What all you need to know to prepare for the class 5 maths Olympiad

math olympiad

Olympiads are examinations for school students to compete with other students on an educational level that is similar to their educational level. Such examinations promote the learning of skills in fields like mathematics, science, computer technology, reasoning ability or English language among the students.

An Olympiad prepares a child for further competitive exams and provides knowledge on a better level than what they usually study. It always turns out to be helpful to appear in an Olympiad in some or another way. Olympiads provide the students an edge among the others and develop them on a personal level as they are national and international level.

Class 5th is the one where a child sets the base for academics and further career to explore all the options. A Math Olympiad enables the student to establish firm knowledge for all the various topics and concepts. Students can also get an insight into the lives of students further and also acquire more skills like time management, competitive skills, etc.

A Math Olympiad comprises two levels and has 50 multiple choice questions in total. The first level is of 1-hour duration and has a total of 60 marks. After clearing that, you move onto the second level which is a 2-hour examination comprising of 70 questions and a total of 100 marks.

It comprises 4 sections – Logical Reasoning, Mathematical Reasoning, Achievers Section and Everyday Mathematics.

The first section has Analogy and Classification, Coding-Decoding, Embedded Figures, Geometrical Shapes and Solids, Direction Sense Test, Mirror Images, Ranking Test, Days, Dates & Possible Combinations.

The second section comprises – Measurement of Length, Weight, Capacity, Time, Temperature and Money, Conversions, Numerals, Number names and Number Sense (7- and 8-digit numbers), Computation Operations, Fractions and Decimals, Geometrical Shapes and Solids, Angles, Perimeter of Various Shapes & Area of Rectangle and Square, Symmetry, Data Handling.

The third section includes similar topics in section 2 and the fourth section comprises higher complexity level questions with the topics in section 2.

Some excellent resources to start the preparation of a Math Olympiad are study material like books and worksheets. Studying with worksheets will help students to grasp all important concepts and topics covered in class 5. There are several multiple-choice questions from each section that are provided for students to develop a deep understanding of solving tricky problems. The time management skills and computational clarity of students will also be improved by solving these complex questions within a given time. The questions given in these worksheets are similar and at par with the original problems provided in the final exam. To evaluate their preparation and progress, hints and step-wise solutions to all problems are also given at the end of worksheets.

Apart from all this, there are resources for different subjects widely available on the internet. Students can also surf and watch videos to understand a concept they are not clear about.

The most important things to keep in mind while preparing for an Olympiad are:

  1. Time management – It is important to keep doing your regular tasks, school work and extra-curricular activities while preparing for an Olympiad. One should not lose track of what’s going on in school and the world.
  2. Being Consistent – It is not necessary to study for a long period of time but it is important to be regular with studying for the Olympiad. Long gaps for days will make a student out of touch with the concepts they have learned and understood.
  3. Clarity of concepts – It is extremely important to understand all the concepts deeply with your heart. Once the concept is clear, a student can solve any problem related to it. If a concept is not clear, it will lead to confusion and self-doubt.
  4. Optimism – Apart from studying and learning you must believe that you can do this if you want to. Many students tend to be worried about their examinations and lose self-confidence; they start doubting themselves which further leads to making mistakes in the examination. This should be avoided. Keep in mind to do some exercise and play to keep your mind fresh daily.

The final step after you have completed your syllabus and every concept is clear is to solve sample papers. Sample papers and previous year question papers are widely available and help a lot to understand the structure of the examination paper. It provides an idea of the actual paper when one solves it within the stipulated time. A student will also be able to know where they stand and their level of preparation, which topic is weak and needs to be practiced more.

The International Maths Olympiad (IMO) is an Olympiad conducted by SOF, the Science Olympiad Foundation. The pattern for examination is almost the same, although there could be some differences or a common question pattern which would be visible in the Olympiad papers of all the years. Sample papers are based on the actual papers and if one is giving the Olympiad, for example, the year 2017, it is not only important to solve all the question papers available for that year, but also for IMO Class 5 2016 Question Paper. It is beneficial to solve the previous year’s question papers of at least 4-5 years back. That means, if one is giving the Olympiad in the year 2020, he/she must solve the IMO Class 5 2016 Question Paper, IMO Class 5 2017 Question Paper, IMO Class 5 2018 Question Paper, and so on.


The maths Olympiad, IMO can be prepared for very easily, given, the student is spending the right amount of time and studying with the necessary resources. Some factors like time management, clarity of concepts, the mental capacity of a student, or the capacity of the student to absorb and process all the information matter a lot. Every child is different but with hard work, anyone can do anything. There are many opportunities that knock on your door, if you miss out on one, wait for another one!

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