Math Talent Quest

Math Talent Quest

General Structure of the competition:

The first tier of this year's Math Talent Quest is an internet-based competition on April 17 covering a variety of math topics at a variety of levels.  Awards will be available to students who perform strongly in their local groups.

The second tier will be a period of internet-based learning activities for a select group of students from the first round.  These activities will be oriented toward preparing students for a higher-level competition.

The third tier will be the selection of a small number of students who will represent the United States as the national team at the Hua Luo Geng Golden Cup Math Invitational Competition, held this year in Macau, China, August 13-16.  Math Talent Quest is the only organization authorized to send a US team to this event.

Details regarding proctor and student registration and other information relating to the competitions can be found under the tabs at left.

Preliminary Exam "Math Talent Quest" Description:


The Math Talent Quest is a 60 minutes test designed for elementary and middle school students. The test consists of 24 short answer problems.


This year's Math Talent Quest will be held on Tuesday, April 17th, 2012.

For registration information, please click on "Registration" on the side bar.



  1. No calculators are allowed.
  2. Time limit: 24 minutes.
  3. Scoring: 10 points for each correct answer for problems 1-8; 20 points for each correct answer for problems 9-16, and 30 points for each correct answer for problems 17-24.
  4. All problems only require short answers (i.e. work does not need to be shown).
  5. International student may use a dictionary, but it must be checked by proctors before the test. The dictionary can not contain any math-related formulas or expressions (words, like circle and triangle, are fine).
  6. All answers are integers ranging from negative infinity to positive infinity.
  7. The only tools permitted on the test are pencils, erasers, compasses, rulers, protractors, and graphing paper. No electronic devices can be used. No reference sheets or equation sheets can be used.
  8. Proctors should be adults (possibly volunteers) drawn from schools, homeschools, independent learning centers, or math circles; no proctor should proctor his or her own child.



Students should be familiar with Algebra 1 topic, basic geometry, and simple combination topics. No problem requires knowledge from above Algebra 1 or Geometry, though higher level knowledge might be helpful. Notice that although several problems can be solved using 1st or 2nd grade knowledge, they should be challenging to even middle school students, as their difficulty levels are beyond that of an elementary school. Note that a problem's difficulty level is different from the level of math it requires.



The difficulty of the test ranges from AMC 8 problems to basic AMC 10 problems. Competitions like Math Talent Quest are designed to spread out the performance of top-level students; thus, it is very common for average scores to be less than 50%, even for students who may be top students in their own schools.  Students should not be discouraged by such numbers, but understand it is part of what makes math competitions different from common school tests.  A summary of results will be posted after the competition so that students can understand where they fit in the natinoal picture.


Remember, success is not a destination. The most important thing is the experience - not the score. They're the thinking skills one gains through the learning process, and not the achievements, that are more valuable.