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Math Olympiad Program (MOPNet)

Note: the official description of the Math Olympiad Summer Program can be found here.

Welcome to the semi-official home page of the Math Olympiad Program (MOP). (Since 1995, the program has actually been named the Math Olympiad Summer Program, but is still commonly known by the historical acronym, a la UNICEF.) MOP is the training session for the six-member team of high school students that represents the United States at the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), as well as for students hoping to qualify for the team in the future. All expenses during the MOP and IMO are covered, including travel, lodging and food, so eligible students can participate regardless of financial status.

USAMO and MOSP 2002 info

Thanks to the generous support of the Akamai Foundation, some exciting changes will be taking place in 2002. The USAMO will be held in a central location over a weekend in May; all expenses for qualifying students (including travel, food and lodging) will be covered. The MOP will return to University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and will be greatly expanded, with an emphasis on increasing participation in the Olympiads by traditionally underrepresented groups.

MOP selection procedure (2001)

Note: this description covers the MOP selection procedure as of MOP 2001. The procedure will be altered for 2002 in light of the changes mentioned above; details will be provided here as they become available.

The selection procedure for the USA IMO team was changed in 2000. The top 12 (formerly 8) finishers on the USA Math Olympiad (USAMO) are recognized as USAMO Winners at a ceremony in Washington, DC in June. These students are invited to MOP to compete for the 6 places on the USA team. The places are decided by the results of the USAMO plus one test of the same format (6 questions in two 3-hour sessions) at the outset of MOP.

Additional students who will still be in high school during the following academic year will be invited to MOP (but will not compete for the places on the IMO team) based on their scores on the USAMO and on its qualifying exams, the AMC->10 and AMC->12 and the AIME. See the American Mathematics Competitions home page for more information on those exams.

More about MOP

The academic program of MOP is intensive, but rewarding. Students spend 3 hours in the morning and early afternoon each weekday in lectures, which run simultaneously in an introductory (Level I) and an advanced (Level II) series; students may choose freely between the lectures at a given time. The lectures cover a wide range of precalculus mathematics including Euclidean geometry, combinatorics, number theory, linear algebra, inequalities, theory of polynomials, etc. (The lecture material generally falls outside the standard American high school curriculum, and is usually but not exclusively oriented towards solving IMO-style problems.) Weekday afternoons are usually devoted to practice exams, contests, guest lectures, or other organized mathematical activities. The IMO team members take additional practice exams on Saturday mornings (optional for others). Some afternoons, all evenings, and weekends are free, though some homework is assigned. Nonmathematical leisure activities include sports, movies, games, the Internet, et cetera.

All Olympiad-related matters in the USA are handled by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). The competition is part of the American Mathematics Competitions, which also include the AMC->10, AMC->12 and AIME (qualifying exams for the USAMO), as well as the AMC->8 (for junior high school students). Contact AMC for information on participating in the competitions.

The best way for students to prepare for the competitions is to work on problems of the appropriate caliber. The MAA (see above) publishes several collections of problems from the USAMO and IMO, and AMC carries the most recent exams in yearly pamphlets; see the AMC home page for ordering information. Also check the AMC USAMO/APMO/IMO/Putnam archive with some recent USAMOs and IMOs (in PDF, LaTeX and PostScript formats).

MOPNet Services

MOP on the Web

Here are links to some MOP-related pages. Beware that some of these pages are probably only of interest to participants of the appropriate years.

Maintained by Kiran S. Kedlaya (
Last modified: 31 Jul 2001
Note: the American Mathematics Competitions has graciously agreed to host these pages to promote the dissemination of the information contained herein. Comments about other parts of the AMC web site should be sent to the AMC Director.