SOF International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO)- All You Need to Know

IMO or the International Mathematics Olympiad is a mathematics-based competition conducted each year by the Science Olympiad Foundation (SOF). The Olympiad conducted for students of Class 1 to 12 aims to identify and support students who show a potential of becoming future scientists or technologists. IMO also helps students compete with other students from across the country or world. It helps them judge their mathematical skills. The results of the IMO give students an idea of their academic growth. A Student Performance Report (SPR) received after participating in the Olympiad provides a detailed analysis of the student’s performance.

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SOF, the organiser of IMO, is an educational organisation involved in the academic development of students. The foundation organises a number of national and international Olympiads including National Cyber Olympiad (NCO), National Science Olympiad (NSO), International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO), International English Olympiad (IEO), International Company Secretaries Olympiad (ICSO) and International General Knowledge Olympiad (IGKO). For over two decades, the SOF has been striving to promote scientific attitude through innovative activities involving students from across the country.

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This article talks in detail about all the aspects of IMO. If you are interested in knowing about the eligibility criteria, application process, awards, key dates, then this is the right place for you to be.

IMO – Overview

IMO, organised each year by SOF, helps students test their mathematics skills by competing with other students. Before diving into the specific details, one should have a brief idea about the Olympiad. We talk about all the relevant information in the table below.

Overview of IMO

Sr. No. Particulars Details
1 Objective of IMO To help students analyse their performance on the basis of their mathematical knowledge
2 Provider organisation Science Olympiad Foundation
3 Eligibility for IMO Class 1 to 12 students
4 Application process Through respective schools
5 IMO exam dates Level 1 exam: November – December

Level 2 exam: February – March

6 IMO awards Up to INR 50,000 + Gold medal + Performance certificate

IMO – Key dates

In order to avoid missing the application deadlines for the Olympiad, students must be aware of the key dates. It would help them apply for the Olympiad in due time before the deadline. The key dates for IMO are discussed in the table given below.

Key dates for IMO

Sr. No. Event Key dates*
1. IMO application deadline At least 30 days before the exam date
2. IMO Level 1 November – December
3. Level 1 exam result December – January
4.  IMO Level 2 February – March
5. Level 2 exam result March – April

*The dates mentioned above are tentative and subject to change as per the discretion of the organiser (SOF).

IMO – Eligibility

Class 1 to 12 students who want to assess their academic level in terms of Mathematics are eligible to apply for IMO. All the participants first appear for Level 1 exam qualifying which then makes them eligible for Level 2 exam.

Eligibility for Level 1 exam

Level 1 exam is open to all students of Class 1 to 12 irrespective of marks obtained. The relaxed eligibility criteria are beneficial in increasing the participation of a large number of students. Class 1 to 12 school students pursuing education within the country or abroad can be a part of IMO Level 1 exam.

Eligibility for Level 2 exam

Only those students who qualify a minimum perform level in the Level 1 exam are then shortlisted for Level 2. The following are the eligible students for Level 2 exam:

  • From each class, top 5% students will be eligible for Level 2 exam
  • Top 25 zone wise and class wise rank holders will also be eligible
  • Class toppers from each participating school where at least 10 students from a class appear in the exam and score 50% qualifying marks
  • In case of section-wise registration, top rank holder will be eligible for Level 2

However, it must be noted that Class 1 and 2 students don’t need to appear for Level 2 exam. Their performance will be judged based on Level 1 exam only.

IMO – Application process

Eligible students can apply for IMO by contacting their respective schools. Students can apply through their schools by following the below steps:

  1. The schools registered with SOF will receive the prospectus containing the registration forms.
  2. Schools thus need to first register them with the SOF. Students can then get the IMO registration forms from their respective schools.
  3. In case the school hasn’t registered with SOF, it can still request the prospectus by contacting SOF.
  4. Schools can get in touch with SOF through phone (0124-4951200) or email (
  5. Interested applicants can then fill the IMO registration forms with all the relevant details and submit the forms to their respective schools.
  6. The schools must then return the duly filled registration forms to SOF before the due date.

Applicants also need to pay a certain amount as registration fee. The fee will be in the following manner-

  • INR 125 (including GST) as registration fee per student for schools in India
  • USD 9 as registration fee per student for international schools

For covering honorarium of incharge or remuneration to teachers or other miscellaneous expenses, schools may charge an additional amount of INR 25 (or USD 1 for international schools) per student.

IMO – Exam levels

The IMO is structured as a two-level exam. Students exhibiting good performance in Level 1 qualify for the Level 2 exam. We will discuss further details about the Level 1 and Level 2 exam.

Level 1

The students of Class 1 to 12 take part in Level 1 exam. There is no requirement for minimum marks which makes it possible for a large number of students to participate in the Olympiad. The main features of Level 1 exam of IMO are:

  • The Level 1 exam is conducted during the school hours itself. It takes place in the students’ respective schools only.
  • It is a 60-minute exam with English as the sole medium.
  • There are objective-type questions in the exam paper. Students of Class 1 to 4 need to attempt 35 questions while Class 5 to 12 students need to attempt 50 questions in total.
  • The IMO question paper has 4 sections:
    • Logical Reasoning (Section 1)
    • Mathematical Reasoning (Section 2)
    • Everyday Mathematics (Section 3)
    • Achievers Section (Section 4)
  • Each section is given a separate weightage which is useful in case of a tie of marks.
  • Each class receives a separate question paper.
  • CBSE, ICSE/ISC and State Board syllabi are referred while setting the exam papers.

Level 2

Students performing admirably in Level 1 exam stand a chance to qualify for the Level 2 exam. However, only Class 3 to 12 students are eligible for Level 2 exam as the performance of Class 1 and 2 students is judged on the basis of their performance in Level 1 exam itself. The following students are selected for appearing in Level 2 exam:

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  • Top 5% class wise candidates who appear in Level 1 exam
  • Top 25 rank holders in Level 1 in terms of Class and Zone
  • Class topper will qualify for Level 2 where at least 10 students from a class appear in the exam and scores 50% qualifying marks

IMO – Awards

Top performing students in Level 1 and Level 2 exam will be awarded prizes on zonal, district and international level. Schools, exhibiting a good performance, will be awarded too. The details about the various IMO awards have been discussed in a tabular form below.

Awards for students

Participating students will receive various awards based on the ranks they achieve. Further details including selection criteria for awards, number of awards and award details can be found in the tables below.

Awards for Classes 1 and 2 and Level 2

International level
Rank Awards Total number of awards
1st Gold Medal + INR 50,000 Each + Certificate of Outstanding Performance 12
2nd Silver Medal + INR 25,000 Each + Certificate of Outstanding Performance 12
3rd Bronze Medal + INR 10,000 Each + Certificate of Outstanding Performance 12

 Awards for Classes 1 and 2 and Level 2

Zonal level
Rank Awards Total number of awards
1st Gold Medal + INR 5000 Each + Certificate of Zonal Excellence 240
2nd Silver Medal + INR 2500 Each + Certificate of Zonal Excellence 240
3rd Bronze Medal + INR 1000 Each + Certificate of Zonal Excellence 240
4th to 10th Medal of Distinction + Gifts worth INR 1000 Each + Certificate of Distinction + Certificate of Zonal Excellence 1680
11th to 20th Medal of Distinction + Certificate of Zonal Excellence + Certificate of Distinction + 3600
26th and above Certificate of Merit All

 Awards for Level 1 performance

Zonal level
Rank Awards Total number of awards
1 to 25 Medal of Distinction + Certificate of Distinction 240
26 and above Certificate of Participation All

 Awards for schools

Top performing schools are also felicitated with various awards. The tables below talk in depth about various awards for schools participating in the Olympiad.

Awards at international level

International level
Category Awards Total number of awards
Best Principal Trophy + INR 25000 Each + Citation 10
Best Teacher Trophy + INR 10000 Each + Citation 10

 Awards at zonal level

Zonal level
Category Awards Total number of awards
Best Principal Trophy + INR 10000 Each + Citation 100
Best Teacher Trophy + INR 5000 Each + Citation 60

 Awards at district level

District level
Category Awards Total number of awards
Best Principal Trophy + INR 2500 Each + Citation 500
Best Teacher Trophy + INR 1000 Each + Citation 500

IMO – Result declaration

The Olympiad results are usually declared within 8 weeks of the examination. Students can collect their results from their respective schools as the SOF sends the results directly to the registered schools. Alternatively, students can also check their results on the official website of SOF. The exact dates for the IMO result declaration are subject to the discretion of SOF. However, results are usually announced tentatively by December – January for Level 1 and for Level 2 by March – April.

Students participating in the IMO are also given a Student Performance Report (SPR). It is a detailed report of students’ performance in the Olympiad. SPR proves beneficial for students and their parents as it provides an extensive performance analysis. An SPR can help students understand their strengths and weaknesses. There are six sections in the SPR:

Section A: Marks achieved by the student as well as the rank achieved at School/City/Zone/International level

Section B: Section wise performance score of the student

Section C: Answers provided by the student, performance comparison with other students and the correct answers to the questions asked in the Olympiad

Section D: Percentage score analysis of the student with a comparison with the Class, City, Zone and International level

Section E: Average marks analysis comparison for students at the School, City, Zone and International level

Section F: Student’s performance in the Olympiad exams in the last 8 years

IMO – Contact details

Students can get in touch with SOF if they still have any pending queries in terms of IMO exam. The contact details are shown below:

  • Address: 1st Floor, Plot no. 99, Sector – 44, Gurgaon (Haryana) India. Pin- 122003
  • Phone: 0124-4951200, 9312680855, 9312680857
  • Office: 406, Taj Apartment, Ring Road, Adjacent Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, India. Pin – 110029
  • Registration queries: 0124-4951200,
  • Exam queries: 0124-4951200,
  • Result/Awards: 0124-4951200,
  • Roll no/Admit Cards: 0124-4951200,
  • General queries: 0124-4951200,

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