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The University of Tennessee


The contest consists of two parts: a two-stage individual competition called FERMAT (Fundamental Exams of Remarkable Mathematical Ability and Talent), and a Math Bowl team competition. All questions and problems assume preparation in Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry. Calculators are not permitted. The day will also include recreational mathematical activities, campus tours, and opportunities to gather information about majors, departments, the university, and careers in mathematics and the mathematical sciences.

All contest participants begin the day by completing a one-hour multiple-choice exam called FERMAT I, which is then machine graded. During FERMAT I, the Department of Mathematics will offer a presentation of interest to high school teachers and chaperones. The participants who score in the top 50 on FERMAT I advance to the second stage of the competition, FERMAT II, after lunch. FERMAT II consists of essay-type mathematical problems which demand uncommon creativity and originality in their solutions. These exams are hand-graded by members of the Mathematics Department faculty.

The Math Bowl team competition is an exciting double elimination tournament in the style of the Scholars Bowl. In each match of the competition, two three-member teams compete against one another by using a buzzer system to answer 10 questions. A point is awarded to a team each time it answers a question correctly in the time allotted after its buzzer sounds. Each team must lose 2 matches before it is eliminated from the tournament. Teams will be classified according to the size of their high school (large or small). Awards will be given to two divisions of teams, based on school size, but schools will compete against one another regardless of division. Here are some Math Bowl example problems. Calculators may not be used during the Math Bowl. This competition will take place between the FERMAT I and FERMAT II competitions and after FERMAT II, while the grading of each exam takes place.

The Awards

Immediately following the championship round of the Math Bowl (about 4:00 p.m.), awards are presented as follows:

  • Engraved Plaques to students who score in the top 5 on FERMAT I,
  • Engraved Plaques and four-year, in-state scholarships at $6,000 per year to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, to students who score in the top 10 on FERMAT II,
  • Trophies and Individual Medals to the top two teams in each of two divisions (based on school size) of the Math Bowl.

Previous winners of scholarships may compete again, but they will not deprive another participant of a scholarship. Certificates of Participation for each student, an award for the top FERMAT I scorer from each high school, and Certificates of Merit for the top 50 finalists of FERMAT I are mailed to each school along with statistical results of the exams.


The size of the contest will be limited to 700 max participants. Math bowl is limited to 64 teams. Each high school may register up to 30 students, and three of its participants may form a math bowl team. If 64 math bowl teams have not registered and paid their fees by Not set yet., each high school will be permitted to enter a second team in the tournament. At the time of registration, each high school should indicate the number of teams it would like to enter. The tournament bracket is filled based on the date each team was registered. You will be notified by mail of the number of teams which were entered for you into the tournament.

Links of Interest

updated: Aug 21st 2014