Email: evan  [at] evanchen•cc


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Teaching (OTIS)


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  •  ELMO
  •  For beginners



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Olympiad Training for Individual Study (OTIS)

OTIS is an olympiad training program for students aiming to do well on USA(J)MO or similar level contests. It is designed for contestants who are comfortable reading and writing proofs and can usually qualify for national olympiad, (for example, consistently 10+ on AIME for American contestants is fine). Students at other levels should feel welcome to contact me for referrals to other mentors.

The OTIS Excerpts

Around the start of 2019, I posted publicly a collection of 192 problems and solutions based on materials for OTIS. This mini-book was named The OTIS Excerpts. It is designed to mostly be beginner-friendly though some of the chapters are more challenging.

Application — Year VI

The application for fall 2020 is now open. The deadline to apply was is August 1, 2020 at 11:59 PM PT. However, late applications may receive some consideration up until February 2021. See section 4 of the application instructions for details about this.

Who can apply

OTIS is open to anyone, including international students from all countries.

Students from minorities and underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply. (I promise I don't bite.) Admissions is done primarily based on the application problems, rather than by "merit" (whatever that means). Also, financial aid is possible, and has no effect on chances of admission.

OTIS is taught in English and assumes an ability to read and write proofs. A stable Internet connection is required.

About OTIS

Here is some information about the program and what it is.


OTIS is centered around two-week topic units (my design) which I pick for each participant based on their background. Each unit comes with a problem set of about 10-15 olympiad problems meant to take about two weeks. Each semester is 12 weeks. Additionally, 10-14 olympiad-style practice exams (each emulating a day of a typical olympiad) are assigned throughout the year (graded in full).

A rough estimate of the time commitment might be 8-16 hours per week, although there is a large variance.

Some students have brief weekly or biweekly lectures (I really mean "brief" here, like 45 minutes or so) but students can also take OTIS as a correspondence course with no lectures at all. It's also possible to have an instructor other than me. In this way, OTIS is really a guided self-study program and is not really meant as a tutoring program.

The (long) syllabus contains the full details.



Current staff:

  • Evan Chen: Director
  • [Anant Mudgal][anant]: Instructor (OTIS III)
  • [Howard Halim][howard]: Instructor (OTIS III-IV)
  • [Michael Ren][mren]: Instructor (OTIS I-II)
  • [Zack Chroman][zack]: Instructor (OTIS II-III)
  • CJ Quines: Grader

Past organizers:

  • [Ankan Bhattacharya][ankan]: Instructor


I started teaching in 2015 when a group of parents from Phillips Andover Academy emailed me in early April, asking if I'd be interested in coaching a group of five contestants. At the time I called it "Andover Olympiad Training", and would make a trip up north from MIT every Sunday to work with them.

Since then word has gotten around, and more and more requests have come to me. I now teach 10-15 contestants each semester from both coasts, meeting them online during my evenings and the weekends, in lieu of studying for my actual classes. Thus my part-time job is to work with some of the most talented and motivated math high schoolers in the country on the same problems that I loved so much back in high school. I have the best job in the world.


Last modified: Tue Oct 27 16:43:11 2020.