Search
Close this search box.

Olympiad Mentoring Scheme

The Olympiad Mentoring Scheme (OMS) is designed to help such students, while teaching some general mathematical skills. Some students may be supported by one of our volunteer mentors.

We believe that competitions can be a valuable experience for many young mathematicians, especially when accompanied with appropriate preparation.

Many students who would benefit from our harder competitions, especially the British Mathematical Olympiad Round 2, might not be sure how to start preparing. 

How it works

1

Register

The OMS is aimed at students based in the UK.

Teachers from registered UKMT centres may request the material or sign up their students to receive the material.

2

Receive the Problem Sheet

Each month, students and teachers who have signed up will receive a problem sheet.

For the first five months of the year, the sheets aim towards BMO1 and then BMO2, guiding students through relevant theory and highlighting recent problems. The final sheets are more topic-based, prompting students to explore slightly beyond the realm of the competition syllabus, and hopefully leaving some thought-provoking material for the summer.

3

Receive the Solutions

A discussion of the problems, which include background material and discussions of general methods and topics of related interest as well as solutions, are issued at the end of the month.

Please Note: The Olympiad Mentoring Scheme is running on a two-year cycle. Please do not publish the problems or solutions on the internet; Please see our policy on the use of intellectual property.

Who is the OMS for?

OMS is intended for students who already have some familiarity with Olympiads, and are aiming to commit to some work and improve towards BMO2 level. Students will likely be suitably prepared if they are motivated by this and keen to work for ~10 hours per month, and any of the following apply:


Note that the OMS is run separately from the main
Mentoring Scheme, which has a similar structure, but a broader mathematical focus with less emphasis on competition preparation. Students are not allowed to have a volunteer mentor on both schemes simultaneously.

OMS Sample Sheet

Click here to access a sample sheet from the Olympiad Mentoring Scheme

Acknowledgements

The Olympiad Mentoring Scheme material was written by Sam Bealing, Thomas Hillman, and Freddie Illingworth. 

Advanced Olympiad Mentoring Scheme

The Advanced Olympiad Mentoring Scheme (AOMS) operates in a similar way to OMS and is designed for students working at or towards the level of international competitions, such as the International Mathematical Olympiad and European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad. Participation in AOMS is by invitation based on scores in BMO and the resulting follow-on events.

FAQs

For Students

How do I know if I should sign up?

The OMS is aimed at students based in the UK. Teachers from registered UKMT centres may request the material or sign up their students to receive the material. 

You need to get a teacher at your school to fill out the Olympiad Mentoring Scheme application form. 

Yes, many students will take part in OMS without a mentor. If this is your preference, please add this to the comment section when signing up.

Yes, many students on OMS are hoping to take part in BMO for the first time.

UKMT publishes a number of problem-solving books. Among them are A Mathematical Olympiad Primer (which covers past BMO1 problems) and A Mathematical Olympiad Companion (which covers past BMO2) problems. These are available for sale in UKMT Shop. Motivated students are encouraged to explore other structured textbooks that cover individual topics in more depth.

AOMS is by invitation only. Invites are issued to students who attended one of the main IMO programme training camps in the previous year, or scored very highly on BMO.

You should not post material from OMS and AOMS on the internet, including online forums and apps. If discussing individual problems with a friend, be mindful not to spoil the solution for them!

For Students with Mentors

What is a 'mentor'?

Our mentors are adult mathematicians from a range of backgrounds. Mentors will be available to discuss the problem, including giving feedback on any written work, and offering hints and general tips.

If your mentor has not responded to messages over several weeks, please tell us and we will investigate.

For Parents

My child is homeschooled - what arrangements are in place for this?

BMO papers must be sat at a UKMT test centre. Our preference is for homeschooled students to be registered through the school where they expect to sit BMO. Please write to us if this is impossible.

Both OMS and AOMS are conducted through Google Classroom. Both mentors and students will use a UKMT email address, and sharing other personal contact details is not permitted. All mentors have taken an accredited safeguarding course.

View UKMT’s Safeguarding Policy and the Designated Safeguarding Lead can be contacted at dsl@ukmt.org.uk.

OMS will normally not be suitable for a child in Year 7 or 8, unless they have already excelled at competitions aimed at Year 10+. If this is the case, the teacher should make this extremely clear when signing up. Information about UKMT’s competitions for younger pupils can be found on our Junior Challenges pages.

For Teachers

Can I register my entire class?

It is unlikely that OMS would be suitable for a whole class, and this is not the intended purpose of the scheme. You may register yourself to receive the material and then incorporate it in your lessons. Experienced teachers will likely find UKMT textbooks an even better resource for classroom teaching.

OMS targets the two rounds of the British Mathematical Olympiad, and the sheets are timed specifically around these dates. Mentors’ feedback will include advice on writing up solutions to score maximum credit. OMS and AOMS are organised by the British Mathematical Olympiad.

UKMT’s Enrichment Executive Committee oversee a separate set of mentoring schemes with broader scope beyond competitions, including levels for younger or less experienced students, and more options for inclusion in classroom teaching.

For Prospective Volunteers

I am interested in being a mentor for OMS. What should I do?

Please contact the Volunteering Manager volunteering@ukmt.org.uk and/or the IMO Programme Director for further information. If you are not already a UKMT volunteer, you will need to go through the process to register, which can take a few weeks.

Mentors are provided with solutions and commentary at the start of the month. Offering warm and relevant feedback and advice is considerably more important than the ability to solve every question yourself.

For most mentors and mentees, an hour per month is enough time to review the month’s written work and give useful feedback. Some mentors choose to engage for longer, or more frequently, but this is not required.

No. It is common that each mentor will have favourite and less favourite subjects.

We are very glad to have recent olympiad students involved as mentors, whether or not they took part in training camps or international competitions. However, we recommend they wait for a year before starting mentoring, for several reasons, including to ensure they are confident about time availability (Other BMO activities such as marking weekends do not carry this recommendation).

Beyond OMS and AOMS

Is progress on OMS or AOMS considered in camp selection or international team selection?

No. The mentoring schemes are entirely for individual students’ education, not for selection.

Neither OMS nor AOMS (nor BMO results) are a formal qualification and do not carry UCAS points. However, some students may choose to discuss aspects of their mentoring experience as part of their personal statement.

For everyone’s safety, mentors and mentees should not discuss personal details, or arrange contact outside of Google Classroom. However, if your mentor is willing, it is fine to discuss other mathematical matters briefly.

More information can be found on the BMO website.

Important Notice: Change in Payment Policy

From 1 September 2024, UKMT will no longer be accepting cheques as a form of payment. This decision comes as part of our ongoing efforts to streamline our processes and improve efficiency.

Thank you for your understanding.

Site maintenance 14.10.23 01:00 – 06:00. Interruptions should be minimal, but please be aware the site may be unavailable during these times for a short period

Site maintenance 14.10.23 01:00 – 06:00. Short interruptions are possible during these times

Welcome to our new site! As we’re using a new system, if you’re a public user you’ll need to re-register.