The South African Mathematics Olympiad (SAMO) is a Maths competition in which anyone from Grades 8 to 12 can participate. It is the biggest Olympiad in the country, with over 100 000 learners from all over South Africa participating each year. SAMO consists of three rounds. The first is multiple choice, with separate papers for Grade 8s, Grade 9s and Seniors (Grades 10-12). Anyone who gets at least 50% proceeds to the next round. In the second round, Grade 8s and 9s write the same paper –“Junior”. The top 100 juniors and top 100 seniors are then selected for the third and final round.
Olympiad Maths is very different from school Maths. Olympiad Maths often relies more on your ability to think outside of the box than your ability to memorise school formulas and do difficult mental Maths. There is at least one problem for each person that will challenge him/her and will improve one's reasoning, logic and problem- solving skills.
There are also Olympiad training programmes, such as Siyanqoba, that aim to help learners to understand and do well in Olympiad Maths. Each year, there are three assignments that learners (especially those in Siyanqoba) are encouraged to try and complete. The assignments become progressively tougher, and how well you fare in these, as well as your performance in SAMO, help decide if you will be invited to the annual December Stellenbosch Maths Camp. The camp is part of a programme for learners to be selected to represent South Africa at international Mathematics competitions, which is a great honour.