Updated: Feb 24
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. Their love for learning increases. To read about the Advantages of preparing your Elementary student for 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 are some Math competitions for Elementary students.
(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)
Online Math Competitions and Math Competitions for Homeschoolers
Math Competitions in the US
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 -
Post-COVID they have opened up individual registration as well.
Open for individual enrolment: No (Yes after COVID)
Contest 1 - November,
Contest 2 - December,
Contest 3- January,
Contest 4 - February
Contest 5 - March
Books to Prepare: These are past papers to help you prepare for the competitions. Hints and detailed solutions are also available in these books
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 levels are slightly easier than MOEMS.
So, this is an excellent 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:
For grades 4-6:
1996-2000 CML competition problems pdf free download. This is a really old one but it still gives you an idea of what to expect.
Continental Math League (CML) Practice problems and Sample papers
Sample grade 2 CML test
Sample grade 3 CML test
Sample grade 4 CML Euclidean test
Sample grade 4 CML Pythagorean test
Sample grade 5 CML Euclidean test
Sample grade 5 CML Pythagorean test
Sample grade 6 CML Euclidean test
Sample grade 6 CML Pythagorean test
You can also use these as CML practice tests.
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
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)
They have 5 levels of competition: Rookie (grades 3-4), Intermediate (grades 5-6), and Advanced (grades 7-8).
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
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
When I started this post I frequently registered my students in the 5 competitions listed above. Now I guess there's more to add :)
OML is a series of 3 contests that run from November to March. The contest consists of 15 questions to be solved in 30 minutes. The questions are moderately easy and this would be a good entry level competition. Registration can be done by individuals, clubs or schools.
Enrolment: Can register as an individual or as a team or through school
Registration deadline: The contest starts in November. So you do want to register before that.
Books/ Materials to prepare: Once you register you'll have access to the past papers and their materials. So registration does include the practice materials as well. You can also click here to see a sample past paper.
This is one of the most challenging elementary competitions out there. This year 2020-2021 they have opened the registration to individuals as well. Do check to see if the contest is held in the city your child goes to school in and register them there. If not, you can register them for "Open Enrolment contest".
This contest is similar to Math Counts competition done by Middle schoolers. You have a school round, district round, state round and then Nationals. There are multiple qualifying rounds so be sure to check out the events page on their website.
Each of the contests has 4 rounds.
Number sense round: 80 questions to be solved mentally in 10 mins.
Sprint Round: 30 multiple choice questions in 40 mins. No calculators permitted.
Target Round: 4 pairs of questions are given. You get 6 mins for each pair of questions. Any calculator permitted for SAT is allowed for this round.
Team Round: A team consist of 1-4 members. They have to solve 10 questions in 20 mins. This is pretty challenging, so you do want 4 team members to get an upper hand. Any calculator permitted for SAT is allowed for this round as well.
Enrolment: Can register as an individual or through school
Grades: 3-5 for Elementary, 6-8 for Middle school
Registration deadline: Since there are multiple qualifiers you do want to check out their website. The qualifiers start as early as September and go on till February.
Books/ Materials to prepare: If you fill out a form and join their mailing list they will send you a free contest paper. You can also buy more contests from their website and/ or enrol in the number sense challenge conducted by them.
There are also other Math Competitions for Elementary students:
Game-a-thon designing math games
National Trimathlon by Mathnasium
Math Bee by North South Foundation
RSM Foundation International Math Contest - can be taken online
Math Is Cool - Has lots of past papers available to prepare
Beestar's math competition - can be taken online
Math Competitions held in Australia
One of the most popular contest in Australia. It consists for 30 questions to be solved in 1 hour. The first 25 are multiple choice questions. The first 10 and are worth 3 points each, questions 11-20 are worth 4 points each and 21-25 are worth 5 points each. Questions 26-30 require an answer between 0-999 are worth 6,7,8,9 and 10 points respectively. Calculators are allowed here :)
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.
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.
Enrolment: Can enrol through schools or as an individual. One of the very few competitions in Australia that allows you to register as an individual.
For Years 5-10* for Term 2 (22 May to 9 June)
For Years 3-10* for Terms 3 (7 August to 25 August) and Term 4 (23 October to 10 November)
Year 10 competitions can only be registered through schools. The rest can register as individuals
Have Sum Fun Online (HSFOL) is conducted by the Mathematical Association of Western Australia (MAWA) and is endorsed by the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT). It has 3 rounds of 10 questions, where competitors have one hour to complete each round of questions.
Online Math Competitions and Math Competitions for Homeschoolers:
Contests that you can register as an individual and take online:
Beestar math competition
RSM Foundation International Math Contest
Competitions to register through schools:
1. Math League,
2. AMC (Australia)
3. APSMO (Australia)
As you know I'm an Online Math Tutor. I train Elementary students for 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 @ firstname.lastname@example.org
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