5 Elementary School Math Competitions held in the USA

Updated: Aug 27

5 Elementary School Math Competitions

Math competitions are an interesting way of improving the problem-solving skills of students. They also allow the students to show off their math skills. The kids start seeing math as something more than just memorising a bunch of facts and formulae. They love for learning increases. To read about the Advantages of preparing your child for Elementary School Math Competitions click here.

For the academic year 2020-2021, the competition season is almost upon us. The first competition starts as early as November and we need to prepare for it. But for us to reap the above-mentioned benefits and prepare for the competitions, we need to know what's available right? So here goes...

(For Australia, New Zealand, Singapore Malaysia - check out the end of the blog for AMC - Australian Mathematics Competition and APSMO Australasian Problem Solving Mathematical Olympiads)

1) MOEMS (Math Olympiad for Elementary and Middle School):

It consists of 5 contests held from November to March. Each test is for 30 min and consists of 5 questions and the kids need to write the answers in the space provided. Pretty challenging but really gears up the students to take on the Middle School curriculum. Once the kids get used to Problem-solving they really enjoy this challenge.

Grades: 4-6 and 6-8

Enrolment: Through schools or registered institutions only http://www.moems.org/enroll.htm

Open for individual enrolment: No

Important dates:

Contest 1 - November,

Contest 2 - December,

Contest 3- January,

Contest 4 - February

Contest 5 - March

Books to Prepare:

1) Math Olympiad Contest Problems for Elementary and Middle Schools, Vol. 1

2) Math Olympiad Contest Problems, Volume 2

3) MOEMS Contest Problems, Volume 3

2) CML (Continental Math League)

This also consists of 5 contests to be taken from November to March (for grades 4-6). Each test is 30 min and has 6 questions. You can enrol in either of the 2 divisions - the Pythagorean division or Euclidean division for each grade level. The Pythagorean division requires above average problem-solving skills and Euclidean requires average problem-solving skills. But I've generally found that both the levels are slightly easier than MOEMS.

So, this is a good competition to start if you're new to problem-solving and kids as young as Grade 2 can register. For grades 2-3 there are only 3 contests to be taken between November and January. If you are enrolling as an individual, the tests can also be taken at home!

Grades: 2-3, 4-6 and 7-9 and there's also Calculus

Enrolment: Can enrol through school or as an individual

If enrolling as an individual you'll need to email them and ask them for individual registration

https://www.cmleague.com/product-category/cml/ Chose the grade and division.

Open for individual enrolment: Yes

Registration deadline: Before the contests start. They are not extremely strict about it though. But it's good to register and prepare beforehand.

Books to prepare: These are questions from past competitions

For grades 2-3: https://www.cmleague.com/product/cml-book-2011-2015-grade-2-3/

For grades 4-6: https://www.cmleague.com/product/cml-book-2011-2015-grade-4-6/

3) Math Kangaroo

This is an international math competition and takes place in USA, Canada, Singapore and a few other countries. They all have separate web pages and registrations though. The test is 75 minutes long, with 24 questions for children in grades 1-4, and 30 questions for children in grades 5 and up.

This is one competition where I've found extremely interesting questions. RSM (Russian school of mathematics), Mathnasium, or Kumon centres host this competition. But you can register for the competitions without enrolling in their classes as well.

Enrolment: Can register as an individual http://www.mathkangaroo.us/mk/registration.html

To search for centres near you http://www.mathkangaroo.us/mk/centers.html

Grades: 1-12 (All grades)

Registration deadline: End of December

Contest date: Happens on a Thursday in March. This year I'm still waiting for the announcement. Will update this as soon as I know :)

Books to prepare: http://www.mathkangaroo.us/mk/practice.html

You can buy past contest papers with solutions from their store

4) Perennial Math

This runs 2 sets of competitions every year. First set consists of 4 contests between Nov-Feb and the second set between Jan-Apr. You can register for both separately. Each test has 6 questions and 30 mins to solve them.

Enrolment: Can register as an individual or as a team or through school (which makes this great)


Grades: 3-8

They have 5 levels of competition: Rookie (grades 3-4), Intermediate (grades 5-6), and Advanced (grades 7-8).

Registration deadline:

Season 1 deadline - November 15th.

Season 2 deadline - January 15th

Books/ Materials to prepare: They upload the materials to whomever you designate as the coach as soon as you register! So registration includes the prep materials too.

5) Math League

The contest consists of 30 questions to be solved in 30 minutes. Registration is only through schools. So if you want your school to participate you can read what you need to do here: https://mathleague.com/index.php/about-the-math-league/get-involved

Enrolment: Only through schools

Grades: 4-8

Registration deadlines: Each grade has its own deadline (either Dec 31 or Jan 31). Check out here for more info https://mathleague.com/index.php/annualcontestinformation/contestschedules

Books/ Materials to prepare: You can look at sample competitions here.

Books that also contain past contests - There are volumes 1-6

Math Contests, Grades 4, 5 & 6, Vol. 5

There are also other Elementary School Math Competitions:

Noetic Learning Math Contest

Game-a-thon designing math games

National Trimathlon by Mathnasium

Math Bee by North South Foundation

RSM Foundation International Math Contest

Online Math League (OML)

MathLeague.org - Highly challenging

Math Is Cool - Has lots of past papers available to prepare

AMC (Australian Mathematics Competition

Enrolment: Only through schools

For grades 3 and 4 register as Middle Primary

For grades 5 and 6 register as Upper Primary

Books/ Materials to prepare: 2018 and 2019 past papers are available on their website for free. For other years you can purchase their papers from here. They also have other books that help you prepare. If you have any of the USA competition books like CML or MOEMS those cover the basics too.

APSMO (Australasian Problem Solving Mathematical Olympiads)

Enrolment: Only through schools

For Years 5 and 6 register as Maths Olympiad Division J. Ambitious Year 4 students can take part too.

For Years 7 and 8 register as Maths Olympiad Division S

This is similar to MOEMS in the USA. The exam is a similar format. It consists of 5 contests held from May to October. Each test is for 20-30 min and consists of 5 questions and the kids need to write the answers in the space provided.

Books/ Materials to prepare: Past papers are available on their website. In case you have the USA's version of the book that can be used as well. You can also view a sample of the Division J test from here.

To summarise:

Contests that you can register as an individual: Math Kangaroo, CML, OML and Perennial Math

International students who want to do the contests can go for CML, OML or Perennial Math.

Contests you can register through schools: MOEMS, Math League, Noetic, AMC and APSMO.

As you know I'm an Online Math Tutor. I train kids for all Elementary School Math Competitions. To know more about me and how I work click here.

If you'd like me to coach your kid for any of the above-mentioned competitions email me @ vasudhastutoring@gmail.com

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