MATH Challenge

The Michigan Autumn Take Home (MATH) Challenge is a team-oriented math competition for undergraduates. This year’s competition will be held on Saturday, November 3, 2018. 

About the Exam

Teams of two or three students take a three-hour exam consisting of 10 interesting problems dealing with topics and concepts found in the undergraduate mathematics curriculum. Each team takes the exam on their home campus under the supervision of a faculty advisor.

The MATH Challenge always occurs on a Saturday close to the midpoint of autumn. The exam begins at 9:30 a.m. and ends at 12:30 p.m.

How is the Exam Administered?

A few days before the competition, the author/grader of the exam will send one large envelope to each faculty advisor of the participating schools. That envelope will contain a packet (containing the exam questions) for each team as well as single copy of the solutions. On the day of the competition, each team is provided a room to work on the exam for the three-hour period.

After all teams have submitted their solutions, the faculty advisor will distribute copies of the author’s solutions to each team member. On the following Monday, the faculty advisor will send the teams’ solutions to the author/grader.


It usually takes two to three weeks for the author to finish grading all of the exams. However, during that period, the author will provide partial scores via email. In that way, teams can get some sense of how well they are doing.

History of the Exam

In the spring of 1994, professors Mark Bollman (then at Olivet College, now at Albion College) and Timothy Sipka (of Alma College) felt the need to create a team-oriented math competition for undergraduates. That summer, with the help of Leo Schneider (of John Carroll University), the details of the competition were finalized. On November 5, 1994, 22 teams from eight different schools participated in the first MATH Challenge.