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

The SOF International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO) is an annual mathematics competition conducted by the Science Olympiad Foundation (SOF) for students from classes 1 to 12. It is one of the most prestigious mathematics competitions in India, and it attracts students from all over the country. It aims to identify and support students with the potential to become scientists or technologists and help them compete with students from across the country and the world.

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The IMO is designed to test students’ problem-solving skills, logical reasoning, and mathematical knowledge. The competition consists of two levels: Level 1 and Level 2. Level 1 is conducted in schools across India, and Level 2 is conducted in select cities across India.

The top 5% of students who qualify for Level 2 of the IMO are awarded medals and certificates. The top 100 students in Level 2 are also invited to participate in the International Mathematics Olympiad Training Camp, where they are trained by some of the best mathematics teachers in India. 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.

For over two decades, the SOF has been striving to promote scientific attitude through innovative activities involving students from across the country.


If you are looking for a challenging and rewarding way to test your knowledge in a variety of subjects, the Indian Talent Olympiad (ITO) is a great option. The ITO offers Olympiads in Science, Maths, English, General Knowledge, Drawing, and Essay.

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Furthermore, this article provides detailed information about all aspects of the ITO, including eligibility criteria, application process, awards, and key dates.

IMO – Overview

The International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO), organized annually by the Science Olympiad Foundation (SOF), is a competition that allows students to assess their math skills by competing against their peers. Before delving into the specific details, it is important to have a basic understanding of the Olympiad.

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

To avoid missing the Olympiad application deadlines, students must be aware of the key dates. This will help them apply for the Olympiad on time and before the deadline. The key dates for the IMO are discussed in the table below.

  1. Registration Deadline: September 17, 2023
  2. Level 1 Exam Date:
    • Date 1 – 31st October 2023 (Tuesday)
    • Date 2 – 30th November 2023 (Thursday)
    • Date 3 – 14th December 2023 (Thursday)
  3. Level 2 Exam Date: DAte to be announced by January 2024

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

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IMO – Eligibility

Students from Classes 1 to 12 who want to test their math skills can apply for the IMO. All participants must first pass the Level 1 exam in order to qualify for the Level 2 exam.

Eligibility for Level 1 exam

  • The IMO Level 1 exam is open to all students from Class 1 to 12, regardless of their grades.
  • This relaxed eligibility criteria helps to increase the participation of a large number of students.
  • Any Class 1 to 12 student pursuing education within or outside of the country is eligible to participate in the IMO Level 1 exam.

Eligibility for Level 2 exam

Only students who achieve a minimum performance level in the Level 1 exam are eligible to participate in the Level 2 exam. The following students will qualify for the Level 2 exam:

  • The top 5% of students from each class
  • The top 25 students in each zone and class, based on their rank
  • Class toppers from each participating school where at least 10 students from a class appear in the exam and score 50% qualifying marks
  • The top rank holder from each section, in case of section-wise registration

Note: Class 1 and 2 students will not be required to take the Level 2 exam. Their performance will be judged based on the Level 1 exam only.

Benefits of Participating in the IMO

There are many benefits to participating in the IMO. Here are a few of them:

  1. Improving problem-solving skills – The IMO is a challenging competition that requires students to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions to mathematical problems. Participating in the IMO can help improve problem-solving skills, which is a valuable skill to have in all aspects of life.
  2. Developing logical reasoning skills – The IMO also tests students’ logical reasoning skills. By participating in the IMO, one can learn to think more logically and to identify patterns and relationships between numbers and shapes.
  3. Increasing mathematical knowledge – The IMO covers a wide range of mathematical topics, from basic arithmetic to advanced algebra and geometry. By participating in the IMO, students can learn new mathematical concepts and expand their mathematical knowledge.
  4. Gaining competitive advantage – Participating in the IMO can give students a competitive advantage in college admissions and job applications. Many colleges and universities look for students who have participated in prestigious competitions such as the IMO. Additionally, many employers value the problem-solving and logical reasoning skills that are developed through participation in the IMO.

How to Prepare for the IMO?

If you are interested in participating in the IMO, there are a few things you can do to prepare:

  • Take a strong math curriculum in school. The IMO covers a wide range of mathematical topics, so it is important to have a strong foundation in math. If you are not taking a challenging math curriculum in school, consider taking additional math classes or tutoring.
  • Practice solving math problems. The best way to prepare for the IMO is to practice solving math problems. There are many resources available online and in libraries that can provide you with practice problems.
  • Join a math club or team. Joining a math club or team is a great way to meet other students who are interested in math and to get help from experienced math teachers.

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 out 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

To cover the honorarium charge 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 school hours. It takes place in the student’s 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 to 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 to appear in Level 2 exam:

  • Top 5% class class-wise candidates who appear in the 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 score 50% qualifying marks

IMO – Awards

Top-performing students in Level 1 and Level 2 exams will be awarded prizes on zonal, district and international levels. 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:


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