The International Maths Olympiad aims to bring together gifted pupils from all around the world in a friendly competition to stimulate their love for the subject. In India, an extensive selection procedure is in place to choose the very best talents who will represent India in the Olympiad. The Homi Bhabha Centre organises it for Science Education on behalf of the Government of India.

The selection process for IMO is divided into several stages, one of which is RMO or the Regional Maths Olympiad. It is conducted in 28 regions throughout the country. Any student from standards 8 to 12, born on or after August 2000, is eligible to take part in the Maths Olympiad programmes. Simultaneously, they need to have a thorough knowledge regarding an RMO exam pattern to do well in the same.

RMO or Regional Maths Olympiad is the second stage in this Olympiad selection procedure that takes place in December every year. Since the Olympiads are not like regular school level maths examinations, most students qualifying for this round will not be familiar with its question format and marking scheme. Consequently, they should start by knowing the RMO exam pattern before starting preparations.

The question paper contains six descriptive type mathematical problems in total, which are of 17 marks each. The offline exam lasts three hours. Candidates need to attempt all questions and they will be marked as per the accuracy level of their answers. In case of a partially correct or an incomplete answer, students will earn step marking. It is also important to note that regional coordinators can set their own question papers for RMO or access the one set by NBHM or National Board of Higher Mathematics.

Aside from an RMO exam pattern, one should also know about the pattern of questioning in other stages of the selection procedure. These have been discussed below in detail:

It is the first stage in a selection procedure for the International Maths Olympiad. However, the question paper varies a great deal from the RMO exam pattern. The 3-hour long test consists of 30 objective type questions in total. Questions 1 to 6 are of two marks. Problems 7-21 carry three marks each and questions 22-30 have five marks. It is compulsory to attempt all questions. Fortunately, there is no negative marking in case of incorrect answers.

Each question will have a one-digit or two-digit number as an answer which the student will have to mark in an OMR sheet.

Furthermore, it is also essential to note that students need to darken each answer bubble entirely so that an OMR machine can read the answer correctly. Accordingly, incompletely filled answer bubbles will not be captured, and students will not be marked. The candidate should also preserve their copy of the OMR sheet as it will be required later for verification.

Students who qualify PRMO can appear for the next round of its selection process. The first 300 students from classes 8, 9, 10 and 11 and first 60 candidates from standard 12 will be considered eligible for RMO.

Students who clear RMO can appear for the next stage in the selection procedure, which is INMO or Indian National Mathematical Olympiad. Top 30 students from standards 8, 9, 10, 11 and 6 students from class 12 from each region who have appeared for RMO will be chosen for this round. The four-hour written test usually takes place on the first Sunday of February.

Unlike RMO, the question paper for INMO is set centrally by the National Board of Higher Mathematics. The question paper follows RMO exam pattern, i.e., it contains six descriptive type math problems with the total marks being 102. Nevertheless, the difficulty level of the questions is higher than in RMO.

The first 30 students from standards 8, 9, 10, 11 and the top 6 from class 12 are selected as INMO awardees. The next 45 candidates are awarded an INMO Certificate of Merit. The awardees get a chance to attend the IMO training camp for a month. Based on several tests at the camp, a team of six will be chosen for the International Maths Olympiad.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the Syllabus for RMO?

The syllabus for Maths Olympiad including RMO covers pre-college level mathematics. Some of the chapters that students need to cover are quadratic equations, combinatorics, algebra, factorisation of polynomials, complex numbers, integers, probability etc. They also need to practise graph theory and coordinate geometry and number theory. While preparing for the Olympiad, students should keep in mind that the difficulty level will increase with each stage in the selection procedure and modify their preparation accordingly.

It is essential to know the syllabus thoroughly as it will enable a student to form a comprehensive idea of the type of questions. Besides that, they can also refer to previous year questions and sample papers to understand the RMO exam pattern better.

2. What are the Books to Prepare for RMO?

Some of the books that one can opt for to know the RMO exam pattern includes the following:

Problem Primer for the Olympiads

Challenge and thrill of pre-college mathematics

An excursion in mathematics

Inequalities: an approach through problems

Functional Equations

These textbooks are specially designed to help students who are preparing for the maths Olympiad. The mathematical problems given in these books are according to the exam pattern of RMO and INMO. Candidates can practise these problems to gain a better idea of the RMO exam pattern and the type of questions they will be facing during the Olympiad. Furthermore, the books also cover the topics in such a way so that students can find them interesting.