A programme to help students prepare for competitions
We believe that competitions can be a valuable experience for many young mathematicians, especially when framed in a broad context with appropriate preparation.
Many students who would benefit from our competitions, especially the British Mathematical Olympiad Rounds 1 and 2, might not be sure how to start preparing. The Olympiad Mentoring Scheme (OMS) is designed to help such students, while teaching some general mathematical skills. Some students may be supported by one of our volunteer mentors.
How does the OMS work?
Each month, students will receive a problem sheet. A discussion of the problems, which include background material and discussions of general methods and topics of related interest as well as solutions, are issued to students at the end of the month. Students with mentors are encouraged to discuss their attempts at the problems and with their mentor during the month, as well as to ask for hints or help understanding the theory.
For the first five months of the year, the sheets aim towards BMO1 and then BMO2, guiding students through relevant theory and highlights among recent problems. The final sheets are more topic-based, prompting students to explore slightly beyond the realm of the competition syllabus, and hopefully leaving some thought-provoking material for the summer.
Please Note: The Olympiad Mentoring Scheme is running on a two-year cycle, starting with the trial year in 2019/20. Please do not publish the problems or solutions on the internet; see our policy on the use of intellectual property.
Who is the OMS For?
The OMS is suitable for:
- students who are comfortable with and enjoyed the questions on MOG or earlier questions on BMO1 and are looking to improve at harder problems;
- students who enthusiastic to learn some extra-curricular theory which is interesting in its own right, and is sometimes useful for more advanced competitions.
Note that the OMS is run separately from the main Mentoring Scheme, which has a similar structure, but a broader mathematical focus with less emphasis on competition preparation. Students are not allowed to have a volunteer mentor on both schemes simultaneously.
How to join
The OMS is aimed at students based in the UK. Teachers from registered UKMT centres may request that their student receive the material:
Because of pandemic disruption, mentor availability is low for the academic year 2020-21, and mentors will mostly be assigned by invitation. There is the option on the form to add students to a waiting list for a volunteer mentor.
OMS Sample Sheet
The Olympiad Mentoring Scheme material was written by Freddie Illingworth (DPMMS, Cambridge), and Sam Bealing (Trinity College, Cambridge) with help from Tom Hillman (Trinity College, Cambridge).
Advanced Olympiad Mentoring Scheme
The Advanced Olympiad Mentoring Scheme (AOMS) operates in a similar way to OMS and is designed for students working at or towards the level of international competitions, such as the International Mathematical Olympiad and European Girls' Mathematical Olympiad. Participation in AOMS is by invitation based on scores in BMO and the resulting follow-on events.
The Advanced Olympiad Mentoring Scheme material was written by Dr Richard Freeland (Edinburgh), Dr Dominic Yeo (Dept. of Statistics, Oxford) and Aron Thomas (Trinity College, Cambridge).
Can you help us?
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Find out more about volunteering with us.