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Not having a proper strategy in place

The first step while preparing for the Olympiad is to have a systematic approach. Please do not think that last minute preparation will help you to succeed. Students take months to completely prepare for this examination. And last-minute preparation is impossible. Start Now! The earlier they start, the better the preparation. The first and most important step toward cracking the class 8 IMO is to have a well-organized timetable and a suitable strategy/plan for approaching the exam. Make a timetable after taking note of the syllabus and the pattern of questions and stick to the timetable.  The timetable should incorporate all the commitments and then find out the number of days and number of hours that can be invested in preparing for the Maths Olympiad.

Not practising questions well

Do Not practice questions randomly.  Make sure that you work out a definite number of questions from each chapter according to your timetable.  Students have a tendency to choose easier questions to practice and just skim through other questions or skip them altogether. It is very important, especially while preparing for an exam like the olympiad, to practice all sorts of questions – of all difficulties and types. Don’t skip any topic. Make sure that you find the solution to all the questions before your daily session ends.

Making mental calculations or using calculators
Students have a wrong notion that just going through the questions in their mind will save time. The practice will definitely save them some time but in reality, they are not gaining anything from the time they are investing. It is very important for the students to perform all the problems properly up to the last answer. Making mental calculations or thinking that this can be solved easily will prove disadvantageous in the exam. And the same applies to using a calculator. Saving time through these means will only cause difficulty and cause inaccuracies in the answer. You don’t want to lose marks just because you make a wrong addition or lose time multiplying something. Therefore, preparing completely including things as small as addition are of utmost importance to produce accurate answers in shooter time spans.

Changing the timetable

Never postpone a day’s work. It will only make the next day’s work more cumbersome especially if it is a close-knit timetable. The aim should be to finish tasks at the earliest and not to postpone them for a later time or day.  

Not solving sample papers

Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes. Many websites, including the website of the Science Olympiad Foundation, have plenty of practice questions, which is a good place to start. There are numerous IMO model papers available on the internet. Solving all the IMO Maths Olympiad Class 8 Sample Paper 2 problems will assist the student in not only providing a  better understanding of the structure and types of problems but also will help in time management during the exams. 

Not analysing mistakes

Most of the time students just attempt sample papers for the sake of it and check the marks and leave. After attempting questions and solving sample papers, the next key step is to analyse the paper and identify any areas of difficulty, as well as keep a list of difficult questions. Getting a question wrong is fine, but getting more questions from the section wrong is something to be noted and worked upon. Practice more questions from these sections and increase the accuracy. More emphasis should be placed on these weaker portions during the next mock test. This is the most effective approach to improve accuracy.

Not Revising

Revision is very important after studying portions. A day of the week can be set aside only for revisions while setting up the timetable. Make sure to go through all the topics that have been covered and refresh your memory. Also, try to attempt some questions from these chapters. Along with revising these topics, remember to look into topics that were taught in class 7 as well.


Do not overwork. Make sure to take proper care of health – sleep for a good 8 hours, eat well and even take some time off books. Relaxing can also help in refreshing the mind. Stop early on the previous day of the exam. Sleep well.  A calm and rested brain is the most important requisite for any exam.


When students first see the paper, they often become anxious. Staying calm and composed will help in thinking more clearly, which will help solve the problems faster and more efficiently and maybe in a more simple, time-saving method. The paper is either difficult or easy for everyone equally; students should remember that they are competing with students of the same age and in the end, everyone will find it equally difficult or easy. As a result, panicking or becoming too anxious will never help – neither before the exam nor during the exam. Try to take deep breaths and be confident about the preparation.

Not reading the whole question.

In the anxiety or at times in the excitement of seeing a familiar question, students skip parts of the question that might have had an essential point. This can change the answer completely. Therefore, it is very important to read the question calmly and maybe read it even twice and clearly look at all the numbers and points discussed. 

Forgetting to Recheck

Even if you are a gifted mathematician, there is always the possibility of making a mistake. Errors reduce the overall score, so reading the questions again and double-checking the solution can help in avoiding them. The only way to be sure is to double-check.

Not finishing on time

Due to lack of practice, there are students who are unable to finish the exam on time. They lose track of time and sometimes spend a majority of their time on certain questions which will leave them with no time for easier questions and hence the overall score goes down.

Mentally prepare for the exam, avoid commonly made errors and ace the olympiad.

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