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How Does the Competition Series Work?
  • Schools register in the fall and work with students during the year. Coaches administer the School Competition, usually in January. Registered coaches can download this resource beginning in November at the Coach Dashboard.
  • Between 1 and 10 students from each school advance to their local Chapter Competition, which takes place in February.
  • Top students from each Chapter Competition advance to their State Competition, which takes place in March.
  • Top 4 individual competitors from each State Competition receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the National Competition, which takes place in May.
What's On the Test at Each Competition?

Sprint Round

  • 30 problems to solve in 40 minutes
  • no calculators allowed
  • focus on speed and accuracy

Target Round

  • 8 problems to solve in 24 minutes (given in four 6-minute pairs)
  • calculators used
  • focus on problem solving and mathematical reasoning

Team Round

  • 10 problems to solve in 20 minutes
  • calculators used
  • focus on problem-solving and collaboration
Only the 4 students from a school's registered team take this round officially.

Countdown Round

  • maximum of 45 seconds per problem
  • no calculators allowed
  • focus on speed and accuracy
This round is optional at the school, chapter and state level, and is often conducted unofficially. Watch the video of the 2019 Countdown Round webcast to see what this round is like.
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The Role of a Competition Coach

Every good coach should:

  • Schedule and run practices for participating students.
  • Help motivate and encourage students.
  • Select the 1-10 Mathletes who will represent the school at the Chapter Competition in February.
  • Take the students to the Chapter Competition or arrange with a parent or volunteer to get them there.

Coaches do not need to:

  • Know how to solve every MATHCOUNTS problem. See resources below for why!
  • Spend their own money to be effective. See resouces below for why!
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New Coach Practice Plans

These MATHCOUNTS Practice Plans were developed specifically with new coaches in mind to help with competition preparation. They cover a variety of topic areas at an introductory level for students new to MATHCOUNTS. Each plan takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour to complete.

Practice plans have four parts:

  • Warm-up: To warm-up, Mathletes will start with a short problem set to practice related skills that will be expanded upon throughout the practice plan.
  • The Problems: To introduce a common type of MATHCOUNTS competition problem and/or a helpful problem-solving strategy, Mathletes will watch a video which solves and expains the approach to two or three problems.
  • Piece it Together: Building on the warm-up and the video, Mathletes will combine their prior knowledge and the strategies they learned to solve another set of related problems.
  • Optional Extension: Each practice plan will have an activity, puzzle or game as an option to end with. The extension will be related to the concept the problems explored and give Mathletes an opportunity to have a little fun and/or be creative with the problem-solving skills!
Making the Most of Your Free Resources

2020-2021 MATHCOUNTS School Handbook

Hard copy mailed to every coach + free online resource for registered coaches at the Coach Dashboard.

  • 200 problems designed to prepare students for every test round plus 50 more online
  • answer key + step-by-step explanations of how to solve each problem
  • watch Using the MATHCOUNTS School Handbook

Past MATHCOUNTS Competitions

Free online public resource for everyone

  • last year's official School, Chapter and State Competitions
  • each competition includes all 4 rounds + answer keys

Interactive MATHCOUNTS Platform

Free online public resource for everyone

  • past and current handbook and competition problems
  • lots of interactive and collaborative features for students and coaches to use

Powered by NextThought, one of our national sponsors.


Free public resource for everyone online + through the App Store

  • app featuring lots of past MATHCOUNTS problems
  • real-time leaderboards for students to compete with each other for the top score

Presented by Art of Problem Solving, one of our national sponsors.

Problem of the Week (POTW)

Free online public resource for everyone

  • new problem released each Monday
  • each problem is multi-step and relates to a timely event
  • archive of a full year of problems


Free online public resource for everyone

  • new video released each month
  • each video covers a particular math skill and comes with a downloadable problem set

Featuring Richard Rusczyk, MATHCOUNTS alumnus and founder of Art of Problem Solving.

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Learn More
If you'd like more information:
You can lead your students to success in the Competition Series using the free resources above, but if you are interested in purchasing additional materials or prizes for your students:
Contact us anytime at! We're happy to help with any questions you have about coaching, the Competition Series or resources available to you.