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USA and International Mathematical Olympiads 2004.

USA and International Mathematical Olympiads 2004 Titu Andreescu, Zuming Feng & Po-Shen Loh (eds) 100 pp., soft cover ISBN 0-88385-819-3

USA and International Mathematical Olympiads 2005 Zuming Feng, Melanie Matchett Wood & Cecil Rousseau (eds) 80 pp., soft cover ISBN 0-88385-823-1 Published by The Mathematical Association of America

The International Mathematical Olympiads (IMO) began in 1959 in Romania with 7 countries competing and have been conducted annually since. The 48th Olympiad is to be held this year in Vietnam, with teams from over 80 countries, including Australia, taking part.

The problem-solving-based competition offers highly selected promising young mathematicians from all over the world opportunities to compete against like others, be recognised on a world scale and exchange ideas in a mathematically enriching and intellectually stimulating environment.

The two books under review were written to help students in USA prepare for possible selection in the USA Olympiad teams of 2004 and 2005. In fact, The Mathematical Association of America (MAA) has published similar purposed texts annually since 1976. Copies of such texts are still available for purchase through the MAA.

The process for arriving at the six- member USA International Olympic team follows identified students sitting the USA Mathematical Olympiad (USAMO). The top 12 USAMO students are invited to attend the Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program (MOSP). During the course of the Program the "top 12" sit the Team Selection Test (TST). The TST simulates an actual IMO wherein the participants seek to solve 12 problems over two 4 and a half hour sessions. The quality of performances on the TST determines the team of six students ultimately chosen.

What is provided in each of the texts is the problems comprising:

(i) the USAMO;

(ii) the Team Selection Test (TST); and

(iii) the actual IMO problems for that year; followed by well written sections where firstly insightfully devised hints are given for solving each of problems in (i), (ii) and (iii) and then where comprehensive formal solutions (and most times more than one) are provided for each of the problems.

These solutions reveal the art and science of problem solving to a high degree. These publications are excellent, for what they are. In the first instance, a teacher is made aware of the range of mathematical content knowledge required of, and the standard of mathematical performance being asked of, elite students across the world in general, and in USA in particular. In the second, these books can provide great professional development possibilities for both individual teachers and groups of teachers by presenting them with mathematically challenging problems and inviting them to give serious consideration to at least some of the problems and accompanying solutions.

Ken Milton
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Title Annotation:USA and International Mathematical Olympiads 2005
Author:Milton, Ken
Publication:Australian Mathematics Teacher
Article Type:Book review
Date:Mar 22, 2007
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