Australian Maths Trust

Aus claims front row seats for contest

(Apologies for the extensive delay for the second half of the blog posts!)

The morning of Day 1 of the contest rolled around, and in lieu of a pep talk, the team psyched up by practising koala juggling. After all, you never know when a juggling question might pop up on a paper!


As contestants are permitted to bring in a talisman of their choice, Thanom had equipped everyone with a lucky four-leaf clover. For reasons best known to herself, Grace insisted on taking the Death Die from the Plague Inc board game as another exam talisman.

Snap lock bags were also filled with snacks aplenty to sustain the contestants for the four-and-a-half hours. Thanom was sure that the students would be so engrossed with the problems that there wouldn’t be time for snacks, but Eva was wary that the opposite might be true.

Quite impressively, the large panoramic room on level 18 fit all 196 contestants and with the seating arrangement organised alphabetically, A for Australia scored AUS 1, 2, 3, and 4 front row seats. The lifts were jam-packed and working at full capacity getting everyone to the exam room before 9:30am. With priority for the lifts given to the students, the rest of us climbed the stairs on foot – some more quickly than others! At least it was then clear exactly where the emergency exit was.

While the contestants were sitting their exams on both mornings, the rest of us were also hard at work scrutinising the paper. The excellent multi-taskers Michelle and Dana attempted the questions while burgernapping the American team’s mascot. Thanom and FLT soldiered on in the Jury room, each day answering students’ questions for 30 minutes before taking a *lot* of time to agree on marking schemes.

After four-and-a-half hours in the exam room on Day 1, there was quite a bit of avoidance and no one really wanted to debrief or discuss their attempts. After Day 2 though, Thanom and Michelle dragged out as much information as they could to help with marking; understanding the students’ thought processes greatly eases the effort to interpret their solutions – and more importantly, their rough working.

The afternoon found us playing more international games with the Danish and Irish teams. Eva’s inner ninja came out to shine in a winning streak of Jungle Speed, while Eugeniya unashamedly bluffed her way through an intense game of Avalon in which the Loyal Servants of Arthur were narrowly defeated by the Minions of Mordred.

As expected, marking went on deep into the night. At least on the second night we were a bit better prepared with some snacks!

Have fun trying out the questions from EGMO 2019 yourself. There are plenty of translations to choose from on the official website: https://www.egmo.org/egmos/egmo8/ 🙂