South African Mathematics Olympiad (SAMO)

South African Mathematics Olympiad (SAMO)


The South African Mathematics Olympiad (SAMO) is South Africa’s biggest Olympiad. Approximately 100 000 high school learners across the country participate annually. There are two divisions: a junior division for grades 8 and 9 and a senior division for grades 10 to 12. Learners who score at least 50% in the first round which is written in March, qualify for the second round in May. The top approximately 100 junior and 100 senior learners from the second round qualify for the final round in July

Entry requirements

Grade 8 to 12 mathematics educators enter for the Olympiad on behalf of the learners by submitting a completed entry form that can be downloaded from to [email protected] along with the proof of payment.


The SA Mathematics Olympiad (SAMO) is organised and coordinated by the South African Mathematics Foundation (SAMF).


Learner’s critical thinking ability is improved and the discovery and validation of problem solving methods are developed through the SAMO questions.


Grade 8 to 12 learners.

How it works

The first round is written in March. The junior division consists of separate papers for grades 8 and 9 and the senior division of one paper for grades 10 to 12. Each paper consists of 20 questions with multiple-choice answers and learners have one hour to complete the paper. Each school is provided with the solutions. For this round, the teachers mark the papers. Learners who attain 50% or higher in the first round qualify for the second round which is written in May. There are separate papers for the juniors and seniors. This time the grade 8 and 9 learners write the same paper. Learners have two hours to complete twenty five questions. The best 100 senior and junior learners from the previous round qualify for the third round which is written at centralised venues in July.


Between R20 and R32 per learner for South African entrants. Quintile 1, 2 schools can enter up to 100 learners free of charge.


There are prizes up for grabs for learners and schools such as a Gold medal, R 15 000 and an iPad for the senior overall winner. The junior overall winner walks away with a Gold medal, R 7 500 and an iPad. The runners-up for the senior division receive a Silver medal and R 5 000 each and the runners-up for the junior division receive a silver medal and R 3 000 each. The best performing female learner, best performing African learner and the best performing learner from outside SA for each division receive a trophy and R 1 500. The best performing learner per quintile receives a trophy and R 1 000. The top 3 learners per division per province receive provincial prizes

Competition timelines

The entries for the Olympiad close the first week of February and the First Round is written in March. The Second Round is written in May and the Final Round is in July.

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