In the last post, we talked about the process students undergo to be in the squad (Top 12) at the end of the camp. Again, congratulations to those who made it into the squad.
After the celebration on the last day of camp, the squad members had to get cracking again, as they were 2 weeks away from the first team selection test, British Maths Olympiad Round 2 (http://www.bmoc.maths.org/). The contestants are given 3.5 hours to solve 4 problems. The problems are more difficult than those in Round 1; this is evident in most New Zealanders getting zero, one or two problems out of four (even some of the team members from previous years got none).
When most of us relax after exams, the squad members cannot, or should not, at least, as they have another set of exams two weeks after BMO2, and that is Australian Mathematical Olympiad (http://www.amt.edu.au/mathematics/amocip-olympiad-program/). This exam is held over two days (2nd week of February, Tuesday and Wednesday), and on each day, 4 hours are given to solve 4 problems. As this test exhibits a wide range of difficulty, it is a good indication of which type of questions the candidates can solve.
After the AMO, the squad still has one more exam to go, and that is Asia-Pacific Maths Olympiad (https://cms.math.ca/Competitions/APMO/), held on the second Tuesday of March. These questions are so challenging that solving 3 out of 5 problems in 4 hours give you the gold award, and even solving one problem brings you close to winning a bronze.
Along with the exams, the members have to complete squad assignments in time. Students are usually given two and a half weeks for each assignment, and there are 4 assignments in total: Geometry, Combinatorics, Algebra and Number Theory. The difficulty of the problems vary from being solvable in a few minutes to requiring several hours to complete a single question.
In April, when all the assignments and exams are over, the NZMOC committee holds a meeting to decide the 6 team members and the non-travelling reserve. Once the time comes, there will be another post about preparing for the IMO.
Good luck to all the squad members, and I hope you can complete this challenging "maths marathon" with satisfying results!