North American Math Competitions Part 3

October 28, 2020 35academy.com


Welcome to the third post in our North American Math Competitions! Our first 2 posts were about the AMC and AIME series in the United States and the CEMC and COMC competitions in Canada. Now, we'll discuss the Harvard-MIT Mathematics Tournament (HMMT), Stanford Mathematics Tournament (SMT), and Princeton University Mathematics Competition (PUMaC). Onto the blog!


*Note: Significance/difficulty rankings are out of 5, where 5 is the most weighted/difficult.


5. Harvard-MIT Mathematics Tournament (HMMT)


Significance: 5/5

Difficulty: November test is AMC-AIME level, while the February test is AIME-USAMO level

Prerequisites: None

Test dates: November and February

Who can participate: Either high school or middle school students


The Harvard-MIT Mathematics Tournament (HMMT) is a student-run annual math competition hosted at MIT and Harvard in alternating years. There are two competitions every year in November and February. Normally, you can only participate in one competition, but since HMMT will be virtual in 2020, there is a chance you will be admitted to both competitions. Furthermore, in 2020, all teams registered for the November tournament can participate, so enjoy yourselves!


November test questions range from mid-AMC to upper-AIME level, while February questions range from mid-AIME to USAMO difficulty. Unlike the AMC and AIME series, though, the HMMT is a team competition, so text your friends now! However, team members must either live within 150 miles of each other or live in the same region (this rule is waived in 2020). International students are also welcome to participate (yay France!). Teams participating in the November competitions must have 4-6 members, while teams participating in the February competitions must have 6-8 members (again, waived).


There are 3 main sections in both tournaments: an Individual test, Team round, and Guts round. The November Individual test has 2 sections, General and Themed, while the February test has 3 sections, Algebra and number theory, geometry, and combinatorics. Each individual test round consists of 10 short-answer questions and lasts 50 minutes. The team round also has 10 questions but lasts 60 minutes and all team members are working together in November, but is proof-based in February. Finally, the iconic guts round has 36 questions and lasts 80 minutes, and divided into sets of 3 in November, while the February tournament has 4 sets. Teams gather into lecture halls, and send a runner to retrieve problem sets from a designated station, then return their answers to grab the next problem set.


Here's a little extra spice to encourage you: the top 50 scorers from the February competition are invited to compete in the HMMT Invitational Competition, just like AIME. The HMMT Invitational is 4 hours long and has 5 USAMO/IMO style questions, requiring complete proofs.


Now, getting a good score or high ranking in this competition is not insignificant, not at all. Especially since it's hosted by the Harvard University and the MIT, this competition carries extra weight. It is very plausible that your college resume will receive quite a couple looks - and some acceptance letters!



6. Stanford Math Tournament (SMT)


Significance: 5/5

Difficulty: 4

Prerequisites: None

Test dates: February

Who can participate: High school teams in the San Francisco Bay Area


Similar to the HMMT, the Stanford Math Tournament (SMT) is a math competition held at a top school: Stanford University. This annual, student-run event occurs every February and is organized by SUMO, the Stanford University Mathematical Organization.


The SMT is a team competition and each team can have from 1 to 8 students, although having less members puts you at a disadvantage. Team members must all attend the same high school in the San Fransisco Bay area, but established math institutions (e.g. A-Star and Euler Circle) are not required to have students all from one school. Lucky...


There are 3 main portions in the tournament: the Team Portion, Power Portion, and Individual Portion. The Team Test is 50 minutes long and contains 15 short answer questions, while the Power Round is 90 minutes long and proof-orientated. Both are completed as a team (woah didn't see that coming). On the other hand, the Individual Portion has 3 tests: the two Subject tests, or the longer General test. The Subject tests are 50 minutes long and have 10 short answer questions, challenging students' Advanced Topics (probability, number theory, and combinatorics), Algebra, Calculus, and Geometry skills. The General Test, however, is 110 minutes long and made for students without much of a mathematical background, containing 25 short answer questions. You must choose between the 2 Subject Tests or the General tests. Choose wisely for the fate of the world rests on your shoulders.


7. Princeton University Mathematics Competition (PUMaC)


Significance: 4/5

Difficulty: 4

Prerequisites: None

Test dates: Usually November, but will be pushed back to spring 2021 due to COVID

Who can participate: Teams of 8, younger than 20 years old


Hosted by the Princeton University in New Jersey, the Princeton University Mathematics Competition, or PUMaC, is an annual math competition usually in November (due to COVID-19, the 2020 competition will occur during spring). Every team must have 8 members (or else...) and individuals can sign up to be placed into a team. You also have to be under 20 years old, and must not have enrolled in a full-time college.


There are 2 divisions within PUMaC: Division A, for more experienced students, and Division B for newcomers. Within each division, there are 2 competitions: The Main Competition (Power Round, Individual Tests, Team Round, Live Round, and Individual Finals), and the Power Competition (only the Power Round). Afterwords, there are optional mini-events, including Math Bowl, Puzzle Hunt, Rubik's Cube Competition, and Chess and Board Games. You may only compete in either the Main Competition or in the Power Competition.


As an individual, you must complete 2 out of 4 individual tests of your choice (i.e. algebra, combinatorics, geometry, and number theory). Each test is 60 minutes long and the top 10 scorers in each division advanced to the Finals round, which consists of 4 problem and lasts 1 hour. The Team Test usually lasts 30 minutes long, in which all of the members in a team are allowed to work together to solve a problem. During the Power Round, teams are given 1 week to complete a full proof and must submit their solutions on the day of the event. Finally, the Live Round is also a team event where the scoring is live.


While you are not guaranteed a spot at the Princeton University, or even a spot on the waitlist, the admissions office does recognize the difficulty of PUMaC. So do it anyways!



That marks the end of today's math competitions. Click here to read the first post or click here to read the second post. We're not finished with you yet, so keep an ear open!


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