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Short-Answer Challenge Problems

The short-answer problems are available on the Homework tab of your Course Homepage. You'll enter your "short" answers directly into the course homepage in the indicated answer box, then select "Submit."

Problems are graded instantly, and you may continue to attempt a problem if you do not answer correctly on the first try. If you do not choose to "Give Up" on a problem, you can work on it for as long as you want.

After solving correctly or giving up, you'll be shown the correct answer and a solution. Whether or not you've answered a problem correctly, be sure to read the solutions! If you didn't answer it correctly, read about how you could have solved the problem. If you did answer correctly, read it over to check for understanding. Also, you might learn something, such as a method to solve the problem more effectively. Also, the solutions provided are great examples of well-written solutions, which can be useful to refer to when you're are asked to write up your own.

Challenge Problems become available 8 days before the related class, and the due date for each week's assignments is 8 days after the class. Short-answer challenge problems can be solved at any point after they are available. However, we encourage you to keep up with the due date schedule as much as possible so that you do not fall behind the class!

Scoring

Short-Answer Problems are determined as follows. The height and color of your Report bars do not depend only on the scores below. The bars care more about whether you get the problem right at all than how many tries it took.

Note that in the AMC 10, AMC 12, and AIME do not allow multiple tries for a problem. The scoring in these contest preparation classes is designed to mimic the scoring on the specified contest.

Course Correct on
first try
Correct on
second try
Correct on
third try
Correct after
third try
Give Up
Subject Courses 75310
MATHCOUNTS/AMC 8 Basics or Advanced 75310
AMC 10 or 12 Problem Series 60001.5
AIME Problem Series, A or B 10000

Colors

For courses where multiple attempts at a problem are allowed, the color of the heading that contains "Problem X" is designed to give you information about how you did on each short-answer problem:

Light Green: In progress.
Blue: Answered correctly on your first attempt!
Medium Green: Answered correctly after your first attempt.
Orange: Gave up after one or more attempt.
Red: Gave up without attempting.

Formatting Tips

Entering answers that aren't numbers can sometimes be tricky. Computers aren't always as good as people are at reading answers written in a format they do not expect. Sometimes, the problem statement will include instructions for how to enter your answer. ("Enter all possible values of x, separated by commas.") Sometimes, you'll be given a link to formatting tips on how to enter a particular answer. Most of those tips come from the list given below. The formatting tip you're given for a problem may or may not be relevant to the answer that you're trying to enter—we don't want to spoil that your answer should be a fraction or square root!

Here are some general tips for answering short-answer Challenge Problems:

  • Do not include units of measurement or dollar signs in your answers.
  • Express probabilities, decimal values, and ratios as simplified common fractions unless told otherwise.
  • Enter variable values without including the variable and an equals sign. For example, enter
    4
    and not
    x=4
    .
  • Enter fractions with x as the numerator and y as the denominator either as
    x/y
    or with the LaTeX code
    \frac{x}{y}
    . For example, enter the fraction "three fourths" as
    3/4
    or
    \frac{3}{4}
    .
  • Enter mixed numbers only when the problem says so. Mixed numbers with z as the whole number, x as the numerator, and y as the denominator should be entered as
    z x/y
    . For example, enter "one and two thirds" as
    1 2/3
    .
  • Enter "the square root of x" as
    \sqrt{x}
    .
  • Enter powers with x as the base and y as the exponent as
    x^y
    . For example, enter "n to the 7th power" as
    n^7
    .
    Make sure to include any necessary grouping symbols. For example,
    (3x+2)^2
    is different from
    3x+2^2
    .
  • Enter coordinate pairs as
    (x,y)
    . For example, enter the pair "x=2 and y=8" as
    (2,8)
    .
  • Write coefficients of variables and square roots without the multiplication sign. For example, enter
    3x
    instead of
    3*x
    and
    4\sqrt{y}
    instead of
    4*\sqrt{y}
    . The only exception is when you are asked to entering scientific notation, such as
    4.01*10^21
    .
  • Enter polynomials in decreasing degree order. For example, enter
    x^2+3x+2
    instead of
    3x+2+x^2
    .
  • Enter expressions in alphabetical order when using multiple variables. For example, enter
    x^3yz^2
    instead of
    z^2yx^3
    .
  • Enter the pi symbol as
    pi
    . Do not copy-paste the symbol from another program—the computer won't be able to read it!
  • For problems dealing with interval notation, carefully follow the instructions given by the problem.
  • Only round if the problem asks you to round, and only do so at the end of the calculation process.

Hints

Some problems offer hints, but no hints will be offered on short-answer problems until you have attempted the problem at least once. You might be given specialized hints if your answer indicates a common misconception.