How to Ace the CEMC Cayley Contest: Tips and Strategies

The CEMC (Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing) Cayley Contest is a highly regarded mathematics competition for students in grades 9 and 10. It is designed to challenge and assess mathematical problem-solving skills. To excel in the Cayley Contest, you need effective strategies and a solid understanding of mathematics concepts. In this guide, we will provide you with tips and strategies to help you ace the CEMC Cayley Contest.

Understand the Contest Format

Before delving into preparation, it's crucial to understand the format of the Cayley Contest:

- Time Limit: 

The Cayley Contest typically allows 75 minutes to complete a series of mathematical problems.

- Problem Types: 

The contest includes a mix of multiple-choice questions, short-answer questions, and longer, more in-depth problem-solving questions.

- Mathematical Content: 

The contest covers a wide range of topics, including algebra, geometry, number theory, and combinatorics. Questions vary in difficulty, with some requiring creative problem-solving skills.

Effective Strategies for Success

1. Start Early: 

Begin your preparation well in advance of the contest date. This allows you to cover all necessary topics and take practice tests.

2. Review Basics: 

Ensure you have a solid grasp of fundamental mathematical concepts, including algebraic equations, geometric principles, and number properties. These form the building blocks for more complex problems.

3. Practice Regularly: 

Consistent practice is key to success. Work through a variety of math problems, including those from past Cayley Contests, textbooks, and online resources. Pay attention to the different question formats.

4. Time Management: 

Develop effective time management skills. During practice sessions, time yourself to mimic real test conditions. Allocate a certain amount of time to each question or section.

5. Solve Past Papers: 

Utilize past Cayley Contest papers for practice. Analyze your performance and identify areas where you need improvement.

6. Learn from Mistakes: 

After each practice test or study session, review the questions you got wrong. Understand why you made mistakes and learn from them. Identify any recurring patterns in your errors and work on improving those areas.

7. Practice Mental Math: 

The Cayley Contest often includes questions that can be solved more quickly through mental math. Practice mental calculations to save time during the test.

8. Master Problem-Solving Techniques: 

Familiarize yourself with problem-solving techniques commonly used in math competitions, such as algebraic manipulation, geometric visualization, and divisibility rules.

9. Mark for Review: 

If you encounter a particularly challenging problem, don't spend too much time on it initially. Mark it for review and move on to easier questions. Return to challenging questions later if time allows.

10. Practice Under Time Constraints: 

Regularly practice under timed conditions to get a feel for the contest's pace. This helps you manage time effectively during the actual Cayley Contest.

11. Seek Guidance: 

If you encounter difficult problems or concepts, seek help from teachers, tutors, or peers. They can provide valuable insights and explanations.

12. Stay Calm on Test Day: 

On the day of the Cayley Contest, stay calm and focused. Read each question carefully and avoid rushing through problems. Double-check your answers if time permits.

13. Stay Informed: 

Stay informed about contest rules and any updates or changes to the Cayley Contest format.


Acing the CEMC Cayley Contest requires a combination of solid mathematical knowledge, problem-solving skills, and effective test-taking strategies. By following these tips and dedicating yourself to consistent practice and learning, you can perform exceptionally well in the Cayley Contest and gain recognition for your mathematical abilities. Remember that mathematical problem-solving is a skill that can benefit you in various aspects of life, beyond just competitions.