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Difference between revisions of "MATHCOUNTS"

(State Competition)
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'''MATHCOUNTS''' is a large national [[mathematics competition]] and [[mathematics coaching]] program that has served millions of middle school students since 1984. Sponsored by the [[CNA Foundation]], [[National Society of Professional Engineers]], the [[National Council of Teachers of Mathematics]], and others, the focus of MATHCOUNTS is on [[mathematical problem solving]]. Students are eligible for up to three years, but cannot compete beyond their eighth grade year.
+
Many AoPS Community members and online school students have been participants at National MATHCOUNTS, including many Nationals Countdown Round participants in the past decade.  '''MATHCOUNTS''' is a large national [[mathematics competition]] and [[mathematics coaching]] program that has served millions of middle school students since 1984. Sponsored by the [http://cna.com CNA Foundation], [http://www.nspe.org/ National Society of Professional Engineers], the [http://www.nctm.org/ National Council of Teachers of Mathematics], and others including Art of Problem Solving, the focus of MATHCOUNTS is on mathematical problem solving. Students are eligible for up to three years, but cannot compete beyond their eighth grade year.
 +
 
 +
{{Contest Info|name=MATHCOUNTS|region=USA|type=Free Response|difficulty=0.5 - 2.5|breakdown=<u>Countdown</u>: 0.5 (School/Chapter), 1 (State/National)<br><u>Sprint</u>: 1-1.5 (School/Chapter), 2-2.5 (State/National)<br><u>Target:</u> 1.5 (School), 2 (Chapter), 2-2.5 (State/National)}}
 +
 
 +
== MATHCOUNTS Resources ==
 +
=== MATHCOUNTS Books ===
 +
Art of Problem Solving's [http://artofproblemsolving.com/store/list/aops-curriculum Introductory subject textbooks] are ideal for students preparing for MATHCOUNTS, as are [http://artofproblemsolving.com/store/item/aops-vol1 AoPS Volume 1] and [http://artofproblemsolving.com/store/item/competition-math Competition Math for Middle School]
 +
 
 +
=== MATHCOUNTS Classes ===
 +
Art of Problem Solving hosts a [http://artofproblemsolving.com/school/course/mathcounts-basics Basic] and an [http://artofproblemsolving.com/school/course/mathcounts-advanced Advanced] MATHCOUNTS course.  The AoPS Introduction-level subject courses also include a great deal of MATHCOUNTS preparation.  Many AoPS instructors are former National MATHCOUNTS Mathletes.
 +
 
 +
=== MATHCOUNTS Online ===
 +
* [http://www.mathcounts.org Official MATHCOUNTS Homepage]
 +
* Art of Problem Solving hosts a large [http://artofproblemsolving.com/community/c3_middle_school_math Middle School Math Forum] as well as a private [http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/Forum/viewtopic.php?t=23209 MATHCOUNTS Coaches Forum].
 +
* The AoPS MATHCOUNTS Trainer is available on the [http://artofproblemsolving.com/mathcounts_trainer AoPS website], as well as on the [https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mathcounts-trainer-math-contest/id1023961880?ls=1&mt=8 iPhone and iPad].
 +
* The free [http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/alcumus AoPS Alcumus learning system] includes thousands of MATHCOUNTS problems.
 +
* [http://artofproblemsolving.com/ftw/ftw.php For the Win!] gives students free Countdown Round-like practice against other AoPS students.
 +
* AoPS founder Richard Rusczyk has created dozens of [http://artofproblemsolving.com/videos/mathcounts MATHCOUNTS Mini video lessons].
 +
* [http://mathcounts.saab.org/ Elias Saab's MATHCOUNTS Preparation Homepage]
 +
* [http://www.unidata.ucar.edu/staff/russ/mathcounts/diaz.html The MATHCOUNTS Bible According to Mr. Diaz]
 +
*[http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/Resources/AoPS_R_A_MATHCOUNTS.php/ Building a Successful MATHCOUNTS Program] by [[Jeff Boyd]], who coached the 2005, 2007, and 2008 National Champion [[Texas MathCounts]] team.
 +
*[http://mathweb.scranton.edu/monks/courses/ProblemSolving/MathCountsPlaybookBW.pdf Coach Monk's MathCounts Playbook]
 +
* MathCounts Minis make hard problems easy
  
 
== MATHCOUNTS Curriculum ==
 
== MATHCOUNTS Curriculum ==
Line 6: Line 28:
 
Before 1990, MATHCOUNTS chose particular areas of mathematics to highlight each year before changing the focus of the competition more broadly to problem solving.
 
Before 1990, MATHCOUNTS chose particular areas of mathematics to highlight each year before changing the focus of the competition more broadly to problem solving.
  
Trigonometry, calculus and complex-valued functions may be utilized to achieve solutions although no problem would explicitly pertain to these notions, generally considered too advanced for middle schoolers.
+
== Past State Team Winners ==
 
+
* 1984: Virginia
==Past Winners==
+
* 1985: Florida
* 1984: Michael Edwards, Texas
+
* 1986: California
* 1985: Timothy Kokesh, Oklahoma
+
* 1987: New York
* 1986: Brian David Ewald, Florida
+
* 1988: New York
* 1987: Russell Mann, Tennessee
+
* 1989: North Carolina
* 1988: Andrew Schultz, Illinois
+
* 1990: Ohio
* 1989: Albert Kurz, Pennsylvania
+
* 1991: Alabama
* 1990: Brian Jenkins, Arkansas
+
* 1992: California
* 1991: Jonathan L. Weinstein, Massachusetts
+
* 1993: Kansas
* 1992: Andrei C. Gnepp, Ohio
+
* 1994: Pennsylvania
* 1993: Carleton Bosley, Kansas
+
* 1995: Indiana
* 1994: William O. Engel, Illinois
+
* 1996: Wisconsin
* 1995: Richard Reifsnyder, Kentucky
+
* 1997: Massachusetts
* 1996: Alexander Schwartz, Pennsylvania
+
* 1998: Wisconsin
* 1997: Zhihao Liu, Wisconsin
+
* 1999: Massachusetts
* 1998: Ricky Liu, Massachusetts
+
* 2000: California
* 1999: Po-Ru Loh, Wisconsin
+
* 2001: Virginia
* 2000: Ruozhou Jia, Illinois
+
* 2002: California
* 2001: Ryan Ko, New Jersey
+
* 2003: California
* 2002: Albert Ni, Illinois
+
* 2004: Illinois
* 2003: Adam Hesterberg, Washington
+
* 2005: Texas
* 2004: Gregory Gauthier, Illinois
+
* 2006: Virginia
* 2005: Neal Wu, Louisiana (Neal is a user on AoPS under the username [[User:nebula42|nebula42]])
+
* 2007: Texas
* 2006: Daesun Yim, New Jersey (Daesun is a user on AoPS under the usernames [[User:Treething|Treething]] and [[User:Lazarus|Lazarus]])
+
* 2008: Texas
* 2007: Kevin Chen, Texas (Kevin is a user on AoPS under the username [[User:binonunquineist|binonunquineist]])
+
* 2009: Texas
* 2008: Darryl Wu, Washington (youngest winner ever, at 11, as well as the first 6th grader to ever even make the National Countdown Round)
+
* 2010: California
* 2009: Bobby Shen, Texas (Bobby is a user on AoPS under the username [[User:stevenmeow|stevenmeow]])
+
* 2011: California
 +
* 2012: Massachusetts
 +
* 2013: Massachusetts
 +
* 2014: California
 +
* 2015: Indiana
 +
* 2016: Texas
 +
* 2017: Texas
 +
* 2018: Texas
 +
* 2019: Massachusetts
  
 
== MATHCOUNTS Competition Structure ==
 
== MATHCOUNTS Competition Structure ==
Line 40: Line 70:
 
=== Sprint Round ===
 
=== Sprint Round ===
  
30 problems in 40 minutes. This round is generally made up questions ranging from relatively easy to relatively difficult. Some of the difficult problems are only difficult because calculators are not allowed in this round.
+
30 problems are given all at once. Students have 40 minutes to complete the Sprint Round. This round is very fast-paced and requires speed and accuracy as well. The earlier problems are usually the easiest problems in the competition, and the later problems can be as hard as some of the Team Round questions. No calculators are allowed during this round.
  
 
=== Target Round ===
 
=== Target Round ===
8 problems given 2 at a time. Each set of two problems is given six minutes.  Students may not go back to previous rounds even if they finish before time is called. Students may use calculators.
+
8 problems given 2 at a time. Students have 6 minutes to complete each set of two problems.  Students may not go back to previous rounds (or forwards to future rounds) even if they finish before time is called. Calculators are allowed for the Target Round.  Usually comprised of one "confidence booster" and one hard problem.
  
 
=== Team Round ===
 
=== Team Round ===
Line 50: Line 80:
  
 
=== Countdown Round ===
 
=== Countdown Round ===
High scoring individuals compete head-to-head until a champion is crowned. People compete from off a screen taking 45 seconds or less to finish the problem. The Countdown round is run differently in various different chapter, state, and national competitions. In the national competitions, it is the round that determines the champion.
+
High scoring individuals compete head-to-head until a champion is crowned. People compete from off a screen taking 45 seconds or less to finish the problem. The Countdown round is run differently in various different chapter, state, and national competitions. In the national competitions, it is the round that determines the champion. Calculators are not allowed, but scratch paper will be provided.
  
 
=== Ciphering Round ===
 
In some states, (most notably Florida) there is an optional ciphering round. Very similar to countdown (in both difficulty and layout), a team sends up a representative to go against all representatives from the other teams. A problem is shown on a screen and students work fast to answer the problem. The students give their answer and after 45 seconds the answer is shown and the answers are checked to see if they are right. The fastest correct answer gets five points, the next fastest gets 4, etc. There are 4 questions per individual and teams send up 4 people. A perfect score is then 80. Often times the questions take clever reading skills. For example, one question was "How much dirt is in a 3 ft by 3 ft by 4 ft hole?" The answer was 0 because there is no dirt in a hole.
 
  
 
====Chapter and State Competitions====
 
====Chapter and State Competitions====
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*The winner of the second round goes up against the 7th place finisher.
 
*The winner of the second round goes up against the 7th place finisher.
  
This process is continued until the countdown round reaches the top four written competitors. Starting then, the first person to get three question correct wins (as opposed to the best-out-of-three rule).
+
This process is continued until the countdown round reaches the top four written competitors. Starting then, the first person to get three questions correct wins (as opposed to the best-out-of-three rule).
  
 
If the countdown round is unofficial, any format may be used.  Single-elimination bracket-style tournaments are common.
 
If the countdown round is unofficial, any format may be used.  Single-elimination bracket-style tournaments are common.
Line 72: Line 99:
 
====National Competition====
 
====National Competition====
  
At the national competition, there are some structural changes to the countdown round. The top 12 (not the top 10) written finishers make it to the countdown round, and the format is changed from a ladder competition to a single elimination tournament where the top four written competitors get a bye. This setup makes it far more likely for a 12th place finisher to become champion, and it makes it less likely for a first place written finisher to become champion, equalizing the field.
+
At the national competition, there are some structural changes to the countdown round. The top 12 (not the top 10) written finishers make it to the countdown round, and the format is changed from a ladder competition to a single elimination tournament where the top four written competitors get a bye. This setup makes it far more likely for a 12th place finisher to become champion, and it makes it less likely for a first place written finisher to become champion, equalizing the field. But even then, a 12th place written competitor will have less of a chance to become champion than the top 4, because the top 4 get a bye. Until the semi-finals, the scoring is best out of five advances.
  
At the first round and the second round, the first person to correctly answer three questions wins. However, at the semifinals, the rules slightly change&mdash;the first person to correctly answer four questions wins.
+
At the first round and the second round, the person to correctly answer the most out of 5 questions wins. However, at the semifinals, the rules slightly change&mdash;the first person to correctly answer four questions wins.
 +
 
 +
=== Ciphering Round ===
 +
In some states, (most notably Florida) there is an optional ciphering round. Very similar to countdown (in both difficulty and layout), a team sends up a representative to go against all representatives from the other teams. A problem is shown on a screen and students work fast to answer the problem. The students give their answer and after 45 seconds the answer is shown and the answers are checked to see if they are right. The fastest correct answer gets five points, the next fastest gets 4, etc. There are 4 questions per individual and teams send up 4 people. A perfect score is then 80. Often times the questions take clever reading skills. For example, one question was "How much dirt is in a 3 ft by 3 ft by 4 ft hole?" The answer was 0 because there is no dirt in a hole.
  
 
=== Masters Round ===
 
=== Masters Round ===
Top students give in-depth explanations to challenging problems. This round is optional at the state level competition and is mandatory at the national competition. At nationals the top two on the written and countdown participate.
+
Top students give in-depth explanations to challenging problems. This round was optional at the state level competition and mandatory at the national competition (up to 2011). At nationals the top two on the written and countdown participate.
 +
In 2012, it was replaced by the Reel Math Challenge (now called the Math Video Challenge).
  
 
=== Scoring and Ranking ===
 
=== Scoring and Ranking ===
An individual's score is their total number of correct sprint round answers plus 2 times their total number of correct target round answers.  This total is out of a maximum of 30 + 2(8) = 46 points.
+
An individual's score is their total number of correct sprint round answers plus 2 times their total number of correct target round answers.  This total is out of a maximum of <math>30 + 2(8) = 46</math> points.
  
A team's score is the average of the individual scores of its four members plus 2 points for every correct team round answer, making a team's maximum possible score 66 points. Therefore, it is possible to win with a relatively low team score and a phenomenal individual score, as the team score is only roughly 30% of the total team score.
+
A team's score is the individual scores of its members divided by 4 plus 2 points for every correct team round answer, making a team's maximum possible score 66 points. Therefore, it is possible to win with a relatively low team score and a phenomenal individual score, as the team score is only roughly 30% of the total team score. Note that when there are less than four members the score will become less.
  
 
== MATHCOUNTS Competition Levels ==
 
== MATHCOUNTS Competition Levels ==
 
=== School Competition ===
 
=== School Competition ===
Students vie for the chance to make their school teams.  Problems at this level require the least depth of curriculum.
+
Students vie for the chance to make their school teams.  Problems at this level are generally the easiest and most basic in curriculum.
  
 
=== Chapter Competition ===
 
=== Chapter Competition ===
Chapter competitions serve as a selection filter for state competitions.  A few states don't need to host chapter competitions due to a small population size. In California, this is the most difficult round. Questions are relatively easy compared to the National Competition.
+
Chapter competitions serve as a selection filter for state competitions.  A few states don't need to host chapter competitions due to a small population size.
  
 
=== State Competition ===
 
=== State Competition ===
The top 4 students in each state form the state team for the national competition.  The coach of the top school team at the state level is invited to coach the state team at the national competition. Interestingly, the coach of a state team is not necessarily the coach of any of the state's team members.  At this level, the questions are getting significantly harder, and it is rare for a lot of kids to score above 30/46.
+
The top 4 students in each state form the state team for the national competition.  The coach of the top school team at the state level is invited to coach the state team at the national competition. Interestingly, the coach of a state team is not necessarily the coach of any of the state's team members.
  
 
=== National Competition ===
 
=== National Competition ===
==== Nation Competition Sites ====
+
==== National Competition Sites ====
 
For many years, the National MATHCOUNTS competition was held in Washington, D.C.  More recently, the competition has changed venues often.
 
For many years, the National MATHCOUNTS competition was held in Washington, D.C.  More recently, the competition has changed venues often.
  
* The 2009 competition was held in Orlando, Florida.
+
* The 2020 competition was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but was due to be held in Orlando, Florida.
 +
* The 2019 competition was held in Orlando, Florida.
 +
* The 2018 competition was held in Washington, D.C.
 +
* The 2017 competition was held in Orlando, Florida.
 +
* The 2016 competition was held in Washington, D.C.
 +
* The 2015 competition was held in Boston, Massachusetts.
 +
* The 2014 competition was held in Orlando, Florida.
 +
* The 2013 competition was held in Washington, D.C.
 +
* The 2012 competition was held in Orlando, Florida.
 +
* The 2011 competition was held in Washington, D.C.
 +
* The 2009 and 2010 competitions were held in Orlando, Florida.
 
* The 2008 competition was held in Denver, Colorado.
 
* The 2008 competition was held in Denver, Colorado.
 
* The 2007 competition was held in Fort Worth, Texas.
 
* The 2007 competition was held in Fort Worth, Texas.
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* The 2004 competition was held in Washington, D.C.
 
* The 2004 competition was held in Washington, D.C.
 
* The 2002 and 2003 competitions were held in Chicago, Illinois.
 
* The 2002 and 2003 competitions were held in Chicago, Illinois.
 
==== Rewards ====
 
 
Every competitor at the national competition receives a graphing calculator that varies by year - for example, in 2006 it was a TI-84 Plus Silver Edition with the MATHCOUNTS logo on the back. In 2007, MATHCOUNTS took the logo off. In 2008 and 2009, they gave TI-<math>n</math>spires to everyone. They also give out a laptop and an 8000 dollar scholarship to the winner.
 
 
== MATHCOUNTS Resources ==
 
=== MATHCOUNTS Books ===
 
* [http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/Books/AoPS_B_CP_MC.php MATHCOUNTS books] at the [http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/Books/AoPS_B_About.php AoPS Bookstore]
 
* [[Art of Problem Solving]]'s [http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/Books/AoPS_B_Rec_Middle.php Introductory subject textbooks] are ideal for students preparing for MATHCOUNTS.
 
 
=== MATHCOUNTS Classes ===
 
* [[Art of Problem Solving]] hosts [http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/Classes/AoPS_C_ClassesP.php#mc MATHCOUNTS preparation classes].
 
* [[Art of Problem Solving]] hosts many free MATHCOUNTS [[Math Jams]].  [http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/Community/AoPS_Y_Math_Jams.php Math Jam Schedule].  [http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/Community/AoPS_Y_MJ_Transcripts.php Math Jam Transcript Archive].
 
 
=== MATHCOUNTS Online ===
 
* [http://www.mathcounts.org MATHCOUNTS Homepage]
 
* [[Art of Problem Solving]] hosts a large [http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/Forum/index.php?f=132 MATHCOUNTS Forum] as well as a private [http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/Forum/viewtopic.php?t=23209 MATHCOUNTS Coaches Forum].
 
* [http://mathcounts.saab.org/ Elias Saab's MATHCOUNTS Preparation Homepage]
 
* [http://www.unidata.ucar.edu/staff/russ/mathcounts/diaz.html The MATHCOUNTS Bible According to Mr. Diaz]
 
*[http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/Resources/AoPS_R_A_MATHCOUNTS.php/ Building a Successful MATHCOUNTS Program] by [[Jeff Boyd]], who coached the 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009 National Champion [[Texas MathCounts]] teams.
 
  
 
== What comes after MATHCOUNTS? ==
 
== What comes after MATHCOUNTS? ==
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[[Category:Mathematics competitions]]
 
[[Category:Mathematics competitions]]
  
== See also ==
+
== See also... ==
 
* [[List of national MATHCOUNTS teams]]
 
* [[List of national MATHCOUNTS teams]]
* [[MATHCOUNTS historical results]]
 
 
* [[Mathematics competition resources]]
 
* [[Mathematics competition resources]]
 
* [[Math contest books]]
 
* [[Math contest books]]
Line 145: Line 165:
 
* [[List of United States high school mathematics competitions]]
 
* [[List of United States high school mathematics competitions]]
 
* [http://www.mathcounts.org/webarticles/anmviewer.asp?a=921&z=71 2006 MATHCOUNTS Countdown Video]
 
* [http://www.mathcounts.org/webarticles/anmviewer.asp?a=921&z=71 2006 MATHCOUNTS Countdown Video]
 +
 +
[[Category:Introductory mathematics competitions]]

Latest revision as of 17:34, 16 October 2020

Many AoPS Community members and online school students have been participants at National MATHCOUNTS, including many Nationals Countdown Round participants in the past decade. MATHCOUNTS is a large national mathematics competition and mathematics coaching program that has served millions of middle school students since 1984. Sponsored by the CNA Foundation, National Society of Professional Engineers, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and others including Art of Problem Solving, the focus of MATHCOUNTS is on mathematical problem solving. Students are eligible for up to three years, but cannot compete beyond their eighth grade year.

MATHCOUNTS
Region: USA
Type: Free Response
Difficulty: 0.5 - 2.5
Difficulty Breakdown:

Countdown: 0.5 (School/Chapter), 1 (State/National)
Sprint: 1-1.5 (School/Chapter), 2-2.5 (State/National)
Target: 1.5 (School), 2 (Chapter), 2-2.5 (State/National)

MATHCOUNTS Resources

MATHCOUNTS Books

Art of Problem Solving's Introductory subject textbooks are ideal for students preparing for MATHCOUNTS, as are AoPS Volume 1 and Competition Math for Middle School

MATHCOUNTS Classes

Art of Problem Solving hosts a Basic and an Advanced MATHCOUNTS course. The AoPS Introduction-level subject courses also include a great deal of MATHCOUNTS preparation. Many AoPS instructors are former National MATHCOUNTS Mathletes.

MATHCOUNTS Online

MATHCOUNTS Curriculum

MATHCOUNTS curriculum includes arithmetic, algebra, counting, geometry, number theory, probability, and statistics. The focus of MATHCOUNTS curriculum is in developing mathematical problem solving skills.

Before 1990, MATHCOUNTS chose particular areas of mathematics to highlight each year before changing the focus of the competition more broadly to problem solving.

Past State Team Winners

  • 1984: Virginia
  • 1985: Florida
  • 1986: California
  • 1987: New York
  • 1988: New York
  • 1989: North Carolina
  • 1990: Ohio
  • 1991: Alabama
  • 1992: California
  • 1993: Kansas
  • 1994: Pennsylvania
  • 1995: Indiana
  • 1996: Wisconsin
  • 1997: Massachusetts
  • 1998: Wisconsin
  • 1999: Massachusetts
  • 2000: California
  • 2001: Virginia
  • 2002: California
  • 2003: California
  • 2004: Illinois
  • 2005: Texas
  • 2006: Virginia
  • 2007: Texas
  • 2008: Texas
  • 2009: Texas
  • 2010: California
  • 2011: California
  • 2012: Massachusetts
  • 2013: Massachusetts
  • 2014: California
  • 2015: Indiana
  • 2016: Texas
  • 2017: Texas
  • 2018: Texas
  • 2019: Massachusetts

MATHCOUNTS Competition Structure

Sprint Round

30 problems are given all at once. Students have 40 minutes to complete the Sprint Round. This round is very fast-paced and requires speed and accuracy as well. The earlier problems are usually the easiest problems in the competition, and the later problems can be as hard as some of the Team Round questions. No calculators are allowed during this round.

Target Round

8 problems given 2 at a time. Students have 6 minutes to complete each set of two problems. Students may not go back to previous rounds (or forwards to future rounds) even if they finish before time is called. Calculators are allowed for the Target Round. Usually comprised of one "confidence booster" and one hard problem.

Team Round

10 problems in 20 minutes for a team of 4 students. These problems typically include some of the most difficult problems of the competition. Use of a calculator is allowed (and required for some questions).

Countdown Round

High scoring individuals compete head-to-head until a champion is crowned. People compete from off a screen taking 45 seconds or less to finish the problem. The Countdown round is run differently in various different chapter, state, and national competitions. In the national competitions, it is the round that determines the champion. Calculators are not allowed, but scratch paper will be provided.


Chapter and State Competitions

In the chapter and state competitions, the countdown round is not mandatory. However, if it is deemed official by the chapter or state, the following format must be used:

  • The 10th place written finisher competes against the 9th place written finisher. A problem is displayed, and both competitors have 45 seconds to answer the question, and the first competitor to correctly answer the question receives one point. The person who gets the most correct out of three questions (not necessarily two out of three) is the winner.
  • The winner of the first round goes up against the 8th place finisher.
  • The winner of the second round goes up against the 7th place finisher.

This process is continued until the countdown round reaches the top four written competitors. Starting then, the first person to get three questions correct wins (as opposed to the best-out-of-three rule).

If the countdown round is unofficial, any format may be used. Single-elimination bracket-style tournaments are common.

National Competition

At the national competition, there are some structural changes to the countdown round. The top 12 (not the top 10) written finishers make it to the countdown round, and the format is changed from a ladder competition to a single elimination tournament where the top four written competitors get a bye. This setup makes it far more likely for a 12th place finisher to become champion, and it makes it less likely for a first place written finisher to become champion, equalizing the field. But even then, a 12th place written competitor will have less of a chance to become champion than the top 4, because the top 4 get a bye. Until the semi-finals, the scoring is best out of five advances.

At the first round and the second round, the person to correctly answer the most out of 5 questions wins. However, at the semifinals, the rules slightly change—the first person to correctly answer four questions wins.

Ciphering Round

In some states, (most notably Florida) there is an optional ciphering round. Very similar to countdown (in both difficulty and layout), a team sends up a representative to go against all representatives from the other teams. A problem is shown on a screen and students work fast to answer the problem. The students give their answer and after 45 seconds the answer is shown and the answers are checked to see if they are right. The fastest correct answer gets five points, the next fastest gets 4, etc. There are 4 questions per individual and teams send up 4 people. A perfect score is then 80. Often times the questions take clever reading skills. For example, one question was "How much dirt is in a 3 ft by 3 ft by 4 ft hole?" The answer was 0 because there is no dirt in a hole.

Masters Round

Top students give in-depth explanations to challenging problems. This round was optional at the state level competition and mandatory at the national competition (up to 2011). At nationals the top two on the written and countdown participate. In 2012, it was replaced by the Reel Math Challenge (now called the Math Video Challenge).

Scoring and Ranking

An individual's score is their total number of correct sprint round answers plus 2 times their total number of correct target round answers. This total is out of a maximum of $30 + 2(8) = 46$ points.

A team's score is the individual scores of its members divided by 4 plus 2 points for every correct team round answer, making a team's maximum possible score 66 points. Therefore, it is possible to win with a relatively low team score and a phenomenal individual score, as the team score is only roughly 30% of the total team score. Note that when there are less than four members the score will become less.

MATHCOUNTS Competition Levels

School Competition

Students vie for the chance to make their school teams. Problems at this level are generally the easiest and most basic in curriculum.

Chapter Competition

Chapter competitions serve as a selection filter for state competitions. A few states don't need to host chapter competitions due to a small population size.

State Competition

The top 4 students in each state form the state team for the national competition. The coach of the top school team at the state level is invited to coach the state team at the national competition. Interestingly, the coach of a state team is not necessarily the coach of any of the state's team members.

National Competition

National Competition Sites

For many years, the National MATHCOUNTS competition was held in Washington, D.C. More recently, the competition has changed venues often.

  • The 2020 competition was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but was due to be held in Orlando, Florida.
  • The 2019 competition was held in Orlando, Florida.
  • The 2018 competition was held in Washington, D.C.
  • The 2017 competition was held in Orlando, Florida.
  • The 2016 competition was held in Washington, D.C.
  • The 2015 competition was held in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • The 2014 competition was held in Orlando, Florida.
  • The 2013 competition was held in Washington, D.C.
  • The 2012 competition was held in Orlando, Florida.
  • The 2011 competition was held in Washington, D.C.
  • The 2009 and 2010 competitions were held in Orlando, Florida.
  • The 2008 competition was held in Denver, Colorado.
  • The 2007 competition was held in Fort Worth, Texas.
  • The 2006 competition was held in Arlington, Virginia.
  • The 2005 competition was held in Detroit, Michigan.
  • The 2004 competition was held in Washington, D.C.
  • The 2002 and 2003 competitions were held in Chicago, Illinois.

What comes after MATHCOUNTS?

Give the following competitions a try and take a look at the List of United States high school mathematics competitions.

See also...

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