Awards are only given to official participants (see our Eligibility page for details).
There are two divisions: the Canadian Division, which is only for participants writing the exam from within Canada (or Canadian citizens or permanent residents writing outside Canada); and the International Division, which is only for non-Canadian participants writing the competition outside of Canada.
Canadian Division award categories:
We have award categories for Best in Canadian Division and Best in Province and Best in Region, as well as for students at each grade level. For instance,
- Canadian Champions: everyone competes for this, the most prestigious category *
- Best in Canadian Division, Grade 12 or Cégep: All grade 12 and Cégep students in Canada compete for this
- Best in BC (overall): all official participants (regardless of grade) in BC
- Best in BC, Grade 10: all Grade 10 students in BC
- Best in Toronto (overall): all official participants in Toronto-area schools
- Best in Toronto, Grade 11: All grade 11 students in Toronto compete for this category
The top six unique scores in any category earn awards: Gold, Silver, Bronze, Honourable Mention.
* A cash prize pool will be divided among the top students in this division.
International Division awards:
The top official participants from outside Canada, who are not Canadian citizens (or permanent residents of Canada) are considered for the International Division awards, which are not grade-dependent. The top three unique scores (regardless of ties) are given Gold, Silver or Bronze. Additionally, any international student who achieves at least a score as high as the lowest Best in Canada Overall Honourable Mention will receive an Honourable Mention award in the International division.
The CMS reserves the right to suspend awards or limit the number of awards in any category where there is a very low level of participation or to require a minimum limit score for awards.
The COMC is truly an “open” competition which welcomes anyone to write. Those meeting basic eligibility criteria are considered official participants. Official participation in the COMC can lead to invitations to higher-level competitions with greater national or international prestige.
Beyond the COMC, competitions are by invitation only, based in large part on students' track records in the COMC and competitions from earlier years. To be invited to Canadian competitions beyond the COMC, students usually need to be Canadian citizens (or permanent residents) but might be studying in Canada or abroad.
When the official results of the COMC are released (usually in early January), the top 125 (all figures are approximate) qualifying students are divided into two groups: the top 50 are invited to the Canadian Mathematical Olympiad (CMO), which is the top national-level competition. The other 75 students are invited to participate in the CMO Qualifying Repêchage ("Repêchage") in early February.
The Repêchage is a "take home" week-long exam done through email. It is not scored, but our evaluators choose the most insightful and correct exams and offer the top 20 an invitation to the CMO as well.
The CMO is a conventionally-supervised three-hour competition with five questions. It is usually held in late March. The CMO is the most important competition for those seeking to earn a spot on Math Team Canada (MTC), which is the group of students we select to represent Canada at the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) in the summer.
In early March, we also invite strong students to represent Canada in the Asia-Pacific Mathematical Olympiad (APMO). APMO is conducted like the CMO - in your own school supervised by your teacher.
Additionally, the Canadian Mathematical Society invites and supports girls for the Canadian team we send to Europe for the European Girls Mathematical Olympiad (EGMO) in April.
The IMO itself is normally held in July and each year is hosted in a different country where hundreds of the world's best students gather to compete and go on local outings. The IMO exam is just six questions, split over two days (a total of nine hours of testing), so it is tough! Prior to the IMO itself, the selected Canadian team (plus some alternates) gather for one or two weeks of intensive training at a Training Camp led by former Math Team Canada members and leaders (last year it was at the University of Waterloo).
Canada's world ranking is very strong: we were 24th out of 112 countries in the most recent IMO held in the United Kingdom. If you want to reach for the very top (like Canadian Alex Song, the best the IMO has ever seen), make your COMC effort a strong one!
Competition results will be shared with our partner universities to help them consider offering academic scholarships to high-potential students.
Approximately 24 Canadian students in grade 10 or earlier with strong performance on the COMC will be invited to the summer CMS Canada Math Camp (CMC) hosted by the University of Toronto.
Canadian students who demonstrate solid performance at their grade level in their region or province may be invited to a summer regional CMS Math Camp staged in collaboration with a CMS university partner in their province.
When the final results are announced, teachers/organizers will be able to log into their accounts to download and print the Participation certificates for all their officially-competing students.
Certificate titles are based on the quartile into which the student's score falls:
- 1st quartile = Performance with Distinction
- 2nd quartile = Performance with Honours
- 3rd or 4th quartile = Certificate of Participation
Anyone writing the COMC in Canada is also eligible for random participation prizes. A number of prizes will be distributed to participants nationally.
Additional prizes may be awarded at the discretion of the COMC Committee.
The chance of winning a prize depends on the respective number of national, provincial, or regional participants.
In recognition of the valued contributions made by teachers in facilitating COMC student participation, teachers in Canada will be eligible for a limited number of generously donated prizes from Maplesoft and prizes from the Canadian Mathematical Society.
Maplesoft is pleased to provide a limited number of eligible teachers with a complimentary 1-year license of Maple 2021 to use in their classrooms. While supplies last, this offer is available to teachers in Canada who complete and pay for their COMC exam order by the payment deadline. Within the body-text of emailed payment receipts, eligible teachers will receive instructions on how to apply for a complimentary software license.
The Canadian Mathematical Society will be providing a number of volumes from our problem solving series A Taste of Mathematics (ATOM). Winners will be able to choose from the following titles, subject to availability (or you can order them from the CMS):
- Mathematical Olympiads' Correspondence Program (1995-96) by Edward J. Barbeau.
- Algebra Intermediate Methods by Bruce L.R. Shawyer.
- Problems for Mathematics Leagues by Peter I. Booth, John McLoughlin and Bruce L.R. Shawyer.
- Inequalities by Edward J. Barbeau and Bruce L.R. Shawyer.
- Combinatorial Explorations by Richard Hoshino and John McLoughlin.
- More Problems for Mathematics Leagues by Peter I. Booth, John McLoughlin and Bruce L.R. Shawyer.
- Problems of the Week by Jim Totten.
- Problems for Mathematics Leagues III by Peter I. Booth, John McLoughlin and Bruce L.R. Shawyer.
- The CAUT Problems by Edward Barbeau.
- Modular Arithmetic by Naoki Sato.
- Problems for Junior Mathematics Leagues by Bruce L.R. Shawyer & Bruce B. Watson.
- Transformational Geometry by Edward Barbeau.
- Quadratics and Complex Numbers by Edward J. Barbeau.
- Sequences and Series by Margo Kondratieva with Justin Rowsell.
- Géométrie plane, avec des nombres par Michel Bataille.
- Recurrence Relations by Iliya Bluskov.
Prize winners will be contacted in January after being randomly selected from the pool of eligible teachers.
All teachers in Canada who have registered students (official participants) for the COMC exam using their school account and unique email address are eligible for the Teacher Appreciation prize draws, provided all ordered exams are paid in full by the payment deadline.
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