The Importance of Time Management in CEMC Contests

Time management is a critical skill in any competitive examination, and this holds true for the contests organized by the Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS), including the CEMC (Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing) contests. These contests, such as the Cayley, Fermat, and Euclid, are renowned for their challenging mathematical problems. In this guide, we will discuss the significance of time management in CEMC contests and provide strategies to help you excel.

Why Time Management Matters

1. Limited Time: 

CEMC contests are designed with a strict time limit. For instance, the Euclid Contest, which is one of the most advanced contests, typically provides three hours to complete a series of challenging problems. Effective time management ensures that you have enough time to attempt all the questions.

2. Complex Problems: 

CEMC problems can be intricate and may require several steps to solve. Proper time management allows you to allocate sufficient time to each problem, increasing your chances of solving them accurately.

3. Multiple Sections: 

Most CEMC contests consist of multiple sections, each with its own set of questions. Time management helps you navigate between sections smoothly, avoiding the risk of spending too much time on one part and neglecting others.

4. Stress Reduction: 

Effective time management reduces anxiety and stress during the contest. When you have a clear plan and are confident about your pace, you can focus on solving problems without worrying about running out of time.

Time Management Strategies for CEMC Contests

1. Read Instructions Carefully: 

Start by reading the contest instructions and format thoroughly. Understand the number of sections, questions in each section, and the overall time allocation. This information is crucial for planning.

2. Allocate Time Wisely: 

Divide your available time among the sections and questions. Prioritize questions you feel more confident about and allocate more time to challenging ones.

3. Set Milestones: 

Establish milestones or checkpoints for each section or question. For instance, if a contest has three sections, aim to complete the first section within the first third of your allocated time.

4. Skip and Return: 

If you encounter a particularly challenging question, don't dwell on it for too long. Mark it for review and move on to the next one. You can return to it later if time allows.

5. Use Scratch Paper: 

Utilize the provided scratch paper to jot down ideas, formulas, or intermediate steps. This can help you stay organized and reduce mental clutter.

6. Monitor the Clock: 

Keep an eye on the clock to ensure you are sticking to your time allocation. Adjust your pace if needed.

7. Eliminate Distractions:

During the contest, eliminate distractions such as unnecessary movements or excessive erasing. Focus solely on solving the problems.

8. Practice Time Management:

Regularly practice with timed mock tests and past contest papers. This helps you develop a sense of how much time to allocate to different types of questions.

9. Review if Time Permits: 

If you finish a section before the allotted time, use the remaining time to review your answers. Be cautious about changing answers unless you are sure of an error.

10. Stay Calm: 

Managing time effectively is essential, but it's equally important to stay calm. Anxiety can lead to rushed decisions and mistakes. Take deep breaths if you feel stressed.

11. Practice Consistency: 

Consistency is key. Develop a routine for managing your time during practice sessions, and apply the same strategies during the actual contest.


In CEMC contests, effective time management can be the difference between a good performance and an outstanding one. By understanding the format, allocating time wisely, and practicing under timed conditions, you can navigate these challenging contests with confidence. Remember that time management is a skill that improves with practice, so dedicate time to honing this skill as you prepare for CEMC contests.