The Putnam Mathematical Competition 2016

at UW


Date of Competition

Saturday, December 3, 2016;
session A from 8-11am, session B from 1-4pm.
Lunch will be provided for contestants between 11am and 1pm.

LOCATION: Math Study Center, Communications building, B-014.

If your religious beliefs prevent you from taking the contest on a Saturday, you may take the test after sundown,
on December 2nd (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 (Math380)

This year, the Putnam Prep will have a different format. Students interested in taking the exam are greatly encouraged to register for  the special problem-solving class, Math380. 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.

You may also audit the class, but keep in mind that the true benefit of taking the class will be solving homework problems and learning how to present solutions, and that you are therefore better of by registering for it. We will not grade solutions for people not officially registered.

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Putnam Preparation Sessions

Monday, starting October 5th, from 6-8pm in Padelford C-36 we will hold 2-hour long preparation sessions, in which we will discuss problems, give hints for the homework (for the students taking Math380), solve Putnam problems, etc. If you are interested in the contest but not registered for the class, you definitely should try and attend these Monday evening sessions.


IMPORTANT! There will be a diagnostic test on Monday, October 12th, from 6-8pm (during the evening preparation session). This test is not connected to Math380---its purpose is to establish the three members of UW's 2015 team. You MUST come to the test if you wish to be on the team; however, since the Putnam is both an individual and a team competition, not making the team does not prevent you in any way from participating individually.


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Important facts to consider

The Putnam Competition has a very large student participation----over 3000 undergraduates, each year. The top 5 scorers receive first prize; traditionally, this is achieved with around 80 points out of the 120 possible (eight or more problems solved). Top 200 (which, given the number of participants, is quite a good ranking!) is much easier to achieve: you only need about 30 points, i.e., three or four problems correctly solved and correctly written up. Top 100 is usually achieved with 4-5 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.


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Problem Sets

Useful links:


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

IMPORTANT! If you wish to participate, you must register by e-mail with one of the two people above.

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