A school may enter as many students into ciphering as it wishes, but no students from the same school may sit next to each other. After three rounds, the top four teams will participate in the math bowl competition.

Each individual is given a booklet with one problem per page. In addition to the problem, each page will have space for scratch work, a block for answers, and a space for the individual's code. Improper code or lack of code will disqualify an answer.

All answers must be in exact, simplified form unless otherwise requested. All fractions must be reduced and all radicals must be simplified. Remember that 1 / √3 is acceptable, but 6 / √3 is not because it can be reduced to 2v3. Units are not necessary unless specifically requested, but if units are included, they must be correct.

90 seconds are allotted for each question. When students answer the question, they will raise their sheets above their heads for runners to collect. Four points are awarded for answering the question correctly within the first 45 seconds, while two are awarded for answering correctly within the remaining 45 seconds.

An individual will receive an overall score, while the team totals will be used to determine who advances to math bowl. Each school's cipherers will be ranked by score and set in teams of four from the top downward; the four teams with the highest totals will compete in math bowl.

The individual from each division with the highest total score after three rounds will receive a trophy, but no points will be added to sweepstakes.

Math Bowl

Math bowl is the semi-final and final rounds of ciphering. Teams will be seeded into a four-team bracket by total ciphering points after the three rounds of ciphering are completed. In the semi-finals, the highest and lowest scoring teams will be matched, and the second and third scoring teams will be matched. In the finals, the winners of these two will be matched for first and second place and the non-winners will be matched for third and fourth place.

Each math bowl match consists of 20 questions: 10 one-minute tossups, and 10 two-minute bonuses. Each question is worth 10 points. Any team member may answer a tossup question by raising his/her hand and being recognized by a spotter but team members will not be allowed to confer; if he/she answers correctly, the entire team may confer on a bonus question. Only captains may answer bonus questions. If a tossup is answered incorrectly, the other team has either the remaining time or 10 seconds (whichever is longer) to answer. If a bonus question is answered incorrectly, the other team may not answer. A 10-second warning will be given for both tossup and bonus questions.

See the rules for simplification in the ciphering description above.


There will be three rounds of Gemini questions from which the four highest-scoring teams will move on to a semi-finals/finals round. Each school may enter up to 3 teams per division.

Gemini will be a two-person, cooperative event consisting of a series of timed problems similar to the ciphering format. Each two-member team will work together on questions of varied type and time limit. The packet of questions will contain 3 problems per page, each scored separately. The questions will not be as subject-specific as ciphering, but will incorporate a “potpourri” of mathematics with an emphasis on logical thinking and problem solving. Ciphering simplification rules apply.

A team of members in different divisions will compete at the level of the most advanced student. There are no calculus-based questions in Gemini.


Hustle is a team event in which each team attempts to outscore its opponents by quickly solving more problems. Each team will consist of 4 members. A team can have no more than one Mu Division student and must have at least one Theta Division student. No school may enter more than two Hustle teams.

Teams receive 125 problems each round, grouped into sets of 25. These will be distributed in packets and must remain untouched until the moderator begins the round. A round will consist of several ten-minute hustles. The moderator will announce the beginning of each hustle, give five, two, and one-minute warnings and simultaneously call the end of the hustle and the beginning of the next.

By the end of each hustle, each team will submit answered items as directed by the moderator. A team may submit no more than five items of each color in any one hustle. Up to 5 items of each color must be paper-clipped together and held up before the end of the hustle to be collected by a moderator.

Each correctly answered item submitted in hustle one will score 6 points, in hustle two 5 points, etc. If a team miscounts and submits more than 5 items of one color, the incorrect items will be tallied first and any above the limit will be thrown out, thus scoring the smaller number of points.

The four teams with the highest cumulative scores after the preliminary rounds will enter the finals, which will consist of two shortened rounds. The final ranking of these four teams will be determined by the total scores of the two final rounds, with the preliminary round scores considered only if necessary to break a tie.

Ciphering simplification rules will be followed unless otherwise specified.

Students are permitted to use ACT approved calculators for this game. Please review the list of approved calculators on the ACT website


Descartes is an individual competition. Players will compete against an opponent (or two in the case of an odd number of students) with the objective of scoring the most points. Players will play four total periods per round, two periods with each of two different partners.

At the beginning of each round, players will be given an envelope with 50 points worth of cards. Each card has a question on one side with a point value of 1, 2, 3, 5, or 10 according to estimated difficulty and the answer on the other side. Players will use the same envelope of cards for the entire round.

GAME PLAY: Players will select a combination of 10 points of cards in any denomination to give to their opponent. When game play begins, each player will place the chosen cards, question side up, on the table in front of his opponent. Players will have 10 minutes to work the questions and may not pick up or touch any card during this time. PLAYERS MAY NOT WRITE ON THE CARDS. Each player should circle their answer on their answer sheet and place the answer sheet on top of the card.

SCORING: Players will check their answers and confirm with their partner if the answer is correct. If the answer is correct, the player that worked the problem will keep the card. If the answer is incorrect, the player that worked the problem will put the card in the basket. Incorrectly answered cards are out of play for the remainder of the round. The player’s score for the round is number of points in the player’s envelope at the end of the round.