Round 1 2021

Please visit the page for running the competition online during the pandemic. That page takes priority over every other page.

  1. Notice-board for emergencies and FAQs during and after the test week
  2. Dates
  3. Test material
  4. Local arrangements
    1. Advanced level
    2. Other levels
  5. National thresholds for Gold, Silver and Bronze at each level, and some statistics
  6. Archive of messages to teachers

For ongoing information:



  • Feb 6: The languages in the Advance paper were:
    • A1 = Mandombe
    • A2 = Old and Middle Chinese
    • A3 = Nglkolmpu
    • A4 = Sauk
    • A5 = Dagaare
  • Feb 4: Another typo. In the Advanced paper, Problem 3, Q3.2, line 3: youw should be yuow.
  • Feb 1: Another rethink needed (Advanced only): One teacher has reported that although the PDFs worked fine for the competitors, our idea for bundling them into larger PDFs before uploading to the portal doesn’t work. Apparently merging several PDFs into one plays havoc with the filled boxes.
    • Solution: Just combine all your PDFs into a single .zip folder (or a number of such folders if you prefer), and send them directly to your marker by email or (if the folder is too large for email) by a free file-transfer system such as WeTransfer. (To use this service, you don’t need to sign up, so just click ‘no thanks’ when it invites you to sign up.)
  • Feb 1: Major crisis: The .pdf bundles of problems that were released last week don’t work, so you now need to download the .zip folders that have replaced them on the portal.
    • It would be a good idea for competitors to make a note of their answers on paper, just in case their equipment fails when entering the answers in the .pdf file.
  • Jan 30: Problem 5, Q.5.1: The first example should contain bilini, not binili. So it should read: Bilini niyá ang bilya para sa iná ko.
  • Jan 28: How to combine PDF files. We’ve changed our recommended app because the one we were recommending turned out to strip out all the fill-in boxes (with the students’ answers in them).

Dates for 2021

  • Mon Jan 25, 2021: end of period for notifying Advanced numbers.
  • Thurs Jan 28: test material released on the portal for all levels (see below).
  • Feb 1-5: test week for round 1
  • Fri Feb 5 (end): deadline for scanning and uploading Advanced scripts.
  • Sat Feb 6: solutions for non-Advanced problems released via the portal.
  • Mon Feb 22: results announced for the Advanced competition.
  • March 8: deadline for entering non-Advanced results in the portal. Soon after that we’ll fix the national thresholds so that you can download your certificates.
  • April 8: All-clear for releasing publicly all the test material, for all levels including Advanced, and including solutions and marking schemes.

Test material: all the material you need for the test (apart from coloured pens – highly recommended!) will be available for download from the portal at 5.00 pm on the date specified above. You’ll receive an email confirming that the material is ready.

Local arrangements

Advanced level

If you’re expecting to enter candidates for the Advanced competition,

  • please notify us of your numbers (not names) as instructed, so that we can assign you a marker. The portal won’t accept notifications  after the date given above. Late entries will not be accepted.
  • please arrange for your candidates to take the test under the conditions that you would provide for any public exam such as GCSE – i.e. a quiet room with an invigilator and no communication between candidates (or access to mobile phones or computers!).
  • please allow 2.5 hours for the test.
    • If you have candidates who are given extra time in other public exams, please make similar arrangements here.

Timing:   You can arrange your competition at any time during the competition week specified above, but you must make sure you have time:

  • to print the test papers (at all levels) after they are released and (of course) before the scheduled time for the test.
  • to scan the Advanced scripts in time to send them to us by the end of Friday evening.

Other levels

For levels other than Advanced, you’re welcome to make whatever arrangements you like for the competition, including:

  • allowing pupils to work in small teams.
  • allowing more or less than our recommended time: 2 hours.
  • splitting a paper into separate problems to be tackled at different times, e.g. in ordinary timetabled classes.
  • timing it beyond the official competition week.
  • making up your own ad hoc paper by combining problems to taste, or even by just selecting one or two problems.
    • In the portal, you’ll say your candidates entered for a special level called ‘Other’.
    • The portal will allow you to enter results for individual problems, so it won’t worry if they don’t fit a standard paper.
    • Unfortunately we won’t be able to award your competitors a UKLO certificate.

National thresholds for award certificates

The national thresholds for Gold, Silver and Bronze awards apply to all certificates at all levels except ‘Other’; for example, if the threshold for Bronze level at Intermediate level is 60, then any total of 60 or higher will merit a Bronze certificate (provided it is below the threshold for the Silver level). 

  • These thresholds are based on the total marks for each candidate calculated as a percentage of the maximum marks for the level concerned, so the marks shown on the portal won’t correspond to the total of the marks for individual problems.
  • The thresholds are set so that the top 5% get Gold, the next 10% Silver and the next 20% Bronze. 
  • Even if a competitor does not win an award certificate, they will receive a certificate for participating. 
  • The ‘total entries’ column shows the number of results received by the day when the thresholds were calculated.
  total entries Gold Silver Bronze
Breakthrough 232 92 77 58
Foundation 593 88 79 54
Intermediate 396 85 75 55
Advanced 1017 72 59 43.5