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Contest mathematics learning recommendations

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This page provides subject-specific learning recommendations for the subject contest mathematics. See all our learning recommendations pages |

Top recommendations for comprehensive coverage of contest mathematics topics and problem-solving techniques

Books detailing problem-solving strategies with lots of problems

If you are serious about contest mathematics, try to get at least one of these books, and if you can afford it, try to get all of these books.

Book Author ISBN and purchase links Strengths Cost estimate
Problem-Solving Strategies Arthur Engel ISBN 978-0387982199, Amazon paperback Covers all the major topics, with questions at a wide range of difficulty levels. Has brief descriptions of specific problem-solving strategies and a few worked problems, but mostly relies on a long list of problems with solutions at the back.
The book does not restrict itself to "typical" contest problems, and it includes a number of offbeat problem-solving themes.
~$75 (buy), ~$25 (rent)
The Art and Craft of Problem Solving Paul Zeitz ISBN 978-0471789017, Amazon paperback Goes into considerable detail into the general process of thinking about problems, and follows that up with a specific discussion of particular topics and problem-solving strategies. ~$66 (buy), ~$17 (rent)
The Art of Problem Solving Sandor Lehoczky and Richard Rusczyk Vol. 1: ISBN 978-0977304561, Amazon paperback, Art of Problem Solving bookstore
Vol. 2: ISBN 978-097730458, Amazon paperback, Art of Problem Solving bookstore
~$30-35 each on Amazon
~$40-45 each on the Art of Problem Solving bookstore
Total ~$200-250 (if you buy all the books)

Videos on problem-solving

Books with interesting lists of challenging problems and very brief discussions of strategy

Book Author ISBN and purchase links Strengths Cost estimate
Mathematical Olympiad Challenges Titu Andreescu and Razvan Gelca ISBN 978-0817645281, Amazon paperback Has many beautiful and hard problems and elegant techniques. Favorably reviewed on Amazon and elsewhere. ~$40 (both paperback and Kindle edition)

Recommendations broken down by subject area

The answer wiki for the Quora question What are the best resources for preparing for the IMO? is fairly comprehensive.

Websites with practice systems and training