The Mathematics Challenge for Young Australians (MCYA) is a staged program designed to help teachers motivate, stimulate, encourage and develop mathematically interested students in Years 3 to 10 to bring forth the talent and potential within. The MCYA is an ideal program for extension studies and for students who would benefit from greater challenge.
The first two stages of the MCYA provide problems and course work to extend and develop students in mathematical problem solving, while teachers receive detailed solutions and support materials. Teachers in larger schools find the materials valuable, allowing them to better assist a greater number of students in their care. The MCYA program may be particularly useful in schools where teachers work in isolation and have a handful of talented students spread out over a number of classes.
There are three independent stages in the Mathematics Challenge for Young Australians: the Challenge Stage, the Enrichment Stage and the Australian Intermediate Mathematics Olympiad (AIMO).
March – June (Term 1 & 2)
MCYA Challenge is held during a consecutive 4-week period between March and June. It comprises four problems for students in the primary levels and six problems for students in secondary levels. Problems can be discussed in groups of two or three registered students before individual submission of solutions. There are separate problem sets for Middle Primary (Year 3–4), Upper Primary (Year 5–6), Junior (Year 7–8) and Intermediate (Year 9–10) students.
The problems for the Challenge stage are designed by the MCYA Problems Committee, a voluntary committee of Australian teachers and academics.
12–16 week program
April – September
About MCYA Enrichment
MCYA Enrichment is a 12–16 week program held flexibly between April and September. It comprises seven parallel stages of comprehensive student and teacher support notes. Each student participates in one stage. These programs are designed for students in upper primary and lower to middle secondary school (Years 4–10).
Each stage includes Student Notes designed to be a systematic structured course over the duration of the program, which students can keep for ongoing reference. The support of the Australian Government enables this program to be offered to Australian students at an entry fee lower than the cost of buying the notes independently. This enables schools to timetable the program to fit in with their school year.
The Enrichment stage is independent of the earlier Challenge stage; however, they have the common feature of providing challenging mathematics problems for students, as well as accessible support materials for teachers.
The stages are in order of difficulty with general year level recommendations: Ramanujan (Years 4–5), Newton (Years 5–6), Dirichlet (Years 6–7), Euler (Years 7–8), Gauss (Years 8–9), Noether (very able students in Years 9–10) and Polya (top 10% Year 10). Ramanujan, Newton and Dirichlet have 8 problems, Euler and Gauss have 12 problems, and Noether and Polya have 16 problems.
Ramanujan includes estimation, special numbers, counting techniques, fractions, clock arithmetic, ratio, colouring problems, and some problem-solving techniques. » Ramanujan sample excerpt
Newton includes polyominoes, fast arithmetic, polyhedra, pre-algebra concepts, patterns, divisibility and specific problem-solving techniques. » Newton sample excerpt
Dirichlet includes mathematics concerned with tessellations, arithmetic in other bases, time/distance/speed, patterns, recurring decimals and specific problem-solving techniques. » Dirichlet sample excerpt
Euler includes primes and composites, least common multiples, highest common factors, arithmetic sequences, figurate numbers, congruence, properties of angles and pigeonhole principle. » Euler sample excerpt
Gauss includes parallels, similarity, Pythagoras’ theorem, using spreadsheets, Diophantine equations, counting techniques and congruence. This stage follows on from Euler. » Gauss sample excerpt
Noether includes expansion and factorisation, inequalities, sequences and series, number bases, methods of proof, congruence, circles and tangents. Follows on from Gauss. » Noether sample excerpt
Polya has been completely revised and covers functions, symmetric polynomials, geometry, inequalities, functional equations, number theory, counting and graph theory. » Polya sample excerpt
Student Notes are available for purchase from our Shop.
Australian Intermediate Mathematics Olympiad
Tuesday 12 September 2017
What is the AIMO?
This four-hour examination is an open event for talented students up to Year 10 level, appropriate for those who have completed the Gauss or Noether stage, high achievers in the Australian Mathematics Competition and students who have acquired knowledge of Olympiad problem solving.
The AIMO is one of the competitions used to determine which students are selected to a number of invitation only events, including other mathematics competitions, enrichment classes and training schools. It gives talented students an opportunity to be recognised and to participate in activities which will enhance their enjoyment and knowledge of mathematics.
Running the AIMO
The AIMO is conducted in schools under exam conditions. It runs for four hours. Students work on their own and may not use calculators, electronic devices or other aids.
2017 Primary Challenge & Enrichment Poster
2017 Secondary Challenge & Enrichment Poster
2015 High School Mathematics Problem Solving Program
2015 AIMO Sample Paper
2016 Mathematics Contests – The Australian Scene Part 1: MCYA
(contains problems, solutions, statistics and some results of the 2016 MCYA Challenge Stage and AIMO).
2016 Mathematics Contests – The Australian Scene Part 1 and 2
(contains problems, solutions, statistics and some results of the 2016 MCYA and invitational competitions. The file is 3MB).
Mathematics Contests – The Australian Scene previous years