2016 Lehigh University High School Math Contest

On Saturday, February 27, 2016, the Department of Mathematics at Lehigh University will conduct its 36th annual Mathematics Contest for High School Students. The format will be similar to that of last year's contest, in which 390 students from more than 70 schools participated.

This year's contest will again be sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Paul Martino, and by the Lehigh University Department of Mathematics. Paul Martino participated in the 1992 contest for North Penn HS and graduated from Lehigh University in 1995. He has founded several Silicon Valley companies and currently is Managing Director of Bullpen Capital. He and his wife have made a substantial donation to this contest and the Lehigh Valley ARML team. The contest also receives some sponsorship from Mu Alpha Theta, the national math honor society for high school and two-year college students.

Cash awards will be given to the top eight finishers, from $250 for first place down to $50 for eighth place. There will be an additional $100 prize for the top female. The first tie-breaking criterion is "fewest wrong answers." The second tie-breaking criterion is "most correct answers in problems 31-40." The third tie-breaking criterion is "most correct answers in problems 21-30." If two people are still tied, the prize money will be split. There is no penalty for guessing incorrect answers unless you are tied for a prize, in which case it is better to leave a question blank rather than make an incorrect guess.

Here is the introductory page, which states the rules and conventions. It is highly recommended that students look at some of the previous exams.

A plaque will be awarded to the top individual in grade levels 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12, and to the top team-of-four at grade levels 9, 10, 11, and 12. A team competing at a certain grade level may consist of students at or below that grade level. A team's score is computed by adding the scores of its four members. A school may send as many teams-of-four as desired, but the groupings into teams-of-four must be presented prior to the contest. Middle school students and high school students from the same school district may be on the same team. A team of middle school students would compete in the ninth grade team division, but the 8th grade individual division.

The exam will be a 2-hour written examination beginning at 10:00 AM in Packard Lab Auditorium. It will consist of 40 questions with numerical answers. Calculators are not allowed. A student's score is equal to the number of questions answered correctly. There is no partial credit, except that an answer that is correct but not adequately simplified may receive half a point.

While examinations are being graded, students will first have an opportunity to eat lunch on or off campus (at their own expense).After lunch, students and advisors are encouraged to attend a talk by Elizabeth McMahon about the game Set. McMahon is a Professor at Lafayette College and is writing a book about this card game. An alternative activity is to see a discussion of solutions of the exam questions. An alternative activity is a speed chess tournament. If you might be interested in that, please indicate so when you register for the contest, so that we can get an idea of how many might be doing it. Presentation of awards for the contest will be made in Packard Auditorium at 2:45 PM.

Faculty advisers are welcome, but not required to attend. I need to know the names, grades, and groupings of your students into teams-of-four at least three days before the contest. Individuals may participate even if their school is not sending a group. Such people should let me know, at least three days in advance, that they are coming. There is no registration fee for individuals or for schools whose students would consider being on the Lehigh Valley ARML team. Register by sending e-mail to Don Davis. Schools sending a large number of students who are part of a different ARML team may have to pay a registration fee which would be negotiated with Don Davis.

Maps of campus are available here. Packard Lab is building 19. You may park in the lot at the corner of Packer and Brodhead Streets. This applies to both cars and buses. If you use the meters on the street, you must pay them, so I recommend you use the Brodhead lot, which is just one block away from Packard Lab.

During the past 23 years, I have coached a Lehigh Valley team in the American Regions Math League (ARML), a national competition which takes place (for the northeastern part of the country) at Penn State June 4, 2016. A team consists of 15 people. We have five teams, so 75 students altogether. Our Fire team won the national championship in 2005, 2009, 2010, and 2011, and finished second in 2007 and 2012 and third in 2006, beating such teams as New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco Bay Area all those years.

I use the results of my contest as a primary criterion for selection to the team. Outstanding students who are unable to participate in my contest but are interested in being considered for the Lehigh Valley ARML team should contact me. Practice sessions are held at Lehigh University most Sundays during the spring from 3:30-6:00. We had a lot of top middle school students on the recent teams. Middle schools students who are in the top 10 in their region in MathCounts are encouraged to participate in the February 27 contest. Many students come from up to 80 miles away to be on our team. This includes all of southeastern Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey. Students whose schools participate in the Central Jersey Math League or who attend West-Windsor Plainsboro schools are not eligible to be on the LV ARML team. Outstanding students interested in being on the ARML team but absolutely unable to take the test on February 27 should contact Don Davis to discuss possible alternative arrangements.

Don Davis, dmd1@lehigh.edu, (610) 758-3756

Don Davis's web site