the dynamics of each round

Each WMC Qualifying competition currently has 9 assessed rounds. These are:

Purpose To help build life-long friendships and respect diversity
Duration Within the Opening Ceremony
Style Introduction and mathematical activities usually associated with the culture of the host venue and country. The Codebreaker and Open rounds are introduced during this session too.
Purpose To test one’s mathematical knowledge and skills in a conventional, yet challenging way.
Duration 1.5 hours
Style A traditional multi-choice response examination paper.
Nature of submission Write the choice on an answer sheet.
Notes Simple marking: 1 for correct, 0 for incorrect
Purpose To inspire strategic thinking to win a quick 1v1 mathematical game.
Duration Heats: 2 sessions under 1 hour each
Finals: About 0.5 hours
Style Participants face each other 1 v 1 in a short game. Students may face multiple opponents. Subtle rule changes may happen at any time.
Nature of submission After each duel (played with pen/paper), 3 stickers are awarded for a win, 1 for a draw and 0 for a loss. The finals is an instant knockout.
Purpose To spark one's creativity when asked to find mathematical patterns from limited data.
Duration Heats: 2 sessions under 1 hour each
Finals: About 0.5 hours
Style For each code, two data pairs are projected in sight. The next data pair will have one of its values missing, and participants must identify this missing value. If correct, they receive a sticker and it is then revealed on screen. This process is repeated for each code. Codes could be mathematical or abstract.
Nature of submission Heats: Write the missing value on a grid within the time limit. One sticker is awarded immediately for each correct answer.
Finals: Finalists are positioned in a horseshoe shape facing a projected screen. In turn, they have to quickly say out loud the next data value. If correct, a sticker is awarded. If not, the next participant attempts the same one.
Notes The number of stickers determine a participants ranking.
Purpose To enhance one’s conceptual knowledge under timed pressure.
Duration 1 hour
Style Teams sit as a pair and as a single opposite each other. There are 12 questions in total. After a set of 4 questions, the team members rotate once, so all experience being in every position.
Each question has 3 stages: stage C requires a result from stage B which requires a result from stage A. Stage A and C are answered by the pair and stage B is answer by the single. So within each question, the answer of stage A is passed to the single who uses it and then passes the answer of stage B back to the pair to answer stage C. Only positions A and C may verbally communicate with each other.
Nature of submission Answers to stage A and B contribute towards the solution obtained after stage C, which is then held in the air as a final submission.
Notes Correct answers from Stages A, B and C are worth 2, 3, and 4 points each respectively.
Purpose To combine strategic thinking with communication skills when answering maths questions as quickly as possible.
Duration 1 hour
Style Each team is allocated a desk, which is part of a large loop around the edge of the space. There are 4 stations, each with 3 postboxes, spread evenly around the loop.
At each station, there is one short, one medium, and long question. Teams can choose to answer any question at any station. A runner deposits agreed solutions into the appropriate postbox by following the loop in a particular direction. This is repeated after half time with another set of 12 questions, and the runners direction around the loop is reversed to ensure fairness.
Nature of submission Solutions are written on their corresponding question papers and must be deposited upside down in the correct postbox.
Notes Earlier correct deposits are awarded more points than later ones. Incorrect solutions receive zero points. Teams are not expected to answer all questions in the time allotted.
Purpose To encourage creativity when presenting broader mathematical concepts through a given stimulus.
Duration Session 1: Planning and creation
Session 2: Presenting
Style The stimulus should be used to explore mathematics creatively. Participants then present their findings in an engaging and interesting way.
Nature of submission A presentation, to a few other teams and an adjudicator, lasting no more than 2 minutes.
Notes Emphasis is on good mathematical understanding and processes being clearly presented through any medium - video, drama, documentary, slideshow…

Marking Rubric for the Inspiration Presentations

During presentations, teams will be awarded between 0 and 2 marks for each descriptor in the table below
Criteria Communication Analysis Mathematics Presentation
Descriptors Relevant to stimulus

Easy to understand

Clear audio

Clear visuals

Care demonstrated

‘What if…’ extensions

Insight and depth

Original work (not generic mathematical routines)
Appropriate terminology used

Appropriate written notation

Accurate and correct mathematics

Limitations acknowledged
Aesthetically pleasing



Understandable message

Concise - within 2 minutes

Purpose To demonstrate knowledge through collaboration by sequentially solving mathematical problems in a fun and lively atmosphere.
Duration 1 hour
Style Each team is allocated a desk within a column of desks. A runner completes a full lap of their column, en route at one end they collect a question. When the team have a solution written on the question paper, the runner returns along the same route to check the solution.
Nature of submission Solutions are written on the question sheet. If it is correct, they earn 1 point and receive the next question. Otherwise, they must return to their table. The runner may pass on a question instead of checking a solution in the same lap. In this case, they receive 0 points and the next question.
Notes Once a question is passed, participants may not return to it.
Purpose To apply strategic problem-solving to a real-world context.
Duration 1.5 hours
Style Each team is given a practical problem, and provided the same set of resources and equipment to address it. Making calculations are an essential part of the process.
Nature of submission Teams will create a model to solve their problem. When the time is up, each model will be tested, resulting in a distance or time measurement.
Purpose To develop ingenuity while solving divergent, limited data problems.
Duration 0.5 hours per problem.
Style Each team creates a poster responding to a specified problem.
Nature of submission The poster is aesthetically pleasing, with a clearly articulated understanding of mathematical knowledge and processes.
Notes The emphasis is on how thought processes are communicated on paper.

Marking Rubric for the Open Posters

Teams will be awarded between 0 and 2 marks for each descriptor in the table below
Overall aesthetic appeal




Easy to understand/follow

Asking or analysis "What if..."

Expansion or generalisation

Appropriate mathematics

Excellent mathematics

Accuracy of answer considered

Understanding limitations

The WMC Senior and Junior Finals currently have these aditional 3 assessed rounds. These are:

Purpose To cooperate in using mathematical knowledge to produce logically rigourous written evidence.
Duration 1 hour
Style Working at a vertical wipe board away from other distractions, team members sequentially provide a written mathematical proof to the statement provided.
Nature of submission Written proofs on a wipe board can receive up to 4 marks each:
4 : Complete, concise and well explained
3: Complete, but inconcise or not well explained
2: Good progress made, a crucial step (or a few minor ones) missing
1: An appropriate attempt made
0: Nothing relevant enough
Notes Teams may return to a previously incomplete proof at any time.
Adjudicators circulate and mark each question before the team wipe it from the board.
The proofs include a range of topics: Algebra, Geometry, Number theory, Statistics, Calculus.
Purpose To cooperate with others in strategising solving cipher codes.
Duration 1.5 hours
Style Teams are set-up in the same way as for Lightning. The adjudicator has a sheet of the 4 by 5 grid (containing the label for each cipher) for each team. When deciphered correctly, each cipher reveals a simple mathematical question.
Nature of submission The runner chooses which of the 20 ciphers to solve first and returns with their answer written on the question paper. If correct they are awarded a O in that cell, if incorrect an X is awarded and they cannot attempt that cipher again. The runner selects another available cipher.
Notes All teams are issued with the same initial (practice) cipher. After this, the number of copies of each of the 20 ciphers is only about half of the number of teams; it is first-come first served.
The scoring is as follows: For every row and column, sum the (number of continuous solved ciphers)2.
Purpose To creatively use and manipulate data in such a way to make predictions.
Duration 1.5 hours
Style This may be through a computer and using a spreadsheet of data, or an orienteering type treasure hunt around the campus gathering data to create the most reliable statistical approximation you can, thus increasing your chances of locating the treasure.
Nature of submission On paper, either showing what data manipulation was carried out to arrive at the prediction, or provide your predicted location of the treasure along with the technique used to arrive at it.


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