**Suggestions on How to Use the Math
Olympiad Contest Problem Books**

**Jason
Frand, PhD, Math Olympiad Coach **

Solving math problems requires practice,
practice, practice, just like learning to play a piano, be good
at soccer, or any other worthwhile goal. Take it slowly and be
patient with making progress. There are no easy problems
in this book. Your goal should be to learn as much as you
can while gaining mathematical problem solving experience.
Think of getting a correct answer as a bonus. Most
important Ð even though these are very hard problems, doing them
should be FUN and CHALLENGING!!!

Here are some suggestions on using the book:

- The book is organized into elementary and middle school
competitions.
- The book consists of the competitions used over an eight year period.
- The book is organized into Sets, one set for each year.

- Each Set has five competitions corresponding to the Math Olympiad November, December, January, Febrary and March contests.
- The problems in Volume 2 Sets 1 through 10 (Voumne 3 Sets
1 through 8) use math ideas taught in grades 4th through
6th.
- The problems in Volume 2 Sets 11 to 17 (Voumne 3 Sets 9 through 16) use math ideas taught in middle school.
- Use the practice sheets to guide your practice sessions.
- There are four sheets with ten 10 sessions listed per sheet.
- There is room to write you answer for each problem.
- The practice sheets correspond to problem in Sets 1 through 6 only, from both volumes.
- The problems in each competition go from easiest to hardest.
- The practice sheets are organized so that you do all the
easiest problems first, then the next harder and so on.
- For Sets 1 to 5, you will do problems 1A, 2A, 3A 4A, 5A, then 1B, 2B, 3B, 4B 5B, etc.
- For Set 6, you will do problems 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, then 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, etc.
- Limit practice to about 15 Ð 30 minutes per session. The problems are mentally taxing, so take it slowly.
- Use scratch paper to do your work rather than writing in the book.
- The Math Olympiad problems are NOT designed for speed. They require you to STOP-LOOK-THINK
- Read each problem two or three times before you try to answer it.
- Read the problems one sentence or part of a sentence at a time, and put something down on your paper to help you understand the details. For example, make notes about facts from the problem or a make up a similar example, showing what you read.
- After trying a problem, youÕll either have an answer or be stumped.
- If you have an answer:
- Check your work: does your answer fit the facts of the problem?
- Check your answer from the section starting on Volume 2 page 130 or Volume 3 page 126.
- If you are correct, pat yourself on the back.
- Review the solutions starting on Volume 2 page 142 or Volume 3 page 128. There are different ways to solve a problem and thinking them through will build your Math muscles!
- If you are stumped: now begins the really hard work in Òproblem solvingÓ:
- Look at the hints that start on Volume 2 page 112 or Volume 3 page 132. Try to use the hint to figure out the answer. Talking out loud or discussing the problem with someone may help.
- If the hint section doesnÕt help, look at the solutions which start on Volume 2 page 142 or Volume 3 page 128.
- In your next practice session, begin with this problem and do it again.
- There is a vocabulary list starting on page 5 (both volumes). As you work through the problems, ALWAYS look up words you donÕt know. Also, you can use the vocabulary list to learn new or review familiar words.

Return to
Enrichment Directory
Return to Jason Frand's Homepage

Please feel free to email me with questions and suggestions.

Los Angeles County-wide Math Olympiad Tournament Chairperson Linwood Howe Elementary School Culver City Unified School District Adjunct Assistant Professor, Retired Assistant Dean and Director, Retired UCLA Anderson School of Management prepared May 6, 2015 Updated May 27, 2015