The International Mathematical Olympiad: What’s the formula for winning

The International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) is the World Championship Mathematics Competition for High School students and is held annually in a different country.

This year’s event was won by the United States! The U.S. team’s combined score of 185 edged out the Chinese team’s score of 181 and the Republic of Korea’s third-place score of 161.

Members of the U.S. team included Ryan Alweiss, Allen Liu, Yang Liu, Shyam Narayanan, and David Stoner, all of whom were awarded gold medals, and Michael Kural, who earned a silver medal, just one point away from the gold. The last time the U.S. team took first place was in 1994.
“It was definitely a lot harder than we’ve been used to,” American team member Michael Kural said about the 56th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). “I think a lot of teams weren’t really used to that.”

Seven countries participated in the first math competition, held in 1959 in Romania. In July 2015, teams from 106 countries, from Nigeria, Afghanistan, Ecuador and countries in between, grappled with tough math questions over the two-day olympiad.

Can you or your friends solve this problem from the IMO test?


IMO participants must be under 20 years old and a citizen of the country they represent. Teams are composed of six people, but every member competes individually and calculators are forbidden.

In the United States, the Mathematical Association of America organizes competitions that culminate in the USA Mathematical Olympiad. The American team is selected from this process and trains for three weeks before the IMO at a math summer camp.

If you’re interested in studying math — or any other field — in the United States,  to learn more about life at U.S. colleges and visit Education USA to plan your study in the U.S.
And don’t forget to visit  USA College Day on 25-26 September in London, organized by the Fulbright Commission.