Preparing for the CEMC Fermat Contest: Expert Advice

The CEMC (Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing) Fermat Contest is a prestigious mathematics competition designed for students in grades 11 and 12. It challenges participants with a range of mathematical problems that test their problem-solving abilities. To excel in the Fermat Contest, it's essential to have a solid foundation in mathematics and effective preparation strategies. In this guide, we'll provide expert advice on how to prepare for the CEMC Fermat Contest.

Understand the Fermat Contest Format

Before you begin your preparation, it's crucial to understand the format of the CEMC Fermat Contest:

- Time Limit: 

The Fermat Contest typically allows 75 minutes to complete a set of challenging mathematical problems.

- Question Types: 

The contest includes a mix of multiple-choice questions and longer, more in-depth problems that require written solutions.

- Mathematical Content: 

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

Effective Strategies for Success

1. Start Early:

   - Begin your preparation well in advance of the contest date. The Fermat Contest assesses mathematical knowledge and problem-solving skills developed over a longer period.

2. Review Fundamentals:

   - Ensure you have a strong grasp of fundamental mathematical concepts, including algebraic equations, geometric principles, number properties, and calculus basics. These serve as the foundation for solving more complex problems.

3. Practice Regularly:

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

4. Master Problem-Solving Techniques:

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

5. Solve Past Papers:

   - Utilize past Fermat Contest papers for practice. Analyze your performance and identify areas where you need improvement. This allows you to become familiar with the contest's format and question types.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. Seek Guidance:

   - If you encounter difficult problems or concepts, seek help from teachers, tutors, or peers who have experience with advanced mathematics. They can provide valuable insights and explanations.

9. Stay Informed:

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

10. Stay Calm on Test Day:

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

11. Review Calculus Concepts:

    - If you're in grade 11 or 12 and have studied calculus, ensure you review key calculus concepts, including derivatives and integrals, as they may appear in the contest.

12. Use Proper Notation:

    - When providing written solutions, use proper mathematical notation and clearly explain your thought process. Neat and organized solutions are more likely to receive full credit.


Scoring well in the CEMC Fermat Contest requires a combination of solid mathematical knowledge, problem-solving skills, and effective test-taking strategies. By following these strategies and dedicating yourself to consistent practice and learning, you can perform exceptionally well in the Fermat Contest, gaining 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.