Competition Rules

The following rules and instructions appeared on the front page of the Competition Question Booklet for 2018.

General rules

  • The time allowed is one hour.

There are eight questions. All students answer six questions.

Years 9 and below answer Questions 1 to 6.

Year 10 students answer Questions 2 to 7.

Year 11 students answer Questions 3 to 8.

You may attempt other questions if you like but they will not be marked.

The questions are designed to test ability to analyse a problem and to express a solution clearly and accurately.

Instructions to candidates

  1. Do as much as you can. You are not expected to complete the entire paper. In the past, full answers to three full (20 mark) questions have represented an excellent effort.
  2. You must explain your reasoning as clearly as possible, with a careful statement of the main points in the argument or the main steps in the calculation. Generally, even a correct answer without any explanation will not receive more than half credit. Likewise, clear and complete solutions to two problems will generally gain more credit than sketchy work on four.
  3. Credit will be given for partial solutions and evidence of a serious attempt to tackle a problem.
  4. Textbooks are NOT allowed. Calculators may be used and students who do not have one may be disadvantaged. Otherwise normal examination conditions apply.
  5. Diagrams are a guide only and are not necessarily drawn to scale.
  6. We recommend black or blue pens. Dark pencil is acceptable if you have nothing else. Do NOT use red or green pens, or light pencil that we cannot read.
  7. We will penalise inappropriate rounding and incorrect or absent units.

Notes for Teachers

  • If there are Form 2 (Year 8) or Form 1 (Year 7) students sitting the competition, please tell them that they are allowed to attempt Question 1. In past years some younger students did not attempt this question because they thought it was for Year 9 only.
  • Students should read the instructions on the cover of the competition paper very carefully. (Teachers may wish to read them aloud before the competition.)
  • Students should take particular note of item (2). It is quite distressing, but necessary, to penalise students for sloppy or inaccurate presentation. Teachers should stress that Answers Only receive little credit, even if they are correct. This is especially important in logic questions where it is possible to score less than 50% for correct answers which don’t have any working or explanation.
  • Note that item (4) has changed recently — calculators are now a more integral part of the curriculum.
  • Item (6) was added in 2013. The use of red and/or green pens makes grading papers more difficult, especially since the top papers are re-marked. Light pencil can be illegible, and can cost the pupil in question valuable marks.
  • Item (7) was added in 2014. This is an attempt to stop ridiculous rounding (stating an area quoted in square metres to 9 decimal places, for instance), and to encourage units to be written where necessary.