2020 Lehigh University High School Math Contest

On Saturday, February 29, 2020, the Department of Mathematics at Lehigh University will conduct its 40th annual Mathematics Contest for High School Students. The format will be similar to that of last year's contest, in which 276 students from 67 school districts 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 Susquehanna International Group and Mu Alpha Theta, the national math honor society for high school and two-year college students.

Cash awards will be given to the top ten finishers, from $300 for first place down to $60 for tenth 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." The fourth tie-breaking criterion is "younger person," except for first place. 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 9, 10, 11, 12, and Middle School, 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 middle school individual division. No school can receive more than two team awards.

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). There will be an option to prepurchase two slices of pizza and a soda for $5 which will be delivered to the lobby above the auditorium at the end of the contest. Tickets for this option will be sold in the lobby prior to the contest. This alleviates the rush to go to a restaurant and alleviates the crowding in the restaurants. Another good lunch option is several quick restaurants in the University Center, which offer a 25% discount to contest participants. After lunch, there will be a fun unofficial team math game in Packard 101. Teams will be formed at the beginning of the game. An alternative activity is to see a discussion of solutions of the exam questions. 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. Register by sending e-mail to Don Davis.

Maps of campus are available here. Packard Lab is building 19. You can park in Faculty/Staff spots in the Alumni parking garage, which is located up Brodhead St above (south of) Packard Lab. It is indicated with a P on the map. You can also pay the meters along Packer Ave. If there are buses coming, please let me know. They will have to park on Packer Ave, and I should let the city know.

During the past 27 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 May 30, 2020. 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. Our 5-team performance is consistently among the best.

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 29 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 29 should contact Don Davis (dmd1@lehigh.edu) to discuss possible alternative arrangements.

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

Don Davis's web site