2024 registration opens on 19 February. Please register before the end of March.

Dates for 2024

All five sets are held on Thursdays. The dates for 2024 are as follows.
Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Set 5  Final Challenge
11 April 16 May 20 June 25 July 22 August  Thursday 17 October

Dates for 2025

These will be available in November.

Problem sets are made available for downloading on the Tuesday of the week before administration day. You will be reminded by email when each set is available.

Rules for Problem Challenge

The following rules must be adhered to:
  • Eligibility: Children up to Year 8 are eligible to take part, and must be entered in their correct year. The competition is normally restricted to Years 6, 7 and 8, although it is possible to enter very able Year 5 children and classify them as Year 6.
  • Security: Each set of questions is provided a few days before the administration day to give you time to make sufficient copies for your pupils. The original and copies must be kept secure.
  • No preparation: Prior to each Problem Challenge set you must not prepare the children specifically for any problems on the set. Although you will have seen the questions and answers beforehand, any “problem solving” instruction given to the children must be of a general nature and must not give them any special advantage. We want honest assessments of your pupils’ abilities.
  • Duration: Children should be given 30 minutes to complete each set. If children finish early, you must not mark their work until after the 30 minutes.
  • No help given: You may not assist pupils during each Problem Challenge set, other than perhaps to explain the meaning of an unfamiliar word or phrase. It is important that all children throughout the country are on an equal footing. You may wish to refer to the glossary of common mathematical words that are used in the competition, and to ensure all your children understand their meanings.
  • Dates: Administer the Problem Challenge sets on the days specified where at all possible. If this is not suitable, then please arrange to do it as close as possible to this day, and standardised throughout the school if there are pupils in more than one class involved. We understand that occasionally because of school camps or sports activities the Problem Challenge set may have to be postponed to a different week.
  • Calculators: The use of calculators is permitted but should be of little advantage. All the problems we set are capable of being done “by hand”.
  • Absentees: Inevitably children will miss tests for various reasons. Teachers may at their discretion allow a child to complete a challenge later, under the usual conditions, provided they are confident the child has not seen the questions or answers. Because of the logistics involved, the awarding of certificates will be based on the total number of problems correct and cannot take absences into account.

Rules for Final Challenge

There are different rules for Final Challenge. These are explained at the time of that competition.