Microsoft Imagine Cup: Exam, Eligibility, Date & Preparations Tips

Microsoft Imagine Cup: Exam, Eligibility, Date & Preparations Tips
Microsoft Imagine Cup: Exam, Eligibility, Date & Preparations Tips


It is a technology nurturing competition that promotes the building of essential yet creative applications, designs, concepts and experiments in the world of science and technology. It involves building projects based on cognitive services, machine learning, artificial intelligence etc and provides resources, tools, learning materials and mentors. This is a platform where you can showcase your development and design skills and launch products to a large audience.

Winning Rewards during Microsoft Imagine Cup

  • USD100,000 prize for the World Champion team
  • Three in-person Regional Finals across the globe with over USD20,000 in prizing
  • At each Regional Final: USD15,000 for 1st place, USD5,000 for 2nd place, USD1,000 for 3rd place
  • 1st place teams will advance to the World Championship and compete for USD100,000

Eligibility Criteria for Microsoft Imagine Cup

Any student can take part in this global competition with age 16 years and older. Anyone is welcome to imagine any solution that he or she will be passionate about, but must include a Microsoft Azure component and take into consideration diversity, inclusion, and accessibility. Microsoft imagine requires a maximum of four (4) members per team.

You are NOT a resident of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, and the Region of Crimea; and U.S. export regulations prohibit the export of goods and services to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, and the Region of Crimea. Therefore, residents of these countries/regions are not eligible to participate.

Information of different rounds during Microsoft Imagine Cup

  • Round 1: Registration and Microsoft Learn Challenge
  • Round 2: Online Semi-finals
  • Round 3: Local Events
  • Round 4: World Finals
  • Round 5: World Championship

Exam Pattern of Microsoft Imagine Cup

The competition process is as follows:

  • Register for a competition: You need to head to the Imagine cup page for registering for the competition.
  • You can view your teams and competition information from your Account page and also add new team members or create a new team.
  • Imagine Cup participants are required to create or join a team to create, design and launch a new technology product.
  • Each of the rounds will contains topics among which you have to choose a topic to work on and build a meaningful concept/project on the basis of the topic. All the team members will have a significant role to play in this.
  • Each of these ideas will need to be presented and will be judged by Imagine Cup judges.
  • In the end, you need to submit your project to the Imagine cup server and this will be judges based on creativity, scalability, reach, usefulness and how well the application can handle errors.
  • Submit from your Imagine Cup Account – You can submit and check the status of your entry for any of our contests from your Account page.

Previously Asked Topics in Microsoft Imagine Cup

  • Earth
    • Track wild polar bears with AI
    • Classify endangered bird species with Custom Vision
  • Education
    • Learn about rocks and how to classify them
    • Intro to Python for space exploration
  • Health
    • Track global air quality with Azure Maps
    • Create an intelligent chatbot
  • Lifestyle
    • Publish an Angular, React, Svelte, or Vue JavaScript App with Azure Static Web Apps
    • Explore and analyse data with Python

Prerequisites for Microsoft Imagine Cup

Strong computer fundamentals along with coding ability with ability to design, build and launch using any service of Microsoft Azure and an unparalleled ability and curiosity to learn.

Having hands-on with machine learning, product development, artificial intelligence is always a plus. To build strong fundamentals over these topics you can always refer to Coding Ninjas’ courses for in-depth learning and mentorship from industry experts.

How to Register for Microsoft Imagine Cup?

You can directly go to the Imagine Cup page and sign up to join teams or build your own team.

Preparation Tips Microsoft Imagine Cup

I would suggest starting picking up development orient popular languages like Java, JavaScript, Python etc and especially learn about the .NET framework along with some services of Microsoft Azure. Starting building small applications using these which will help you to understand various other frameworks to work upon.

You can also take up previous Imagine cup topics and try to build something of your own or even take help or inspiration from previous products that won the Imagine Cup. Trust me, most of them are worth the interest.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I participate in Imagine Cups 2021?

Just go to the official site for Imagine Cup and register for the competition. Although the 2021 applications will open soon.

Is Microsoft Imagine free in 2021?

Yes, the competition is absolutely free to participate.

What happened to Microsoft Imagine 2021?

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation, there is some delay in Imagine Cup but further information will be soon be updated on the official site.

Is Azure free for students?

Azure is initially free for 30 days which also includes 14500 INR worth of credits which can be spent in the first 30 days of account creation, but later there are charges for complete use of Azure services.

What is DreamSpark called now?

It is the original education initiative which was later renamed to Microsoft Imagine Cup.


Imagine cup is a very prestigious competition for developers around the world which is essentially not only a competition but also a learning initiative by Microsoft. This platform provides world round mentors who are industry experts and motivate you to build meaningful applications and designs for the world of technology.

Hope this article is useful to competitors and students who are thinking of participating in Imagine Cup.

By Aniruddha Guin