Math Contests

MathLeague contests involve three individual tests (Number Sense, Sprint, and Target), and one team test for teams of one to four competitors by school. Schools may host multiple teams.

Number Sense

MathLeague Number Sense tests are “mental math” challenges where students solve 80 progressively harder math questions in ten minutes, doing the math in your head and writing only the answers. As MathLeague writes, “The philosophy behind Number Sense is that students should learn how to do mental math quickly and accurately:

  • Because of the emphasis on mental math, no calculators or scratch paper are allowed. Scratchwork on the test is highly discouraged because successful Number Sense students often find that it is faster to do all calculations in their head. In addition, students in Texas should note that when they move to middle school and high school, the rules regarding scratchwork are MUCH stricter, so it’s in their best interest not to develop a habit of working their answers out on the test that could harm them later.
  • Because of the emphasis on speed, students are given only 10 minutes to complete as many of the 80 problems as they can.
  • Because of the emphasis on accuracy, answers must be completely legible, exactly correct, entirely numerical, fully computed, and in simplest form. If the form of an answer is specified in the problem, the answer must adhere to that form.
  • Read more at Details on the Number Sense Test

Number Sense tests are scored sequentially for as many questions are attempted. Five points are awarded for each correct answer and four points are subtracted for each incorrect answer or skipped question. Scoring stops at the last question attempted.

Sprint

MathLeague Sprint test involves 30 multiple choice story questions in 40 minutes. Four points are awarded for each correct answer and one point is subtracted for each incorrect answer, with no penalty for skipped questions.

Target

MathLeague Target test involves four pairs of story questions, each pair is given six minutes. A SAT-approved calculator is allowed. Ten points are awarded for each correct answer, with no penalty for skipped or incorrect answers.

Team

MathLeague Team test involves ten questions in 20 minutes. Teams, of one to four competitors, are formed by school. SAT-approved calculators are allowed. Ten points are awarded for each correct answer, with no penalty for skipped or incorrect answers.

Practice Recommendations

We can help you prepare individually, as teams, or as a school. Art of Doing Math offers free practice recommendations, practice tests, and drill sheets, and free 100% live online practice via GoToMeeting.

  • School. Schools can organize students to complete at MathLeague contests. This entails the school registering with MathLeague and then either registering students as a group or each student and parent registers individually. We are happy to help coaches organize and engage students in practice to prepare for math contests.
  • Teams. Each school can field multiple teams of up to four students each, typically by grade.
  • Individuals. Students sign up via their school or individually.

Please email us to discuss how to start a team, organize, and practice. We are happy to help and have lots of free resources to share. Email us at support@artofdoingmath.org.

FAQ

Here are answers to questions we’ve received. If you have a question not asked and answered, please email us at Support@ArtOfDoingMath.org.

  • Who Can Sign Up? Any 2nd through 6th grade student is eligible to complete in MathLeague’s Elementary School Contest. Second graders will compete with 3rd grade students.
  • Can I sign up and compete if it is first time and I haven’t been on any math teams or clubs all school year? Yes, of course you can! This is a contest to show off your math skills. Practice helps but math-smart students can always jump in and win.
  • What if I cannot do all of the math? Few students can. Test questions go from simple to hard. Do your best. This is your chance to demonstrate your math smarts. Your performance is compared to other students in the same grade. It is fully expected that most 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders, for example, will not know the math that 5th and 6th graders know.
  • I have a busy schedule, do I need to spend lots of time practicing? Any practice helps. Some students compete without practice and do well, others spend more time. Your chance of success depends on your math knowledge, skills, and proficiency. Your Registration Packet will include practice materials and practice recommendations. Your choice to spend little, some, or a lot of time to prepare.
  • Can someone help me? Yes! We have several live online practice opportunities using GoToMeeting each week. Join any or all if they fit in your schedule.
  • How long is the contest? Monthly contests span about four hours from check-in, start, contest, awards, and out the door to go home.
  • How are school scores created?
    A school’s overall score (the “sweepstakes” score) is obtained by adding the top 4 individual point totals from the school, dividing by 4, and adding the school’s top score on the team test. A maximum team total would be 400 points (300 points if the school had four members with perfect individual scores, 100 for the team test). Ties are broken by comparing team test scores (weighted by item analysis). (Source: MathLeague)
  • How are team test results scored?
    We use the overall scores of all competing teams to determine team winners. We do not use the Division and Grade scoring for the Team Round as there are a number of issues with it, plus teams often have students from different grades. If we had sufficient competitors and could field grade specific and even division specific teams, we could score that by division and grade.
  • How are individual scores created?
    An individual’s overall score is obtained by adding the student’s target and sprint round scores to 1/4 of the number sense score, with negative number sense scores treated as zeros. A maximum individual total would be 300 points (80 for target, 120 for sprint, 100 for 1/4 of number sense). Ties are broken by comparing students’ sprint scores, then by comparing target scores (weighted by item analysis). (Source: MathLeague)
  • When do you report contest results?
    Ideally we report final contest results in an award ceremony at the end of the contest.
  • Who qualifies for MathLeague’s Nevada State Championship?
    We report if students qualify for MathLeague’s Nevada State Championship on our Results page. To qualify, the competitor must meet one of the following: (1) Earns at least 50% of the available points on any of the individual tests or the individual total score, (2) Scores strictly higher than 80% of the participants in his or her grade at that contest on any of the individual tests or the individual total score, or (3) Participates on a team that scores either at least 50% of the available points or strictly higher than 80% of the teams in the school’s division at that contest on the team test. (Source: MathLeague)
  • Who qualifies for the (INTER)2 SECT National Math Championship?
    We report if students qualify for the (INTER)2 SECT National Math Championship on our Results page. To qualify, the competitor must meet one of the following: (1) Earns at least 50% of the available points on either the Sprint or Target round. (2) Scores strictly higher than 80% of the participants in his or her grade at that contest on either the Sprint or Target round or the overall individual point total (sum of the Sprint and twice the Target round scores). (3) Participates on a team that scores either at least 50% of the available points or strictly higher than 80% of the teams at that contest on the Team test.. (Source: (INTER)2 SECT)
  • But this does not sound like as much fun as soccer and basketball or Fortnite? Sure it is! There are lots of academic “sports”, math is just one. Others are science, robotics, spelling bees, and much more.
  • What if I do not like it? Not everyone likes it, but at least you can say you gave it a good try. And you never know, maybe you will be like thousands of other students around the country that love math competition.
  • Do you host MathLeague’s high school contests?
    MathLeague’s October 2018 high school contest had only 7 competitors and last spring’s March 2018 contest had only 5 high school competitors. This not enough to be viable in the 2018-2019 season. We concurred with MathLeague’s recommendation to not do high school contests season. We do hope to add the high school contests to our 2019-2020 season next fall.
  • Where do contest fees go?
    Every penny goes directly to our out-of-pocket costs. Everyone volunteers their time. As a reality check, contest entry fees do not cover all of the costs of holding our monthly MathLeague contests. Sponsors are welcomed. Please see our About page for more information.
  • Who is Art of Doing Math?
    We are a non-profit group organized and led by Matthew Weaver. Please see our About page for more information.

Please email us to discuss how to start a team, organize, and practice. We are happy to help and have lots of free resources to share. Email us at Support@ArtOfDoingMath.org.