math olympiad sasmo training

[Math Olympiad] 4 tips for SASMO training

It’s SASMO (Singapore & Asian Schools Math Olympiad) season. At the end of this post, you’ll find the link to sample papers with full solutions.

Over the weekend, I held a 1-to-1 training session with my Secondary 3 student (Z), who had attempted part of the sample paper.

Z registered through school and approached me for past year papers. Wow… that’s motivation!

In the 1.5-hour session that followed Z’s pace, we covered questions involving:

  1. number theory
  2. algebraic long division
  3. coprime numbers
  4. pattern recognition
  5. balancing puzzle
  6. logarithm
  7. combinatorics – complementary counting
  8. geometry – application of similar triangles
  9. logic puzzle
  10. polyhedrons and Euler’s Formula

Over the session, Z turned from being frustrated at incorrect solutions to enjoying learning new concepts and strategies.

Though the questions seem challenging, the key is to use effective teaching methods such as

  • growth mindset
    • “Mistakes help us to learn and improve. Let’s find out how to solve this together.”

  • connect to what the student already knows
    • “Name some 2D shapes you know… Now name some 3D shapes you know… Well, polyhedrons are…”

  • simplify the problem
    • “What if this problem involves only 9 instead of 2019 coins?”

  • use concrete and pictorial along with abstract
    • “Hold a cube. How many faces are there? How many edges? How many vertices?”… “Now complete this table”…

Ok, back to solving more questions and designing lessons to prepare for future sessions!

~ Carol @ Owlissimo

P.S. Download your sample Math Olympiad (especially SASMO) papers with full solutions at 


P.P.S. My Master of Education (Math) semester break is from next Monday until 17 March. There are Chinese New Year holidays and travelling in between too.

So I’m only conducting short-term private SASMO training for selected parents and students.

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