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Faculty of Math & Computing

Math Bowl Basic and Detailed Format

Basic Format

  • All interested public and private high schools in the State of Hawaii will each designate three students to represent them on the official school team. In addition, alternates and/or practice teams may participate but not in an official capacity.
  • Each school will be assigned to one of two divisions:
    • Division AA (enrollment of 1,000 or more)
    • Division A (enrollment of less than 1,000). Any Division A school may elect to compete in Division AA.
  • To be consistent with the American Mathematics Competitions of the Mathematical Association of America, and other math competitions, the Math Bowl will not allow the use of a calculator. If there are any challenges or problems or need to resolve any question, then the decision of the Judges shall be final.

Detailed Format

Math Bowls I to XXI consisted of 10 rounds. In each round, the team of 3 high school students worked on one problem together. The following numbers represented the number of points per problem as well as the number of minutes that the teams had to determine the answer: 4, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 8, 8, 9, 10. Half-time separated the first 6 problems from the last 4 problems. The Math Bowl has participants play an 8-round format. Five of the rounds will be run the same as we have done in the past from Math Bowl I to XXI. From Math Bowl XXII, three of the rounds will be arranged in a different format. Following is a description of what will be done in each round.

1st Round

10 minutes/15 points. There shall be three problems, ranging from easy to moderate. The point values for each problem will be 4, 5, and 6. Students may work together on all three exercises.

2nd Round

5 minutes/5 points.

3rd Round

6 minutes/6 points.

4th Round

7 minutes/7 points.

5th Round

8 minutes/18 points. There shall be three problems. Each problem shall be worth 6 points each. The exercises shall be of moderate difficulty. The exercises shall be done individually, where each member of the three-member team shall do one problem. The three categories of problems shall be specified by the problems committee and might be algebra and plane geometry, trigonometry and analytical geometry, and probability and statistics. The coaches shall be informed before the contest begins. Before receiving the problems, the students and the coach, if necessary, shall decide who will do which category of problem. The chair that the student occupies at each team's table (for example, left, middle, or right) will determine which category of problem the student will do.

Half Time


6th Round

9 minutes/9 points.

7th Round

15 minutes/20 points. There shall be three problems, ranging from easy to very difficult. The point values for the problems will be 4, 6, and 10. Students may work together on all three exercises.

8th Round

10 minutes/10 points.

At least one tiebreaker problem shall be prepared to determine one first-place, one second-place, and one third-place winner in each class (A or AA), if necessary. If there is still a tie for the top three places in each class, then the Math Bowl Chairperson shall determine a fair way to break the tie. Note that the total amount of time that the students shall spend in the competition will be approximately 70 minutes, with the first half 36 minutes and the second 34 minutes. The maximum possible point value is 90 points. The total number of problems is 14. For the 1st and 7th rounds, each member of the team will get all three problems, stapled together and color-coded. Each team will get an answer sheet, which they hand in after filling in their 3 answers and school name. For the 5th round, each member will only get one problem, which will be color-coded for the category.

Relating the Rounds to the Students

Rounds 1 and 7 address the depth of the team. Round 5 measures each team's specialization in different mathematical topics and depth. The other rounds, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8, indicate how well team members work with each other. There is an advantage to having teams having three very good students vis a vis one excellent student and 2 average students.