theory each morning, with a varied schedule of sessions and talks in the afternoons.

We aim to invite 24 students to this camp. The majority of students attending this camp are at the end of Years 10 or 11, but occasionally younger students are invited too. Students for this camp are selected based on information from various competitions held over the previous year, especially BMO1, and the Hamilton and Maclaurin Olympiads for Year 10 and 11 pupils.

From 2001 until 2008, this initial training camp held at the University of Bath. Since 2009, we have been hosted by The Queen’s College, Oxford.

New Year camp, Hungary

Since 2001, we have taken twenty UK students each year to a residential camp in Hungary over the New Year period, for joint training with Hungarian olympiad students. Most days start with individual problem-solving, followed by talks from visiting Hungarian mathematical speakers either side of lunch. There is a break from mathematics either side of the New Year, and the group often visits the State Opera House or another theatre for a New Year’s Eve performance.

The UK participants are selected mostly based on scores in BMO1. There are two 4.5 hour IMO-style practice exams during the camp, which are also used to select the UK team for the upcoming Romanian Masters of Mathematics competition.

Currently, this camp is held in Central Budapest, but previous editions have been held in a range of locations in Hungary including, for many years, in the town of Tata beside Lake Oreg-To.

Spring training and selection camp, Cambridge

The traditional spring training and selection camp has been generously hosted by Trinity College, Cambridge for more than 30 years. The camp is held at Trinity’s leafy accommodation satellite at Burrell’s Field, with visits to the college’s main campus, including its grand dining hall, for meals and some other activities.

The camp involves olympiad-focused mathematical sessions for most of the day, delivered by a mixture of UKMT volunteers and guest speakers. Students are split into two roughly-equal groups based on experience levels. We aim to invite 24 students to this camp, based on performances in BMO1 and (principally) BMO2, with some places reserved for younger students who have shown promise for future years.

During the camp, students sit two IMO-style 4.5 hour exam papers (referred to as Team Selection Tests, or TSTs) which are used to select a squad of roughly ten students to participate in further training, and final selection. In addition, the team for the Balkan Mathematical Olympiad is also selected based on TST1 and TST2.

IMO selection camp

The team of 6 for the IMO is finalised during the late-May half-term, following two further Team Selection Tests at a short residential camp.

In previous years, this camp has been held in Oxford, Leeds, Tonbridge School, Oundle School, and Trinity College, Cambridge.