Olympiads are a way for students to demonstrate their intellectual comprehension, conceptual clarity, and problem-solving abilities outside of the classroom. Thousands of students compete in Olympiads each year, conducted by the Science Olympiad Foundation (SOF) putting their skills to the test against their peers from all over the country. All of these tests and Olympiad questions are basically based on the school’s curriculum. Almost all of the topics are covered in your school’s curriculum. There are only a few things that need to be practiced independently. In comparison to your school exam, the pattern is quite a bit different. The best part of Olympiad Exams is that they provide students with a national or international level of competition, allowing them to evaluate their academic excellence in front of thousands of other students preparing from all over the country or the world. The Olympiad question format is objective in nature and primarily based on checking conceptual clarity. Olympiad Exams test your understanding of concepts, therefore objective Olympiad questions necessitate a strong foundation and topic knowledge, and especially for the International Maths Olympiad (IMO), conceptual clarity is of utmost priority.
It is always important to have a good idea about what you are getting into before you try preparing for it. Practicing previous year’s papers serves the same purpose. It helps in giving an all-rounded idea of what you are going to face. The olympiads are one of the toughest exams students face during school. Therefore a well-prepared strategy and its implementation are very necessary. Previous years’ questions provide a better understanding of the exam’s format. The aim here is only to learn new things, the main aim is to ace the exam. To get a good score, you must be good at solving questions of the same pattern.
The most authentic and reliable source of information for the pattern of questions is always past year papers. Once you go through these papers, you will gain an understanding of the types of questions that are asked on various themes, which sections are more important, what types of questions are commonly asked, and so on.
Practicing papers also helps you know the time you take to solve the paper. It is helpful in learning how to manage time and in figuring out your own way of attempting the paper. While solving these papers you get an idea of the type or areas of questions that are repeated. So when you revise, you know exactly what to look at and what all to skip. It also helps to evaluate your own performance and work on your shortcomings. Self-evaluation is an essential component of the preparation process, and you should assess your grasp of the ideas you’re studying for the exam. So, in order to pass the exam, solve as many papers as possible.
The olympiads also test analytical abilities, time management, conceptual knowledge, and a variety of other critical learning skills. They also serve as a benchmarking tool, allowing students to compare their abilities to those of their peers on a national and international scale. It also gives students a good exposure/experience of appearing in competitive exams at an early age.
Understanding the exam pattern is as important as knowing the syllabus. An excellent strategy to face the exam well is to evaluate previous year papers and get a proper understanding of the exact areas to be covered or to be given more importance. If you take a peek at the question paper pattern, you’ll see that the difficulty of the exam changes year by year. You can obtain a general sense of the level of difficulty & plan accordingly. You can form a clear idea of the exam trends and this will aid in making you think in that particular direction while attempting questions and this will also save time which is an essential part of competitive exams like the IMO. And there are also chances that the questions or the patterns will be repeated.
Solving questions from previous year’s Olympiads can help you build a firm foundation in maths. Make sure you have revised all the topics from various study materials before beginning to solve questions from previous year papers. Try to review the entire subject from your notes and ensure that you understand all of the formulas. There are also various websites that provide study notes and a list of the important formulae from each chapter. Those can be used in revising chapters before attempting papers. It would be really helpful if around 8 -10 previous papers are solved, at least from IMO Class 8 2013 Question Paper. Practicing so many papers will definitely give a clear idea of the pattern of the paper.
It is important to try out as many papers as possible but the catch is in knowing how to use this resource that is available to you. Solving papers and analyzing your mistakes will help in increasing your accuracy in the end. While analyzing the papers you get a very clear idea of the mistakes you make and the areas you are weak in or strong in. The strong areas need less time for practice but still should be practiced at regular periods so that the accuracy level is maintained. The weak areas should be given a lot of time and effort so that you get better at those topics and the accuracy is increased. You will also know what you need to revise more.
Also, when it comes to IMO, the more questions that are practiced, the better it is as maths is not just about having a good conceptual clarity but it also requires practice and a very clear idea on how to go about solving the problems.
The Olympiads are a great opportunity to encourage students to compare their knowledge to that of their peers. It also teaches students discipline and multitasking. The utilization of various resources online is strongly suggested for timely preparation. It provides students with the much-needed motivation to succeed in this high-level competitive exam.