The first IMO was held in Romania in 1969. Since then it has been held every year except 1980. About 80 countries send teams of (at most) 6 students each (plus one team leader and one observer). Officially there are no teams, and all scores are given only to individual contestants. Constestants must be under the age of 20 and must not have any postsecondary school education. Subject to these conditions, an individual may participate any number of times in the IMO.
The paper consists of 6 problems, with each problem being worth 7 points. The total score is thus 42 points. The examination is held over two consecutive days; the contestants have 4.5 hours to solve 3 problems on each day. 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, and often admit of short and elegant solutions. Finding them, however, requires exceptional ingenuity and mathematical ability.
Awards The participants are ranked based on their individual scores.
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