The Putnam Mathematical Competition

at UW



Schedule and problems sets for 2021 here

Date of Competition

First Saturday of December;
session A from 8-11am, session B from 1-4pm.
Lunch will be provided for contestants between 11am and 1pm (This is pre-COVID).

If your religious beliefs prevent you from taking the contest on a Saturday, you may take
the test after sundown the day before (we will have to ask for permission from the Contest
Directors, but they generally grant such requests, if submitted in a timely fashion). You will
have to make arrangements to stay under the supervision of a rabbi or clergyman from
8am on the day of the contest.

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Problem-Solving Class (Math342)

Students interested in taking the exam are greatly encouraged to register for  the special problem-solving class, Math342. Taking the class will involve mainly homework and board presentations, and will be a fun way to connect to and work with like-minded, mathematically inclined people, and learning problem-solving skills in a more disciplined environment. For more information on this class, click here.

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Putnam Preparation Sessions

Monday from 6-8pm in Loew 201 (for 2021) we will hold 2-hour long preparation sessions, in which we will solve and discuss Putnam problems, etc. If you are interested in the contest but not registered for Math 342, you definitely should try and attend these Monday evening sessions.


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Important facts to consider

The Putnam Competition has a very large student participation----over 4000 undergraduates, each year. The top 5 scorers receive first prize; traditionally, this is achieved with around 90+ points out of the 120 possible. Top 200 (which, given the number of participants, is quite a good ranking!) is much easier to achieve: you only need about 40+ points, i.e., four problems correctly solved and correctly written up. Top 100 is usually achieved with five problems. Consider this: you get two three-hour sessions, each with six problems to choose from, and all you need to do to achieve a really good ranking is solve a couple of them during each session. smiley


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Useful links:


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Faculty Members
in charge of the Putnam Preparation Sessions and Contest Administration:

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Registratiion for Putnam compatition:   Information to be posted