Rules

This is the authoritative version of the rules. The entire rules section has recently been updated to reflect the current status of the competition.

Teams

The competition is targeted towards 6th, 7th and 8th grade students, although younger students may also compete.

The competitors are organized into teams of 4 to 6 students. Individuals without teams may register as well, and will be placed onto teams with other unaffiliated individuals. Registering teams across different schools is allowed.

Test Information

The competition consists of two individual rounds: the Individual and Theme Rounds, as well as three team rounds: the Team, Scramble, and Guts Rounds.

The individual round consists of 20 short answer problems to be completed in 60 minutes. The problems are arranged in order of increasing difficulty, and the problems are worth 4-6 points each, for a maximum score of 100 points for this round.

The theme round consists of 15 short answer problems to be completed in 35 minutes. The problems are divided into three 'themes' of five problems, each given to the competitor simultaneously. Within each theme, problems are arranged in order of increasing difficulty. Problems are worth 5-9 points each, for a maximum score of 100 points for this round.

The team round consists of 20 short answer problems to be completed in 60 minutes. The problems are arranged in order of increasing difficulty, and the short answer problems are worth 10-30 points each, for a maximum of 400 points for each team on this round.

The guts round consists of 36 short answer problems given in twelve sets of three. Teams are given 75 minutes to solve as many problems as they can. The guts round is an exciting, fast-paced round in which teams solve problems as quickly as possible, then submit answers for real-time grading. When a team is ready to submit answers to a set of three problems, a 'runner' trades these answers for the next set of problems. Real-time scores of all teams will be displayed at the front of the auditorium. The problems are arranged in order of increasing difficulty, and the number of points per problem increases from 5 to 15 for later sets of problems, for a maximum of 300 points for each team on this round.

As of Fall of 2019, Scramble Round has been removed from the tournament.

Each individual’s score is the sum of their Individual and Theme Round scores, for a maximum of 200 points. The sweepstakes results are found by taking the top 4 individual scores from each team, and adding them to the team’s Team and Guts* Round scores, for a maximum of 1600 points for each team.

Computational aids, including but not limited to: calculators, calculator wrist watches, and computers are prohibited, as are drawing aids including but not limited to: rulers, compasses, and protractors on all parts of the competition. Communication of any form between students on the individual and theme rounds is strictly prohibited, and any student caught either giving or receiving an unfair advantage over other competitors will be disqualified. Communication between teams on the team, scramble, and guts round is similarly prohibited, and any teams caught either giving or receiving an unfair advantage over other competitors will also be disqualified. What constitutes cheating will be up to the final discretion of the head proctor.

*Guts will be multiplied by 4/3 to be out of 400 for sweepstakes.

Forms of Answers

On all short answer problems, there is no restriction on forms of answers so long as a final answer is exact and simplified. This means that approximate or rounded answers are not acceptable. What constitutes simplified is explained below:

  • All integers must be written out as integers in their full base 10 form, making answers such as 2^12 and 3.0 unacceptable.
  • All rational fractions must be reduced and written either as an improper fraction or a mixed number whose fractional part is less than 1.
  • All decimal answers must correctly use bar notation for repeating decimals.
  • All 'square root' symbols (radicals) must have only integers underneath, not fractions or decimals. The integers under 'square root' symbols cannot be divisible by the square of any prime (and similarly, integers under 'cube root' symbols cannot be divisible by the cube of any prime, etc.), and radicals cannot appear in the denominator of any fraction.
  • Approximations for π may not be used; any answer involving pi should be written using π, such as 2π or π√2/3.

The acceptability of an answer not described explicitly above is left to the discretion of the head grader.

Protests

An individual, theme, or team round problem may be protested before the guts round begins by giving a sheet of paper with a clearly written reason as to why the problem or answer is incorrect to a proctor. The validity of all protests is left to the discretion of the head grader, whose decision is final. Guts round problems may not be protested, and accordingly, extra care will be taken by the Problem Czar to ensure that there are no errors in the guts round.

Scoring and Prizes

Point values of problems are noted in the previous section. An individual's aggregate score is the sum of his or her scores on the individual round and theme round, for a maximum of 200 points. The top scorers in the individual and theme rounds will be recognized, and the top ten overall scorers will receive prizes.

The top three teams in the team and guts rounds will be recognized. In addition, the top five overall teams according to sweepstakes will be recognized. Note that prize distribution is subject to change and will be finalized closer to the day of the competition.

Tiebreakers

In general, ties will not be broken. In the case of a tie that affects the distribution of prizes, one party will receive the prize and the other will receive an equivalent prize by mail after the competition.