# How to get better at BMO1

ATM i can do some circle theorem and gemoetry questions, that is it. Ive attempted alot of questions as i have the book by geoff smith but give up after 20 minutes and look at the solution and realize i was barking up the complete wrong tree. Whats the solution?(pun not intended)Is there value in staring at a question for hours and trying it for days. Is there a certain though process i should go through each question with. Is there a reliable way to progres from qs 1-3 to doing entire papers?I would love to do well in bm01 next year and eventually progress onto bmo2.P.S i find intermediate and the senior challenges pretty damn easy and have done alot of intermediate olympiad questions. Also im in y11 summer currently. Thanks!
Original post by Nishaan183737
ATM i can do some circle theorem and gemoetry questions, that is it. Ive attempted alot of questions as i have the book by geoff smith but give up after 20 minutes and look at the solution and realize i was barking up the complete wrong tree. Whats the solution?(pun not intended)Is there value in staring at a question for hours and trying it for days. Is there a certain though process i should go through each question with. Is there a reliable way to progres from qs 1-3 to doing entire papers?I would love to do well in bm01 next year and eventually progress onto bmo2.P.S i find intermediate and the senior challenges pretty damn easy and have done alot of intermediate olympiad questions. Also im in y11 summer currently. Thanks!

It would probably help to post a few questions, one at a time, and say what you tried to do. Sometimes there are several ways of approaching a question. Depending on the question type though, some basic problem solving stuff like subbing numbers in, simplifying, visualising, .... can often get you started.
Original post by mqb2766
It would probably help to post a few questions, one at a time, and say what you tried to do. Sometimes there are several ways of approaching a question. Depending on the question type though, some basic problem solving stuff like subbing numbers in, simplifying, visualising, .... can often get you started.

Alr thanks. How much do you think theory helps. This book I have by Geoff smith has a decent bit of theory at the start and a lot of it I don’t understand as I haven’t started y12yet. Is it worth going out of my way to understand theory to improve at bmo1/2. Also is it really possible to achieve high marks in bmo1/2 maybe your own personal experience with them?Cheers
Original post by Nishaan183737
Alr thanks. How much do you think theory helps. This book I have by Geoff smith has a decent bit of theory at the start and a lot of it I don’t understand as I haven’t started y12yet. Is it worth going out of my way to understand theory to improve at bmo1/2. Also is it really possible to achieve high marks in bmo1/2 maybe your own personal experience with them?Cheers

tbh, for bmo1 you shouldnt really need much extra theory beyond gcse/smc. Its a bit more proof based and harder questions, but its often more about getting started. I dont have smiths book but have the earlier one by gardiner and the first chapter in that is a decent summary of the "theory", but in general much of it shouldnt be that new, it depends on what youve read about beforehand.

To get high marks, then yes you probably should understand the stuff in smiths/gardiners overview chapter / drfrost notes, but Id probably say most people lose marks trying to get started with problems / basic proofs, and practice/discussion/reflection is the thing for the latter
Cool thanks . One last thing - do you think it’s actually possible to achieve high marks by next years bmo1 so around 4-5months. Or are my efforts pointless. I enjoy maths and don’t find it a chore- as long as I’m actually making progress. Have you personally made good progress? Thanks once again
Original post by Nishaan183737
Cool thanks . One last thing - do you think it’s actually possible to achieve high marks by next years bmo1 so around 4-5months. Or are my efforts pointless. I enjoy maths and don’t find it a chore- as long as I’m actually making progress. Have you personally made good progress? Thanks once again

Sure you should be able to make some decent progress, and doing some background stuff over the summer is a good time to do it. Id do something like practicing on old papers mixed in with reading about/practicing topics like algebra/number theory/counting/... (frost notes are decent overviews and the odd book). So maybe one week try a paper (dont worry about timing), then the next week read about bmo algebra/practice questions and .... If youre finding it difficult to get started with a question, maybe ask for a hint before looking too closely at a solution. Many solutions are ~half a page so not that long, but its important to be able to see how theyll work before filling pages with "dumb algebra".

Im too old but my lad got through to bmo2 in y11 and while hes interested in it, he didnt do that much beyond the above. So as before, its practice/problem solving that will probably help more than new theory.
Original post by mqb2766
Sure you should be able to make some decent progress, and doing some background stuff over the summer is a good time to do it. Id do something like practicing on old papers mixed in with reading about/practicing topics like algebra/number theory/counting/... (frost notes are decent overviews and the odd book). So maybe one week try a paper (dont worry about timing), then the next week read about bmo algebra/practice questions and .... If youre finding it difficult to get started with a question, maybe ask for a hint before looking too closely at a solution. Many solutions are ~half a page so not that long, but its important to be able to see how theyll work before filling pages with "dumb algebra".
Im too old but my lad got through to bmo2 in y11 and while hes interested in it, he didnt do that much beyond the above. So as before, its practice/problem solving that will probably help more than new theory.
Wow bmo2 in y11 is impressive
Original post by Nishaan183737
Wow bmo2 in y11 is impressive

He did well but really the only reason for mentioning it is to emphasise its really about practice/problem solving rather than learning lots of new stuff. You can usually get quite far in the smc and bmo1 with quite rudimentary knowledge and problem solving.
(edited 1 month ago)