- Why are no calculators allowed?
This is a longer topic. The organizing committee DOES find calculators useful with teaching and doing mathematics. However, we also believe that improper use of calculators is largely responsible for a generation growing up with no or very little number sense. It is a pain to see a college student reach for the calculator to divide 24 by 2 (it happened to me). Our message with this policy is that calculators have a limited place in mathematics, and that does not include our contest.
On a more practical level, we cannot monitor all the calculators that would make cheating possible, for example some calculators can now communicate with each other.
- How is the exam scored?
A correct answer is worth 4 points, an incorrect one is -1 point. That way, the expected value is 0, and one is not awarded for blind guessing (neither is one punished though...). If one answer can be surely eliminated, guessing one of the other four possibilities is a good strategy.
- What do the teachers do while the students are taking the exam?
We will serve a continental breakfast and nice buffet lunch for the accompanying teachers in the Union building. We will also have interesting mathematical talks scheduled during the exam hours, discounts to activities around campus, and plenty of tables set up for chatting and relaxing. The teachers will be able to pick up the exam solution keys (after all tests have started) in order to review them and ask any questions. This should be an enjoyable and productive time for the teachers, as well as the students!
- Should I bring any money?
Lunch is provided for participants. However, there will be other activities on campus participants might want to pay for (bowling, pool, arcade, snacks, etc.).
- What else should I bring to the exam?
Each student should bring one or two pencils with him/her.
- Can you save on the registration fee by not eating lunch?
We know that the registration fee is a burden on every school's budget. Unfortunately, it is the only funding we have, and is necessary to run the competition. We are not able to give discounts, even if you decide not to eat lunch after the contest.
- I calculated my score (with the key posted online) and it doesn't match my published score. Why?
We use a machine to grade the student exams ("bubble" sheets). If you didn't erase a wrong answer sufficiently, the machine will think you answered the question with two choices, rather than one. In that case, you will get it wrong. Also, if you don't fill in the bubble completely, the machine will miss it. We do not hand grade any exam. As a student, you must take the time to fill in the bubbles completely and erase erroneous answers completely.
- Can I ask questions of the proctor during the exam?
No. To be fair to all students, we will not answer any questions during the exam.
- What should I do if I have a special need during the exam, e.g. I have to use the bathroom or I notice someone cheating?
Please walk up to the proctor quietly and explain your need or concern immediately. The proctor will be glad to help you.