Bristol Maths Problem-solving Seminar 2018 - 2019

Our aim is to select and train a team of students for the 26th International Mathematics Competition (IMC) which will be held in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria. We will organise team selection contests and training sessions by inviting former IMC medalists both from the university and abroad.

All the latest information will be posted here. Please keep an eye on this website to find out next steps.


Please sign up by filling this form by Monday the 11th of February, 2019. 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 16th of February, 2019. This exams will be set and graded in a manner similar to IMC but the problems are designed to be slightly easier. If you 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 run a couple of training sessions.

Notes and solutions to each exam will be available to students.

Team Selection Contest

We will hold a final team selection exam on Friday, 14th of June. 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.


February 11, 2019: Registration by filling in this form

February 16, 2019: (Saturday, 9:00-14:00): Preliminary Exam

June 14, 2019: (Friday, 9:00-14:00): Team Selection Contest

Training Sessions

The training sessions will be running by our former IMO/IMC medalists including Joseph Najnudel, Harry Petyt and Amir Goharshady. Please mark your calendar for the training sessions in the following dates:

February 23, 2019 (Saturday, 9:00-12:00): 1st training session by Joseph Najnudel

March 2, 2019 (Saturday, 9:00-12:00): 2nd training session by Joseph Najnudel

March 9, 2019 (Saturday, 9:00-12:00): 3rd training session by Harry Petyt

March 16, 2019 (Saturday, 9:00-12:00): 4th training session by Harry Petyt

March 23, 2019 (Saturday, 9:00-12:00): 5th training session by Harry Petyt

March 30, 2019 (Saturday, 9:00-12:00): 6th training session by Joseph Najnudel