What is a ‘Maths Olympiad’?

Maths Olympiad is an initiative to develop problem-solving abilities among students.  It aims to inculcate an interest in the subject through various competitions on a national as well as international level. It examines the student and whether by application of previous knowledge he/she can solve complex problems. It would not be wrong to say that Maths Olympiad aids students in testing their strengths and weaknesses in a particular subject. 

In India, several organizations conduct Maths Olympiad. A few of them are the Indian Talent Olympiad, Science Olympiad Foundation, Silver Zone Foundation, Eduheal Foundation, Crest Olympiads.

Internationally, Science Olympiad Foundation (SOF) conducts various Olympiads such as International General knowledge Olympiad (IGKO), International English Olympiad (IEO), International Social Studies Olympiad (ISSO), International Science Olympiad (ISO), International Commerce Olympiad (ICO), International Maths Olympiad (IMO) and National Cyber Olympiad (NCO). International Maths Olympiad (IMO) is being conducted since 1959 by SOF.

  1. Class 5 Maths Olympiad - Syllabus

The syllabus for the Olympiad exam for Class 5 students is the same as prescribed by the schools and the recognizing Boards.

It broadly includes: 

  1. Geometrical Concepts

  2. Factors and Multiples

  3. Decimals & Fractions 

  4. Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication & Division

  5. Measurement of Length, Weight, Capacity, Time, Money & Temperature

  6. Data Handling

  7. Logical Reasoning

  1. Pattern of Examination

The examination consists of 50 Questions. The time limit for attempting the Paper is 1 hour. It is conducted at State, National as well as at international levels.

  1. How to prepare for it?


To appear and excel in any examination the first step is to determine the sources and the available material on the same.

It is generally prescribed that for Maths Olympiad one should refer to books and courses prescribed by the respective board (Be it CBSE, ICSE, or any State Board). Moreover, one can refer to the online resources as well such as various YouTube channels that teach specifically for the Olympiads.

To test oneself before appearing for the big exam one should refer to various test series or Model test papers available in the market. There are various test packages and series which are available online such as IMO online test package for Class 5 available on the SOF website. It is also advisable that one should refer to past year papers so that one can get a fair idea of the type of questions which are asked. You can also refer to Class 5 IMO Question Paper 2016 for more insight. 

Preparation Strategy

While preparing for any exam one must stick to a particular strategy and prepare a schedule for the same. This may help the student in excelling in the exam without burdening oneself. 

It should always be kept in mind that nothing should be done with a burdensome approach. This doesn’t help in the long run and pressurizes the student. 

  1. Understanding the basics: One should focus on learning the basic concepts in detail and should learn to grasp the logic rather than mugging up. This will help in solving even complex questions with ease.

  2. Concept notes: Students should prepare self-notes for future references. The notes should be kept short and prepared for quick reference in the future. This will help them in saving time at the time of revision. 

  3. Scheduled Preparations: One should prepare a schedule that suits his daily balance of studies and other chores. It shouldn’t be too harsh focusing only on studies instead should be a balancing one that incorporates in it both the elements of study and fun in proportion. It is to be kept in mind that preparing for an Olympiad like this one requires constant preparation and not a few weeks of studies. Studying regularly will help in getting good scores in this exam.

  4. Previous Year Papers and Mock Papers: Solving past year papers will help a student in getting a fair knowledge of questions that are asked in the exam. Also, the workbook, mock test boost the self-confidence of the student. Students can analyze the weak areas which they need to work upon while attempting such question papers regularly.

  5. Practicing well: It is very well said that practice makes a man perfect. So the students should keep on practicing the concepts which they read and never just keep on learning and never putting it to practical use.

  6. Well begun is half done: It is said generally that beginning a project well makes it easier to finish. So, the students should start early and prepare well with their best efforts to excel in the exam.

  7. Study plan: Balance b/w School and Olympiad studies: As has been already mentioned earlier that the syllabus for a Class 5 Maths Olympiad is similar to the Class curriculum. So, one should focus in class while the concepts are being taught and then revise the concept at home and practice with the help of mock test papers and various other test series available offline as well as online. 

Remember, Focus is the key to success since it improves productivity. If a student is working effectively and efficiently while focussing on & working days according to the schedule can crack the exam.