Each SATMO paper consists of twenty questions of varying difficulties; some are relatively elementary, while others are only solved by a few contestants. They cover various areas of mathematics, including algebra, analysis, combinatorics, geometry, logic, number theory and set theory. While some of the problems are very challenging, the competition aims to promote ingenuity rather than extensive theoretical knowledge. Thus the questions do not normally go beyond a standard first-year university mathematics syllabus.
The competition is written on a Saturday afternoon (in recent years, it always took place at the end of August) and takes two hours. Students write at their home universities, their papers are marked by the local coordinators, and national results are collected afterwards.
More than 200 students from universities across the country (and even some high school learners) are competing each year in the SATMO. Past top scorers are:
2012: Henry Thackeray (University of Pretoria)
2013: Liam Baker (University of Cape Town)
2014: Sean Wentzel (University of Cape Town)
2015: Robin Visser (University of Cape Town)
2016: Robin Visser (University of Cape Town)
2017: Bronson Rudner (University of Cape Town) and Robin Visser (University of Cape Town)
2018: Ulrik de Mûelenaere (University of Pretoria), Jarah Fluxman (University of the Witwatersrand), Ralph McDougall (Curro Durbanville), Taejun Park (University of Cape Town) and Robin Visser (Stellenbosch University)
If you have any questions, please send an email to Stephan Wagner (firstname.lastname@example.org). Past papers and solutions can be found on http://math.sun.ac.za/~swagner/TMO/