Several former participants have won awards such as the Fields Medal. The examination consists of six problems. Each problem is worth seven points, so the maximum total score is 42 points. No calculators are allowed.
The examination is held over two consecutive days; each day the contestants have four-and-a-half hours to solve three problems. The problems chosen are from various areas of secondary school mathematics, broadly classifiable as geometry , number theory , algebra , and combinatorics. They require no knowledge of higher mathematics such as calculus and analysis , and solutions are often short and elementary. However, they are usually disguised so as to make the solutions difficult. Prominently featured are algebraic inequalities , complex numbers , and construction -oriented geometrical problems, though in recent years the latter has not been as popular as before.
Each participating country, other than the host country, may submit suggested problems to a Problem Selection Committee provided by the host country, which reduces the submitted problems to a shortlist. The team leaders arrive at the IMO a few days in advance of the contestants and form the IMO Jury which is responsible for all the formal decisions relating to the contest, starting with selecting the six problems from the shortlist.
As the leaders know the problems in advance of the contestants, they are kept strictly separated and observed. Each country's marks are agreed between that country's leader and deputy leader and coordinators provided by the host country the leader of the team whose country submitted the problem in the case of the marks of the host country , subject to the decisions of the chief coordinator and ultimately a jury if any disputes cannot be resolved.
The selection process for the IMO varies greatly by country. In some countries, especially those in East Asia , the selection process involves several tests of a difficulty comparable to the IMO itself. For high scorers in the final competition for the team selection, there also is a summer camp , like that of China. In countries of the former Soviet Union and other eastern European countries, a team has in the past been chosen several years beforehand, and they are given special training specifically for the event.
However, such methods have been discontinued in some countries. While identifying the winners, only the results of the current selection olympiads are considered.
Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education
The participants are ranked based on their individual scores. Medals are awarded to the highest ranked participants; slightly fewer than half of them receive a medal. The cutoffs minimum scores required to receive a gold, silver or bronze medal respectively are then chosen so that the numbers of gold, silver and bronze medals awarded are approximately in the ratios 1: Participants who do not win a medal but who score seven points on at least one problem receive an honorable mention.
Special prizes may be awarded for solutions of outstanding elegance or involving good generalisations of a problem. This last happened in Nikolay Nikolov, Bulgaria and Iurie Boreico , but was more frequent up to the early s. The rule that at most half the contestants win a medal is sometimes broken if it would cause the total number of medals to deviate too much from half the number of contestants. This last happened in when the choice was to give either The only countries to have their entire team score perfectly in the IMO were the United States in they were coached by Paul Zeitz ; and Luxembourg, whose 1-member team had a perfect score in Second place team East Germany also did not have a single gold medal winner four silver, four bronze.
As of July Zhuo Qun Song Canada is the most successful participant  with five gold medals including one perfect score in and one bronze medal. Christian Reiher Germany , Lisa Sauermann Germany , Teodor von Burg Serbia , and Nipun Pitimanaaree Thailand are the only other participants to have won four gold medals —03, —11, —12, —13, and —14 respectively ; Reiher also received a bronze medal , Sauermann a silver medal , von Burg a silver medal and a bronze medal , and Pitimanaaree a silver medal Terence Tao Australia participated in IMO , and , winning bronze, silver and gold medals respectively.
He won a gold medal when he just turned thirteen in IMO , becoming the youngest person at that time  to receive a gold medal a feat matched in by Zhuo Qun Song of Canada.
Note that both Elkies and Tao could have participated in the IMO multiple times following their success, but entered university and therefore became ineligible. The current ten countries with the best all-time results are as follows: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. List of International Mathematical Olympiads.
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International Mathematical Olympiad
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