IMC Problem Solving Seminar 2017-2018

University of Bristol

Welcome to the first Bristol Problem Solving Seminar.

The aim is to prepare students for the 25th International Mathematical Competition (IMC) to take part in the competition by organising team selection contests and training sessions by inviting former IMC medalists both from the university and abroad.


Please sign up by emailing Fatemeh by Friday 22nd of December. Please do NOT assume that you are not eligible/good enough/prepared/<insert other excuses here>. If you get excited when you solve logical and mathematical puzzles, you are right for this.

How to Practice

The best practice strategy is to try to solve problems from previous contests. I especially suggest that you form groups and take mock exams. See the resources below:

Note that IMC is rather difficult and you might be better-off starting with SEEMOUS, IMS or Putnam.

Preliminary Exam

We will be holding one 5-hour-long exam on 4th of February. This exams will be set and graded in a manner similar to IMC but the problems are designed to be slightly easier. If you rank in the top 10 or get at least 1/3 of the points, you will advance to the next level (training phase).

Concretely, the exam will consist of 5 problems (in Combinatorics (including Graph Theory), Abstract Algebra, Linear Algebra, Analysis, Number Theory and Geometry), each with 10 points. The exam will take place in the main math building.

Training Phase

We expect selected students to self-organise and train on their own. However, we will hold a few training sessions taught by students who have already won a medal at the IMC. We will also have a visitor to the School of Mathematics who is former Gold medalist and has kindly agreed to teach for two days.

Notes will be available to students.

Team Selection Contest

We will hold a final team selection exam in 21st of April. It will consist of one session of 5 hours each over a weekend. The problems will be of the same difficulty as IMC. The School of Mathematics will cover the travel and registration expenses of the selected team.

Training Sessions and Exams

December 1-22: Registration by email

February 4 (Saturday, 9:00-14:00): Preliminary Exam

February 5-6 (Sunday-Monday): Feedback on test

February 17 (Saturday, 9:00-16:00): Luka Rimanic

February 24 (Saturday, 9:00-16:00): Raphael Steiner

March 10 (Saturday, 9:00-14:00): Raphael Steiner

March 17 (Saturday, 9:00-16:00): Luka Rimanic

April 21 (Saturday, 9:00-15:00): Final Team Selection Exam

April 22-23 (Sunday-Monday): Feedback on test

May 27 (Sunday, 9:00-14:00): Amir Goharshady

June 9 (Saturday, 9:00-14:00): Amir Goharshady

July 22-28 (One week): IMC in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria