TMTA gave its first math contest exam in 1957. There are now six different contests for all high school students (or advanced younger students):
Each student must take the exam corresponding to the class they are enrolled in at the time of the contest (or most recently enrolled in), except that Calculus and Advanced Topics may be taken more than once.
The number eligible from each school depends on enrollment, and the method of selection is left to each school's teachers. The entry fee is $4 per student.
The contest exams are prepared at least a year in advance by college or university math departments. They are administered on the same morning in April at numerous testing centers (usually colleges or universities) around Tennessee.
Teachers receive complete results, and winners are announced for each testing center, for each region (west, middle, and east), and for the entire state. State winners (the top three in each contest) are recognized at TMTA's fall meeting.
Each exam lasts 80 minutes and consists of 40 multiple choice questions. Right answers gain 4 points, blank answers score 0 points, and wrong answers lose 1 point. Thus, completely random guessing cannot be expected to affect one's score, but educated guessing (if one or more responses can be ruled out quickly) can be expected to be beneficial.
Calculators without symbolic manipulation are allowed on all six contest exams. On Statistics, Precalculus, and Calculus and Advanced Topics, some questions are meant to be "calculator-active", while others are "calculator-neutral." On the other three exams, all questions are meant to be calculator-neutral; a student who works well without a calculator may not need one, while another student who is accustomed to working with one will probably do better with one. Calculators will not be furnished at testing centers, and students' calculators may be checked before the exams.
The success of the contests depends on three things:
· preparation of students and promotion of the contests by high school teachers
· smooth operations at each testing center before, during, and after the contests
· well-designed, appropriate exams
The latest contest brochure contains more detailed information. If you have questions about the contest, contact the Contest Coordinator, Rebecca Darrough (email@example.com). If you are interested in helping write any of the six contest exams, contact the Examinations Director, David Ray (firstname.lastname@example.org).