TMTA High School Mathematics Contest

History and Purpose of Contests

Prior to 1957 several independent (and limited) contests in high school mathematics were held in various localities in Tennessee. The Tennessee Mathematics Teachers’ Association effected a merger of these contests in 1957 and began to sponsor a contest open to all public, private, and parochial high schools in Tennessee. This association is happy to conduct a statewide contest each year as one of its major projects.

The major purposes of the contest are (1) to stimulate interest in mathematics by encouraging more students to include mathematics in their programs of study and, thereby, to raise the level of mathematics competence in Tennessee; and (2) to honor those students who are outstanding in their knowledge of mathematics through appropriate public recognition in their schools and their communities.

The contest is conducted as an academic festival where students represent their school in competition with others at a nearby Testing Center. These specially selected school representatives compete with others for preeminence in their region and in the state.


  • Algebra I
  • Geometry
  • Algebra II
  • Statistics
  • Precalculus
  • Calculus and Advanced Topics

Each student must take the exam corresponding to the class they are enrolled in at the time of the contest (or most recently enrolled in), except that Calculus and Advanced Topics may be taken more than once.

Format and Rules

Each exam lasts 80 minutes and consists of 40 multiple choice questions. Right answers gain 4 points, blank answers score 0 points, and wrong answers lose 1 point. Thus, completely random guessing cannot be expected to affect one's score, but educated guessing (if one or more responses can be ruled out quickly) can be expected to be beneficial.

Calculators without symbolic manipulation are allowed on all six contest exams. On Statistics, Precalculus, and Calculus and Advanced Topics, some questions are meant to be "calculator-active", while others are "calculator-neutral." On the other three exams, all questions are meant to be calculator-neutral; a student who works well without a calculator may not need one, while another student who is accustomed to working with one will probably do better with one. Calculators will not be furnished at testing centers, and students' calculators may be checked before the exams.


Students will do well on the exams by studying hard in their respective classes and by taking exams in previous years.


See Also (includes past problems)