Mathematics Challenge for Young Australians (MCYA)

What is the MCYA?

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).


The aims of the MCYA


Encouraging and fostering…

  • a greater interest in and awareness of the power of mathematics
  • a desire to succeed in solving interesting mathematical problems
  • the discovery of the joy of solving problems in mathematics

     Identifying talented young Australians

    • recognising their achievements nationally and providing support that will enable them to reach their own levels of excellence

       Providing teachers with…

      • interesting and accessible problems and solutions as well as detailed and motivating teaching discussion and extension materials
      • comprehensive Australia-wide statistics of students’ achievements in the Challenge Stage.

        MYCA Challenge

        Three-week program

        March – June (Term 1 & 2)


        MCYA Challenge is held during a consecutive 3-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.

        » MCYA Challenge Practice Problems


        MCYA Enrichment

        16-week program

        April – September


        About MCYA Enrichment

        MCYA Enrichment is a 16-week program held flexibly between April and September. It comprises six 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). 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 (AIMO)

        Tuesday 12 September 2017

        » Enter now


        Useful Information

        AIMO Sample Paper
        AIMO Results


        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.