Note: If you’re a high school student in India looking for advice on Olympiad preparation, please also see this page.
I had been interested in mathematics since childhood, but until 10th grade, I had not paid much attention to learning mathematics systematically beyond what was taught in school and what I read in some fun math books. When I was in 10th grade, my mother got in touch with a former college classmate of hers who was now a mathematics professor, and through him she learned about some good places to pursue mathematics at the undergraduate level in my country (India). In the process, I also discovered that Olympiads could be a useful way both to expose myself to mathematics beyond what was taught in school and to test and demonstrate my skills.
I started preparing for Olympiads in earnest after the end of my examinations for 10th grade. Around this time, I also enrolled in a coaching class for IIT-JEE preparation, even though joining the IITs (a group of engineering colleges) was not my top preference. I hoped that the coaching class and the peer group there would be helpful to me in understanding the material better and also provide a fallback option in case I changed my mind.
I cleared the Indian National Mathematical Olympiad at the end of 11th grade, and at the beginning of 12th grade, I was selected as part of the Indian team to the 2003 International Mathematical Olympiad in Tokyo, Japan. I won a Silver Medal. In 2004, I went for the second and last time to the International Mathematical Olympiad, this time in Athens, Greece. I won a Silver Medal again.
I had prepared some write-ups related to Olympiad a while back. Many of these write-ups are outdated. I am including links, but please read with the disclaimer that the information is probably outdated.
- Olympiad FAQs (India-specific, prepared in 2006, probably outdated now)
- Preparing for Olympiads (some aspects are India-specific, but it’s mostly generic; however, it does not include resources available now, such as Brilliant, and does not talk much about resources that were in a much more fledgeling state back when I wrote this, such as Art of Problem Solving. I’m planning to work on an updated version of this document, and will link to that from here when done.
I also wrote some object-level articles about Olympiad topics. I’ve not read them since I wrote them (2006), and you can probably notice the lack of polish relative to my current writing. But they might be interesting to readers anyway.
- Introduction to inequalities (algebra)
- Coincidence problems and methods (geometry)
- Construction problems (combinatorics)
- Touring problems (combinatorics)
I also cleared the regional rounds of the informatics and physics Olympiads, but did not clear the national round of either.