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Monthly Math Hour at the University of Washington

Invites Students in Grades 6–10 to the Annual

Math Hour Olympiad

The 2022 Math Hour Olympiad was held on June 5, 2022, in person at the University of Washington in Seattle. Click here to see the results!

The annual Math Hour Olympiad, hosted by the Monthly Math Hour, the Northwest Academy of Sciences, and Prime Factor Math Circle, is an individual oral math olympiad in the tradition of Russian math olympiads, which date back to the 1930s.

Due to the special format of this session, which emphasizes one-on-one communication between the participants and our team of volunteer mathematicians, we can only accommodate a limited number of students. The event is free but requires a pre-registration.

The Olympiad is open to students in grades 6–10. Highly motivated fifth-graders may participate; however, we discourage this because the format of the Olympiad can be overwhelming for younger students. No other grades will be admitted.

What to Expect

This style of Olympiad is likely to be quite different from any other type of mathematical contest you have experienced (such as MathCounts, Math Kangaroo, or Math is Cool).

Initially, students will be given a set of five problems to solve. There will be two levels of problems — one for 6th–7th graders, and another for 8th–10th graders.

This is an individual oral Olympiad. This means that when you solve a problem, you will discuss your solution with a judge. After you explain your answer, the judge will decide whether or not your solution is correct. If your solution is incomplete, the judge will help you understand why your solution is incomplete. At that point you will have an opportunity to continue to work on the problem, and try to present it again. Each student will have three attempts to present each problem to the judges.

Our judges are friendly mathematicians who have volunteered their time on a Sunday morning to talk about math with you. They want to be there, and they want you to succeed as you work on these problems.

If you solve three or more of the initial five problems, you will be given two additional harder problems.

The rules will be carefully explained on the day of the Olympiad, and any additional questions will be answered during the welcome ceremony.

What to Bring: First and foremost, be sure to bring scratch paper and pencils. Secondly, you will be working on math problems for three hours, which ends up being a rather exhausting endeavor. Be sure to bring a snack and drink to keep your brain going. We do not know about anyone's allergies! Please do not bring any snacks with nuts! If you would like to bring a simple scientific calculator, you are free to do so, but you shouldn't need one.

For sample problems, please visit the archives from previous years below.

Covid protocols

We recognize that there is a lot of uncertainty with Covid at this moment. We will follow state/university requirements regarding masking and vaccinations on the day of the event. As of March 30, this policy states the following (of course, it may change between now and June 5):
  1. Proof of vaccination is required for Olympiad judges and recommended for student participants
  2. Masks are recommended but not required for everyone (see

Parking information

Campus parking is free on Sundays. The central parking garage (map) is located near Savery Hall. Follow this link for driving directions to the central parking garage. When exiting the Central Parking Garage, follow the signs for the Kane Hall exit from the garage. From this exit, you will be able enter Savery Hall through its southern entrance.

Previous Olympiads

We wrote a book! Problems and solutions from the first ten years of the Math Hour Olympiad can be found in the book "Math Out Loud: an Oral Olympiad Handbook". All profits will be donated to the Math Hour Olympiad fund.

Thank you!

This event would not have been possible without the dedicated support and time given by our volunteers!

We gratefully acknowledge the generous help and support from the Northwest Academy of Sciences. This event is partially supported by NSF grant DMS-0953011.