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Mega Math Meet

This page is for organisers of the Mega Math Meet, and in particular for storing logistics information, template TeX files, possibly past exams, etc. As this is a public page, it should not be used for storing contestant data, non-public results information, nor as a repository for sharing the current year's draft problems as they are written.

TeX Instructions

The exam is divided into usually around 5 problems--3 to be done individually and 2 to be done by a team. Problems are often subdivided into separate questions, each worth a specified number of points. Individual problems are often worth, in total, around 10 points each, whereas team problems are each worth around 50 points in total.

Each problem should go in its own separate TeX file, which should contain no headers and should be formatted like the following example:


\Pnum[Problem Name]

Explanation of the problem's mathematics and story.  


Part 1 of the problem.  Include some introduction text here

\qnum[1] Part 1 question 1.  How many kilometres in a metre?

\qnum[1] Part 1 question 2.  1+1

\qnum[2] Part 1 question 3


Part 2 introduction

\qnum[2] Part 2 question 1

\qnum[4] Part 2 question 2

As seen in this example, when you want a box at the end of a question for the students to write the answers into, use the \answerbox macro or the \answerboxn macro, depending on whether you want an extra newline after the answerbox. The answerbox macros take an argument which allows you to put some text at the right side of the answerbox, e.g. to specify the units expected for the answer. Some versions of TeX seem to have trouble with the answerbox macro; in the past using answerboxn instead has solved the issue.

The qnum macro also takes an argument, specifying how many points the particular question is worth.

The above will not compile on its own, as it is not a complete document. Rather, there is one master file that defines all these macros and includes each of the individual problem files, which looks like the following:


\newcommand{\Pnum}[1][]{\begin{center}\stepcounter{PROB}{\large\textbf{Problem \arabic{PROB}: #1}}\end{center}\par}
\newcommand{\pnum}[1][]{\stepcounter{PN}{\large \textbf{Part \arabic{PN}: #1}}\newline\par}
\newcommand{\qnumn}{\stepcounter{QN}\textbf{Question \arabic{PROB}.\arabic{QN}: }}
\newcommand{\qnum}[1][]{\stepcounter{QN}\par\textbf{Question \arabic{PROB}.\arabic{QN}: }(#1 points) }
\newcommand{\answerboxn}[1][]{\phantom{.}\hfill\framebox[5cm]{\begin{minipage}{1px}\hfill\vspace{.4in}\end{minipage}\hfill#1\ }\newline\newline}
\newcommand{\answerbox}[1][]{\\\phantom{.}\hfill\framebox[5cm]{\begin{minipage}{1px}\hfill\vspace{.4in}\end{minipage}\hfill#1\ }\newline\newline}

\Pnum[Mental Math (no calculators allowed)]
\qnumn \hfill \answerboxn
\qnumn \hfill \answerboxn
\qnumn \hfill \answerboxn
\qnumn \hfill \answerboxn
\qnumn \hfill \answerboxn
\qnumn \hfill \answerboxn
\qnumn \hfill \answerboxn
\qnumn \hfill \answerboxn
\qnumn \hfill \answerboxn
\qnumn \hfill \answerboxn




So if you put your problem in a folder called P/ and call the tex file my_problem.tex, then you add a line to the body of all.tex like


Inside my_problem.tex, if you include any files (e.g. images), you should specify the full path like




There is an email account for the mega math meet: Sara Nagreen can link this account to your wisc account so that you can access it via the webmail browser interface. From there, you can set up forwarding to other accounts. I recommend CCing this account on emails sent about the MMM so that these emails are kept as records.


As of 2015, we are in the department budget! Our budget is $1000, although this should be confirmed with an administrator every year. This is a little less than what was spent pre 2015, but this difference is easily made up by not buying t-shirts for chaperons, and cutting down on extra t-shirts.

Problems and Copies

Get each problem copied separately. Stapled and one-sided is best. The top sheet shouldn't have any problems yet, only examples (it's easier to pass out that way, no worries about students starting early). BEFORE COPYING, PUT A LINE FOR THE STUDENT'S NAME ON EACH INDIVIDUAL PROBLEM. Same for team name on team problems. Collate the individual problems into groups of 8. Collate the two team problems into groups of 4+4.

Write and copy an answer key for the graders. The graders will then put it in the team folder (see below).

Beamer File

We need access to the projector in the lecture hall (typically B102). You will also need a key from 2nd floor staff to get into the potium to get a mic. Check in advance that the faculty presenter (usually Dave Anderson) has a projector code that works. Throughout the event, we use a Beamer for the mental math problems, to introduce each problem and go over an easy example, and play charades (below). Get the previous year's Beamer file, update the mental math and charades. Once the problems are done, copy and paste the tex from the example problem to the slides; generally, have anything on the slides also on the paper problems.


The middle school contact, Lisa Nyenhuis (lisa_nyenhuis at mcfarland dot k12 dot wi dot us), gets in touch with all teams that are coming. A week or so before the event, she'll email you forms from each team including student names and t-shirt sizes. Fill in the names onto the grading roster (below) and use the t-shirt sizes to bag t-shirts in advance.


We order trophies from Dinn Bros. Inc., and tend to order 8 medals each for the 1st-3rd place teams, a trophy each for those teams, and trophies for the 1st-3rd place individual. If you can get an order number from the previous year and call them, they have been willing to simply update the year on the engravings and reorder, which saves a lot of time. Try to order a month in advance; you can call and place the order, and then have Veneta call to provide payment info.

The financial spreadsheet has order details.


We order T-shirts from Sports Products Mfg. Inc. in Fitchburg/Oregon. They also have our orders on file, including the Bucky MMM graphic, and can easily reuse it and update the year. Call at least a month in advance. Once the shirts are done, someone will have to go get them. It's only about five-ten minutes south of Madison. You might be able to find faculty that live nearby who would be willing to stop.

We tend to order some combination of Badger color shirts and ink: shirts in white, grey, red or black with contrasting ink. The colored shirts are more expensive and we order those only every few years. We need shirts for all the students, and a few extras. Since there are usually 20 teams we usually order 180 or so shirts. To cut back on buying unnecessary extras, get t-shirt orders from schools before buying the shirts. This is the easiest way to stay under budget.

We've also used drawstring bags with the logo printed on them. This went over well and was cheaper.

You can call and place the order, and then have an administrator call to provide payment info, or just have them call and place the order.

Time and Place

The meet is usually held on a Thursday in late May, on the week in between spring finals and the first summer session. We need to reserve in advance a big lecture hall (we've used B102, which is better suited than B130) as well as about 10 or 12 smaller rooms (we've gotten them on the B1 and 2 levels, and we need one room for every two teams). Michael Wang has helped us reserve them in the past and may be able just ask for the same rooms as were used the previous year. We have used the Mathlab for grading. We have never had an issue with this, but it is probably a good idea to ask David Camacho and make sure it is free.

The event typically starts around 9, with the teams arriving starting at 8:30. They register, pick up their t-shirts (bagged and labeled in advance) and go to their small room to drop off snacks, jackets, etc. before settling in the lecture hall. The hall should be prepared with row signs showing where each team should sit (with two chaperones each). You should also post signs on all entrances of VV telling the teams where to go in the building. Also post signs on the small rooms with team names. Get the "sign files" from last year to help you out.

Try to be done by noon for the sake of the kids getting lunch and then back to school; this means the awards are usually given out at 11:30 or so. The problems are being graded as soon as they're completed, which means that after the final team problem there are a few minutes before we can present awards. In the past we have had the teachers come up front, split into two teams, and play "math charades" with each other. The kids just watch (not guess) to keep the chaos to a minimum, but it is generally hilarious and the kids love it.

The department likes to have pictures of the event, and especially the awards ceremony. Sara Nagreen has been willing to take pictures. Be sure to pass out the folders to the teams after awards and as everyone is filing out; just ask a chaperone to come get them.


We need a lot of help in grading the problems as they come in, so that we can be done by noon. We generally bribe graduate students and undergrad math students, etc. by offering them pizza (see below). Send out an email to various department lists (graduate, the math club, etc -- ask Sara if need be). Two weeks in advance is good; sen reminders the day before. Be sure you have enough help, generally at least one person per two teams. There is a grading spreadsheet we have used to help tally the scores.


Fill in the student names from the forms. Fill in individual score results; they will be tallied. Note that the team tallies always drop the lowest score per problem. The individuals and their scores are automatically placed in one sheet toward the beginning of the file. Copy and paste this sheet (values only) to the first sheet, where you can sort it to determine individual winners.

Alternatively, use google sheets. This can be shared with all the graders so they can immediately enter information, alleviating a bottleneck. Doing this sped up grading immensely in 2015. The 2015 sheet can be used as a template:

This was also nice because it allowed the MC to immediately see the scores, and even monitor the scoring in real time.


At the end of the day, we also give to the teachers of the teams a packet with: a blank copy of all the problems, their students' work from that day, and a copy of the answer key. It helps to have the person grading a team compile this, and to have the folders available and labeled in advance.


For the event, we order pizza for the graders, often from Ian's. Talk to Veneta at least a day in advance and she will place the order for you. In the past 5 large pizzas and 3 2-liters have been enough. Ask to have them bring plates, cups, napkins. Also, Ian's will cut the pizzas into smaller slices, which is nice because generally their slices are enormous.

Exams from Previous Years

A tarball with the all of 2012's problems, TeX and PDF, is at File:2012MMM.tar.gz.gif

It is uploaded as a .gif because of mediawiki's restrictions, so delete the .gif from the end of the filename after downloading to get the actual tarball. If you are on Windows and cannot open the file, download 7zip from [1]. If you are on some flavour of Unix, you can simply use the command:

tar -xzvf 2012MMM.tar.gz