UKMT Discretionary Entries for Kangaroo + Olympiad rounds

If you take the UKMT Junior Maths Challenge, Intermediate Maths Challenge or Senior Maths Challenge and do well enough you may qualify for one of the follow on rounds, but did you know that you can take the follow on rounds even if you didn’t qualify automatically?

What follow on rounds are there for UKMT Maths Challenges?

There are two types of follow on rounds for each competition:

Kangaroo: The Kangaroo rounds are similar to the first rounds but harder – they have multiple choice questions and are marked automatically in the same way as for the first rounds.

Olympiads: The Olympiad rounds are a big step up from the other challenges and require students to answer longer questions with full written solutions. Most questions have 10 marks each and are some of the most challenging problems for students in each age group. Most students score very few marks on this round and Merits can often be achieved for scores as low as 25%. There are medals available for the top performing students and the Senior competitions feed into selection for national maths teams.

How can I enter the Kangaroo and Olympiad follow-on rounds for the UKMT Junior, Intermediate and Senior Maths Challenges?

There are two ways to enter the follow on rounds:

  1. Qualify by meeting the relevant boundary from the first round. At the same time the results for Gold/Silver/Bronze certificates are announced, UKMT also sets thresholds for qualification to the follow on rounds. At the time of writing (May 2023):
    • Junior: Top 1200 are invited to Olympiad, another 10,000 to the Kangaroo
    • Intermediate: Top 1500 are invited to Cayley (Year 9), Hamilton (Year 10) or Maclaurin (Year 11) Olympiad rounds and another 8,000 to the Grey (Year 9) or Pink (Years 10+11) Kangaroos
    • Senior: 1,000 are invited to the Olympiad (BMO Round 1) and another 6,000 to to the Kangaroo
    • In this case, the centre that entered you should be in touch directly to make arrangements, but do check with them if you’re not sure. As the challenges require staff to invigilate, organising the follow on rounds can be difficult for smaller centres, so you may need to find a willing teacher to arrange this, especially for the Olympiad rounds which require 2 hours (for Junior and Intermediate) or 3.5 hour (Senior).
  2. Make a discretionary entry. Schools are allowed to enter additional candidates for the follow on rounds for a fee. At the time of writing (May 2023) the fee for the Junior Kangaroo is £4 and for the Junior Olympiad is £25 (because these papers are marked by hand) and similar fees apply for other levels. Like with the first rounds, entries are only open to UKMT centres (see here for advice for private and home-schooled candidates).
    • There is no set boundary for discretionary entries. Any student can enter via this route, including students who were not able to take the first round.
    • The school\centre must make the entry, so contact your school not the UKMT if you would like to enter. The competitions, especially the Olympiads, are very challenging, so schools may put off some students or suggest they take the Kangaroo instead of the Olympiad. But in most cases, if the school are already entering candidates and you are willing to pay the fee then most centres would allow keen students to enter. If the school doesn’t already have any Olympiad candidates do be aware that these are 2 hour exams and need to be invigilated by a member of staff so you may need to ask very nicely!
    • Students who make discretionary entires are eligible for all certificates and prizes, just like if they entered by qualifying.

I hope this page has been useful to you – if you’re preparing for any of the challenges, don’t forget to take a look at my courses and classes (many of which are free) here!