Round 1 2022

  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:



  • Sun 22.2.13: The solutions and marking schemes that I uploaded yesterday evening contained some small errors which have now been fixed in the uploaded versions. If you downloaded those files before 13.00 on Sunday I’m afraid you should download them again. (The problems involved are #7 and #10.) Very sorry, and thanks to those who spotted the errors.
  • Tues 22.2.8: Problem 5. The mentions of “Columbia” should, of course, be “Colombia”! Very sorry – do alert your competitors.
  • Mon 22.2.7: Problem 5. Feel free to explain what a machete is if you think they won’t know. Please try to avoid comparing it to a sword – if possible, just give them a picture and explain how it’s used.
  • Mon 22.2.7: Breakthrough and Foundation levels. If you downloaded the solutions and marking scheme on Thursday or Friday (see the next bullet), please DON’T start marking, because I’m expecting to revise them in the next day or two when I test-mark some scripts. The official versions will be uploaded on Saturday, so please wait till then. Very sorry if you’re itching to get started …
  • Fri 22.2.4: Breakthrough and Foundation levels. (Not a moment of glory here …) I accidentally uploaded the files with solutions for these two levels. When printing them out, please make sure not to include the solutions! The uploaded files are now correct (as of 10 pm Friday evening).
  • Fri 22.2.4: Problem 10. During the correction of the minor error below, I uploaded the wrong file – the one with the solution to Problem 10! This has now been corrected.
  • Thurs 22.2.3: Problem 10. The footnote contained an obvious error which has been removed. If you downloaded the material before 20.30 on Thursday you’ll have the error, but copies downloaded after that time are correct.

Dates for 2022

  • Mon Jan 31, 2022: end of period for notifying Advanced numbers.
  • Thurs Feb 3: test material released on the portal for all levels (see below).
  • Feb 7-11: test week for round 1
  • Fri Feb 11 (end): deadline for scanning and uploading Advanced scripts.
  • Sat Feb 12: solutions for non-Advanced problems released via the portal.
  • Mon Feb 28: results announced for the Advanced competition.
  • March 14: deadline for entering non-Advanced results in the portal. Soon after that we’ll fix the national thresholds to tell you that you can download your certificates.
  • April 4 (tbc): 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.

You must also make sure that if you are entering competitors at both Advanced and Intermediate levels, the Advanced competitors sit the test first (because the two papers generally share two problems).

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, because the maximum marks don’t normally add up to 100, 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 (greater than zero) received by the day when the thresholds were calculated.
  total entries Gold Silver Bronze
Breakthrough 807 88% 73% 51%
Foundation 1278 86.1% 79.9% 67%
Intermediate 1313 77% 63.5% 52.5%
Advanced 1488 73% 58% 44.5%