Round 1 Summary Results

Hi All,

In previous years, Katie and Ricardo would include a summary of the exam, including how many qualifiers were in each grade, the most difficult questions, and other points of interest. I decided to follow up, with some additional analysis, available in the attached PDF. This was a fun report to put together.

At this point, everyone should know whether they qualified for the second round.

Please let me know if you have any questions.


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Contest Round 1 Wildcards

Hi All,

With the stunning conclusion of round 1, several people asked about a statistical summary sheet that indicates number participated, number of qualifiers, percent of questions answered correctly, and many others. I got an example from Katie, and it looks like I have a fun afternoon of grade analysis ahead of me. I will make that information available in a separate posting.

After inviting the 276 qualifying students, there is still room for what I am playfully calling “Wildcards,” similar to the sports playoff analogy. We have a limited number of spots we can make available for students that believe they could be successful in round 2. Email the contest director at to make a wildcard request. All of the requests will be considered and selected. We will then make a final decision of who will be invited from the wildcards.

So, with my next posting, Round 1 will be complete. All we have left is… Round 2!


Dean Zeller
Lecturer and Math Contest Director

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Solution Seminar Videos

The results are in for the first round of the UNC Math Contest.  I will be completing analysis of the results, to determine who will be invited back for round 2 of the contest.  There was a nice even spread of scores among the 641 submissions, so it will be easy to determine the cutoff.  All submissions will receive their score, and a cutoff will be determined.  Everyone will receive an email announcement when complete. 

Eight people from three groups show up to the solution seminar, and it was a great time.  We confirmed solutions for all 10 problems.  The video recordings of the solution seminar are available on the contest website. 

Between now and February, I will be purchasing various awards for the contest round 2 winners.  In the past, Ricardo and Katie Diaz would provide shirts, books, plaques, and other fun math-based prizes.  I certainly have ideas of what to award, but I could always use more suggestions.  If you have something specific you think would work well as a prize/award, please let me know and I will add it to the suggestions list.

If you or your students have any questions on the contest questions, grading, or procedure for round 2, please let me know.



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And with that… round 1 is complete

Hi All!

The first round of the UNC Math Contest is complete! Please do not submit any further exams.

This round went off without a hitch. We had a total of 641 completed exams, including a wide range of scores from 0 to 100. Google-forms completed the grading for me, so expect a follow-up in the next several days after I’ve made my final analysis. From the initial results, it will be straightforward to decide a cutoff for which students will advance to round two.

We also had the Solutions Seminar on Saturday, November 6th. Eight people in three groups joined in for the discussion, and it was a wonderful time. I had several requests to record the discussions, so they will be posted sometime this week.

A sincere thank-you to all who helped me organize the questions, learn the technology, and coordinate communications with everybody. I could not have done it without you. This was a wonderful learning experience, and I was happy to have this opportunity. It’s half over now, and that means we just have the other half to go.

You will hear from me again, this time with some results!


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The UNC Math Contest… BEGINS!

Hey everyone!

That wonderful time of the year has come.  Just when the fun of costumes and trick-or-treating comes down, the UNC Math Contest will keep things exciting.

An email was sent to everyone on the mailing list with a PDF of the first round. The instructions for proctoring the exam are on the first page, followed by the 10-quesiton exam and the answer sheet.  Print and make copies as appropriate for the students taking the exam.  All answers are in the form of single whole numbers.

Answers are submitted through an online form, found at  When complete, submit answers for grading. The Google form only allows for one response per email. If answers were submitted incorrectly, let me know and I can allow for another submission.

Exams must be received prior to 10:00am on Saturday, November 6th

Everyone is invited to a solutions seminar at 10:00am on November 6th in Ross 2090.  Students, teachers, and parents can meet with the contest director to discuss the testing process and potential questions for future exams.

Please let me know if you have any questions.



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Announcement — Start of the UNC Math Contest

It is time, everyone! This is the official start of the UNC Mathematics Contest!

This posting is to announce the contest dates for this academic year. Below is a summary of the dates and locations:

Thursday, October 28th: Exam questions sent to everyone on the mailing list
Friday, October 29th through Friday, November 5th: Students take first round (in school)
Saturday, November 6th, 10:00am – 12:00noon: Solution Seminar with UNC Faculty (in Ross 2090 on campus)
Saturday, February 26th: Final Round, held on UNC campus in McKee Hall

Please share this posting and PDFs with any and all who might be interested in joining in the fun and excitement.

Let me know if you have any questions.


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New Sheriff in Town

Hello everyone!

For the last 10 years, Ricardo and Katie Diaz have coordinated efforts to continue the UNC math contest. Their ongoing efforts have continued to build the reputation of the contest. Alas, the Diaz’ have retired and are passing the proverbial torch onto me.

I am Dean Zeller, Lecturer in the School of Mathematical Sciences at UNC. I particularly teach computer science, but consider myself a mathematician and teacher first. I helped the Diaz’ with various tasks in proctoring, selection of awards, and the awards banquet.

Now I am in the process of taking over all duties for the math contest. And boy, will it be a challenge! In all, I am happy to have been given this responsibility, and we’ll see where it takes us.


Firespinning with Devil Sticks
Firespinning with Dragonstaff
Posing with the Awards (lamps)

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Happy February

This design was made by a contest participant with the girih tiles from the 2019 Awards Banquet.

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UNC Math Contest 2020-21

**So that all participants and their families can stay safe, the UNC Math Contest will not hold its usual on campus events in 2020-21. In particular, there will not be a Final Round or Awards Banquet this year. **

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Happy Thanksgiving

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