The National Mathematical Olympiad in Bulgaria

The National Olympiad in Bulgaria was started in 1952. Now it has four rounds.

Usually the first round is held in December. Students of all grades of the middle and high school take part in it. The number of participants is about 75 000. The problems in this round are given by the teachers and they are different for the different schools. The problems depend on the grade, i.e. the problems for the different grades are different and are connected mainly with the math curriculum. Usually the students should solve 3 (some times 4) problems for 4.5 hours. Only those who receive more than 75% of the full score are admitted to take part in the second round of the Olympiad. The level of the problems in this round is not so high, because the aim is to involve as many students as possible in the Olympiad.

The second round of the Olympiad is held in March. The difference between the second and the first round is that the problems in the second round are more difficult. The level of the problems for the last grade of the high school is approximately equivalent to the level of the problems given at the entrance examination in the Departments of mathematics of the Bulgarian Universities. The number of participants in the second round is approximately 30 000.

The third and the fourth rounds of the Olympiad are only for the students, who are in the last grade of the high school. They are held in the middle of April and the middle of May respectively. Students from lower grades are allowed to take part in these rounds, but they should cover the whole math curriculum in advance. During each of these two rounds the contestants should solve 6 problems in two days (3 problems every day for 4.5 hours). The problems for these two rounds are given by the Special Committee at the Union of Bulgarian Mathematicians (UBM), and the students papers are marked also by this Committee. The level of the problems in the last two rounds is very high. The level of the problems in the fourth round is close to the level of the problems given during the International Mathematical Olympiad.

The number of participants in the third round is about 1000. They receive the problems by mail in their own schools, solve them there and the teachers mail back the contestants papers in the UBM. About 80 students take part in the fourth round of the Olympiad and it takes part in Sofia (usually in Sofia University). It is important that the students come for this round together with their teachers. In this way, the teachers get the possibility, during this period of 2-3 days, to share their experiences in preparation of students for math Olympiads and competitions.

The best 12 students in the fourth round form the ''extended team'' for the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). They are invited to a pre-Olympiad training session, which durates 4-5 weeks. During this session the students make 2 quizzes and according to the results of these quizzes and the results of the fourth round the first 6 students form the Bulgarian team for the IMO.

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