An Introduction to Mathematical Olympiad for Elementary and Middle School Students (MOEMS)

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

View of a person looking at Math equations

An Introduction to Mathematical Olympiad for Elementary and Middle School Students (MOEMS)

This blog post aims to introduce MOEMS to elementary and middle school students. We’ll discuss the significance of MOEMS, the competition’s format, and how students can best prepare for it. Additionally, we’ll offer tips and resources for those wishing to participate and highlight the many benefits of competing in MOEMS.

An Overview: MOEMS

MOEMS, or Mathematical Olympiads for Elementary and Middle Schools, is a highly competitive math contest that aims to challenge students in grades 4-8 with difficult mathematical problems. The contest is divided into two divisions: Division E for students in grades 4-6 and Division M for students in grades 6-8. Despite the age difference, all students in one division compete together, regardless of their grades.

Participation in MOEMS is highly encouraged from an early age to help students gain experience and track their progress year-to-year. The contest consists of five meets held between November and March, where students are required to solve five math problems of varying difficulty within a 30-minute time frame. Individual scores are calculated by adding the number of problems solved by a student over the five meets.

Unlike other contests, MOEMS is a quintessential team contest. A team’s success is not determined by a few exceptionally talented students but rather by the scores of all team members. The team score is calculated by adding a team’s top ten individual scores, highlighting the importance of every team member’s participation.

The most prestigious team award in MOEMS is the Team Highest Achievement Award, which is given to the top 10% of teams in each division. Additionally, the top 20% of teams composed entirely of younger students (such as fourth and fifth graders in Division E or seventh graders in Division M) receive the Meritorious Achievement Award.

a male student solving a math problem

In addition to team awards, individual students who excel in MOEMS also receive recognition. Students who score a perfect score earn the Dr. George Lenchner Medal, while the top 2% of scorers receive a Gold Pin. The top 10% of scorers receive a Silver Pin, and the top 50% of scorers receive a Felt Patch.

These awards are particularly impressive for younger students, as they demonstrate their ability to compete with students who are one or two years older. A fourth-grader who earns a Felt Patch in Division E or a sixth-grader who earns it in Division M has demonstrated an impressive level of skill and determination.

What are Mathematical Olympiads?

Mathematical Olympiads have been around since the 1950s when the first International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) was held in Romania. The competition was designed to bring together the best high school mathematics students from around the world to compete against each other and promote international cooperation in mathematics. Since then, the Mathematical Olympiads have become increasingly popular, with many countries now holding their own national and regional competitions.

The first Mathematical Olympiad for high school students in the United States was held in 1972. Since then, the competition has expanded to include the American Mathematics Competitions (AMC) for middle and high school students and the Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program (MOSP), a rigorous training program for middle and high school top-performing students.

In addition to the IMO and national competitions, there are also many regional and local Mathematical Olympiads held around the world. These competitions provide students with the opportunity to showcase their mathematical abilities and compete against other talented students in their area.

Overall, Mathematical Olympiads have played a significant role in promoting mathematics education and fostering international cooperation in the field of mathematics. They have also inspired countless students to pursue careers in mathematics, science, and technology.

Why participate in MOEMS?

Participating in Mathematical Olympiad for Elementary and Middle School Students (MOEMS) offers students a wide range of benefits. One of the most significant advantages of participating in MOEMS is that it helps students develop problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.

The competition challenges students to solve complex mathematical problems that require creative and logical thinking, which can help them develop analytical skills and learn how to approach problems from multiple angles. These skills are valuable not only in mathematics but also in other areas of life, such as science, engineering, and business.

Another benefit of participating in the competition is that it can help increase students’ interest and enthusiasm for mathematics. The competition introduces students to new and interesting mathematical concepts and problems they may not have encountered before. This can help them develop a greater appreciation for the subject and encourage them to pursue further studies in mathematics.

Participating in MOEMS also offers the opportunity to compete against other students from around the world. This competition set can motivate some students, as it provides a platform to showcase their skills and see how they measure up against other talented students. It can also help students develop a sense of sportsmanship and teamwork as they work together to solve problems and compete against other teams.

View of a students writing in the board.

Furthermore, MOEMS provides students with the opportunity to gain recognition and awards for their achievements. This can be a valuable addition to college applications and resumes, demonstrating a commitment to academic excellence and an ability to excel in challenging academic settings. It can also help build confidence and self-esteem as students see the results of their hard work and dedication.

Finally, participating in MOEMS can help prepare students for future mathematical competitions, such as the American Mathematics Competitions (AMC) or International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). The skills and knowledge gained from participating in MOEMS can be applied to more advanced competitions, providing students with a solid foundation for further studies in mathematics.

Overall, participating in MOEMS offers a range of benefits for students. It helps develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills, increases interest in mathematics, provides opportunities for competition and recognition, and prepares students for future mathematical competitions.

How to prepare for MOEMS?

How to prepare for MOEMS? Preparing for Mathematical Olympiad for Elementary and Middle School Students (MOEMS) requires dedication, hard work, and practice. Here are some tips and strategies for preparing for MOEMS:

Start early: It is important to prepare for MOEMS early, so students have enough time to cover all the necessary topics and practice solving problems. Ideally, students should begin preparing at least six months before the competition.

Study the basics: MOEMS tests students’ understanding of basic mathematical concepts, so it is important to have a strong foundation in arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and number theory. Students should review the concepts covered in their math classes and practice solving problems related to these topics.

Practice solving problems: MOEMS requires students to solve challenging mathematical problems, so it is essential to practice solving similar problems. Students should seek out practice problems from past MOEMS exams or other sources and work through them systematically. This can help them develop problem-solving strategies and increase their speed and accuracy.

Take practice exams: Practice exams are a great way to simulate the actual MOEMS competition and get a sense of the types of problems that will be on the exam. Students should take as many practice exams as possible and use them as an opportunity to identify their strengths and weaknesses.

Seek out resources: Many resources are available to help students prepare for MOEMS, including textbooks, online courses, and tutoring services. Students should take advantage of these resources to supplement their classroom learning and gain additional practice in solving problems.

Persevere and stay motivated: Preparing for MOEMS requires perseverance and dedication. Students should stay motivated and maintain a positive attitude, even when facing difficult problems. They should also be willing to learn from their mistakes and use them as an opportunity to improve.

Importance of parental involvement and support

Parental involvement and support are crucial for students participating in Mathematical Olympiad for Elementary and Middle School Students (MOEMS). Here are some reasons why parental involvement is important:

Encouragement and motivation: Parents can provide encouragement and motivation to their children, which can help boost their confidence and self-esteem. This can be especially important when students face challenging problems or feel discouraged.

asian senior high school male teacher teach math online through webcam in classroom

Access to resources: Parents can help their children find resources such as textbooks, practice exams, and online courses to supplement their classroom learning and gain additional practice in solving problems.

Accountability and organization: Parents can help their children develop good study habits and time management skills, which can be useful for preparing for MOEMS competitions and other academic pursuits.

Support during competitions: Parents can attend MOEMS competitions and provide emotional support to their children. This can help students stay calm and focused during the competition.

Recognition and celebration: Parents can recognize and celebrate their children’s achievements, which can help reinforce the value of hard work and dedication. This can also motivate students to continue pursuing their interests and goals.

Parental involvement and support can help students succeed in MOEMS and other academic pursuits. Parents can help their children develop the skills and confidence needed to excel in problem-solving and critical thinking by providing encouragement, resources, and emotional support.

What to expect during a MOEMS competition?

What to expect during a MOEMS competition? Mathematical Olympiad for Elementary and Middle School Students (MOEMS) is a challenging competition that requires students to solve complex mathematical problems. Here is an overview of what to expect during a MOEMS competition:


MOEMS is a paper-based competition consisting of five rounds. Each round includes five problems, and students have 30 minutes to solve them. The problems are designed to test students’ understanding of basic mathematical concepts and require creative and logical thinking to solve.

Sample Problems and Solutions

Here are a couple of sample problems that students may encounter in MOEMS:

Find the value of x if 2(x+1) – 3(x-1) = 8.

Solution: First, we distribute the 2 and the -3 to get 2x + 2 – 3x + 3 = 8. Combining like terms, we get -x + 5 = 8. Subtracting 5 from both sides, we get -x = 3. Finally, we divide both sides by -1 to get x = -3.

A watermelon is cut into 16 slices. How many slices would there be if you cut the same watermelon into 24 slices?

Solution: To solve this problem, we can use proportional reasoning. We can set up a proportion: 16/1 = 24/x, where x is the number of slices if the watermelon is cut into 24 slices. Cross-multiplying, we get 16x = 24, which simplifies to x = 1.5. Therefore, there would be 1.5 * 24 = 36 slices if the watermelon is cut into 24 slices.

Tips for staying calm and focused during the MOEMS competition

Here are some tips for staying calm and focused during the competition:

Read the problem carefully: It is essential to read the problem carefully to understand what is being asked.

Draw diagrams: Drawing diagrams can help students visualize the problem and make it easier to solve.

Use scratch paper: Using scratch paper can help students keep their work organized and make it easier to check their answers.

Manage time effectively: Students should keep track of time and allocate enough time to each problem. If a problem is too challenging, they should move on to the next one and return to it later.

Stay calm and focused: It is essential to stay calm and focused during the competition and not get discouraged if a problem seems difficult. Staying positive and focused can help students perform their best. Here are some additional tips for staying calm and focused during the MOEMS competition:

Practice relaxation techniques: Before the competition, students can practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation to calm their nerves and clear their minds.

Avoid distractions: During the competition, avoiding distractions such as talking to other students or looking around the room is important. Students should focus on the task and stay in their own space.

Double-check answers: After solving each problem, students should double-check their answers to ensure they are correct. This can help prevent careless mistakes and improve accuracy.

Stay hydrated and energized: Students should bring snacks and water to the competition to stay hydrated and energized. This can help improve focus and concentration.

an image of a hand writing unto a notebook while other sheets of paper are sprawled on the table

Trust your instincts: If a problem seems too challenging or unfamiliar, students should trust their instincts and try to solve it using the skills and strategies they have learned. It is important not to give up too easily or get discouraged.

Learn from mistakes: After the competition, students should review their answers and analyze any mistakes they made. This can help them learn from their mistakes and improve their problem-solving skills for future competitions.

Overall, MOEMS is a challenging competition that requires students to apply their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. By preparing thoroughly and staying calm and focused during the competition, students can excel and gain valuable experience that will help them in future mathematical competitions.


In conclusion, Mathematical Olympiad for Elementary and Middle School Students is an excellent way to develop problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. The competition challenges students to think creatively and logically, allowing them to compete against their peers and gain recognition for their achievements.

Participating in the competition can benefit students, including improved academic performance, increased confidence and self-esteem, and preparation for more advanced mathematical competitions. It can also help students develop good study habits, time management skills, and a passion for learning.

Parents can play an important role in helping their children prepare for MOEMS by providing encouragement, resources, and emotional support. By working with their children, parents can help them achieve their full potential and develop the skills they need to succeed.

In summary, MOEMS is an important opportunity for elementary and middle school students to challenge themselves and develop problem-solving skills. By participating and preparing for the competition, students can gain valuable experience and knowledge that will benefit them throughout their academic and professional lives.

Participating in the competition can be a rewarding experience that improves academic performance and helps students develop important life skills such as perseverance, determination, and resilience. It can also provide opportunities to meet other students with similar interests and form lasting friendships.

Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and take on new opportunities. MOEMS is a great way to push yourself beyond your limits and discover your potential. Who knows, you may discover a love for problem-solving that will stay with you for a lifetime!

Having all the necessary information is important before choosing any course of action. AdmissionSight is always here to assist you with any questions or concerns. We have more than ten years of expertise assisting students in successfully navigating the challenging admissions process.

Consult with AdmissionSight and find out what we can do to help you get into the school of your choice by ensuring that you are sufficiently aware and well-prepared for the application process.


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