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Revision as of 22:45, 18 April 2013 by Ross (talk | contribs) (Updated TeX instructions)
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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 do 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.

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




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.


We order T-shirts from Sports Products Mfg. Inc. in Fitchburg. They also have our orders on file, including the Bucky MMM graphic, and can easily reuse it and update the year. 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 plus 2 per team for the chaperones, and a few extras. Since there are usually 20 teams we usually order 240 shirts.

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) 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). Joan Wendt 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 around 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. Get the "sign files" from last year to help you out.

We need access to the projector in the lecture hall (typically B102). Check in advance to make sure you do; you might have to call a week or two in advance for an access code. Throughout the event, we use a powerpoint for the mental math problems, to introduce each problem and go over an easy example, and play charades (below). Get the previous years' powerpoint to save a ton of time and to see how the mental math is formulated.

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. Ask around to see who is willing to take pictures, and generally the webmaster will want access to them. 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 with some advanced notice and be sure you have enough help, generally at least one person per team. There is a grading spreadsheet we have used to help tally the scores.

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 solutions. It helps to have the person grading a team compile this, and to have the folders available and labeled in advance, etc.


For the event, we order pizza for the contestants from [pizza place]. It is polite to apprise them of the order a day in advance.

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