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About MathCountsEdit

MathCounts is a national middle school competitive math competition that gives out math achievement and similar.

Test FormatEdit

The first part of the competition is the Sprint Round, which consists of 30 problems (40 problems before 1990) to solve in 40 minutes. No calculators are allowed during this part of the test, and for your individual score, each question is worth one point.

The second part of the competition is the Target Round, which consists of 4 sets (5 sets before 1990) of two problems to be completed in six minutes (four minutes before 1990). Calculators are allowed during this part of the test, and to determine your individual score, each question is worth two points.

The third part of the competition is the Team Round, which, if you are on a team, consists of 10 problems for a team of four to solve in 20 minutes. To calculate the team score, basically take the average of all of the individual scores (divide by 4 regardless) and then add the team round points. FYI, each team round question is worth two points.

The final part of the competition is the Countdown Round. For most schools, everyone participates in this, but for chapters and states, only the top 12 (or 16) individuals from the sprint/target round individual score will get to compete in this round. This is a single elimination round in which two people face off of each other and try to answer a problem is quickly as possible. There are an allotted time of forty-five seconds to solve each question, and if one contestant gets the answer wrong, the other contestant has the remainder of the forty-five seconds to get it correct. How many questions one has to get correctly in order to eliminate his/her opponent is left to the sponsor of the competition.

If there are any ties for first place (say a lot of people got 46 points), then there is a tiebreaker round to determine the tie.

Test LevelsEdit

Please note that Nationals is the only place in which countdown matters in order to make it into the next level of the test.

Each person starts out by taking the school test. Individually, the top 10 get to represent their school, while the top 4 people get to represent their school on the team.

Then we come to the chapter test. Individually, if a student is either in the top 4 individually or a member of one of the top teams, that student gets to go to state.

The state round is much harder and requires much more math. Basically, the top 4 people in that state represent their state at Nationals, and the top team's coach gets to coach the team for Nationals.

For the national competition, please refer to the most recent national competition page.

Perfect Scores at NationalsEdit

There are hardly any perfect scores during the test. In fact, it only occurs about two-thirds of the time, so mathletes who make it into Nationals probably shouldn't be thinking that right off of the bat they will get a perfect score. Here are some sample perfect score distributions from previous years.

  • 2017: 0
  • 2016: 1
  • 2015: 2
  • 2014: 0
  • 2013: 1
  • 2012: 1