General Information

Below is some general information about the MATH Challenge.

 

What is the MATH Challenge?

The Michigan Autumn Take Home Challenge is a team-oriented math competition for undergraduates. Teams of 2 or 3 students take a 3-hour exam consisting of 10 interesting problems dealing with topics and concepts found in the undergraduate mathematics curriculum. Each team takes the exam on their home campus under the supervision of a faculty advisor.

 

When is the MATH Challenge?

The MATH Challenge always occurs on a Saturday close to the midpoint of autumn. This year's competition will be held on Saturday, November 1, 2014. The exam begins at 9:30 a.m. (EST) and ends at 12:30 p.m.

 

How is the exam administered?

A few days before the competition, the author/grader of the exam will send one large envelope to each faculty advisor of the participating schools. That envelope will contain a packet (containing the exam questions) for each team as well as single copy of the solutions. On the day of the competition, each team is provided a room to work on the exam for the 3-hour period beginning at 9:30 a.m. (EST). At 12:30 p.m., after all teams have submitted their solutions, the faculty advisor will distribute copies of the author's solutions to each team member. On the following Monday, the faculty advisor will send the teams' solutions to the author/grader.

 

When do the teams receive the results of the competition?

It usually takes 2 to 3 weeks for the author to finish grading all of the exams. However, during that 2-3 period, the author will provide partial scores via e-mail. In that way, teams can get some sense of how well they are doing.

 

Who organized the MATH Challenge?

In the spring of 1994, professors Mark Bollman (of Olivet College) and Timothy Sipka (of Alma College) felt the need to create a team-oriented math competition for undergraduates. That summer, with the help of Leo Schneider (of John Carroll University), the details of the competition were finalized. On November 5, 1994, 22 teams from 8 different schools participated in the first MATH Challenge.

 

What schools have participated in the MATH Challenge?

The MATH Challenge has attracted teams from both small and large institutions. And, although the competition is called the Michigan Autumn Take Home Challenge, it is not limited to schools in Michigan. Schools that have participated in the past include: Adrian College, Albion College, Alma College, Anderson University (IN), Aquinas College, Belmont University (TN), Bethel College (IN), Calvin College, Central Michigan University, Concordia University (NE), Connecticut College, Earlham College (IN), Eastern Illinois University, Ferris State University, Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Valley State University, Hillsdale College, Hope College, Illinois College, Illinois Wesleyan University, John Carroll University (OH), Kalamazoo College, Lake Superior State University, Lawrence Technological University, Macomb Community College, Madonna University, Manchester University (IN), McDaniel College, Merrimack College (MA), Michigan Technological University, Millsaps College (MS), Mississippi University for Women, Northern Michigan University, Northwest Missouri State University, Olivet College, Saginaw Valley State University, Spring Arbor University, St. Mary's College (IN), St. Norbert College (WI), Taylor University (IN), Trine University (IN), United States Military Academy (NY), University of Detroit Mercy, University of Michigan - Dearborn, University of Michigan - Flint, and Wheaton College (IL).

The following table provides the numbers of schools and teams that have participated in the previous MATH Challenge competitions. In 2008, the MATH Challenge along with its organizer took a sabbatical leave.

Year
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
# of Teams
22
32
40
37
27
30
21
32
46
50
44
53
63
64
54
66
69
62
64
# of Schools
8
12
13
11
12
11
10
12
16
16
16
21
23
22
20
28
24
24
24

 

 

How have teams done on the exam?

The MATH Challenge exam is always a 100-point exam. The following table provides a brief summary of the scores from the past exams.

Year
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
High Score
75
60
94
54
56
52
93
84
90
85
77
86
61
63
78
89
84
65
80
Median Score
36.5
15.5
50
26
26
11
43
44
58.5
23.5
46
32
13
22.5
29.5
20
12
24.5
27
Low Score
7
4
23
3
7
2
18
7
20
2
6
4
0
0
0
0
0
0
0