General

I have a question about PUMaC. What do I do?
Contact us! The fastest way to reach us is by emailing us at pumac@math.princeton.edu. We will do our best to get back to you as soon as possible (usually within 24 hours).

What happens if I have an urgent question on competition day?
If you've already made it to campus, ask any volunteer or PUMaC staff member (who will be wearing PUMaC shirts). They can help you find the right person to answer your question. Competing teams will also be given a phone number they can call to reach someone on the PUMaC staff.

How will PUMaC communicate with teams and competitors?
Before competition day, we will communicate primarily through email. During competition day, we will make announcements through our Facebook page or through proctors, if applicable. If we need to reach a coach urgently, we will utilize the phone number the coach provided to us during registration.

How many coaches/supervisors/parents can/should come?
Each team should be accompanied by one adult. Any other visitors are welcome to come, but we cannot guarantee that we will have lunch available for them.

Will PUMaC sell shirts this year?
Yes! We will be selling shirts on the day of the competition. We will also have a limited number of “antique” PUMaC shirts from past competitions for sale.

Where are the archived PUMaC results from past years?
Due to the move to our new website, all results were removed in an effort to standardize them before republishing. If you need to access results, please email us at pumac@math.princeton.edu with the year of results you wish to access. Thank you for your patience!

    Registration

    Check out the Registration Info page for full details, and please feel free to email us if anything is unclear.

    Wait, so there are two competitions?
    Yes. The Main Competition is held on-campus, and consists of a Power Round (made available a week in advance), Individual Tests, a Team Round, a Live Round, and Individual Finals. For teams unable to come to Princeton, there is also the Power Competition in which teams only take the Power Round and are ranked separately. We recommend the Main Competition for all teams that can make it to campus.

    Can we participate in both Competitions?
    No.

    Are there A and B Divisions in the Power Competition?
    No. All teams take the same Power Round an are ranked together.

    There aren’t any teams near me, but I have some friends I met at [insert math camp here]. Can we compete as a team?
    Unfortunately, no. PUMaC teams must come from a well-defined geographic region. If you contact the PUMaC staff, we can help put you in touch with other teams in the area, if applicable. You are also welcome (and encouraged) to apply to PUMaC as an individual.

    Why can’t I have more than two teams?
    Unfortunately, due to space and volunteer limits, PUMaC is only able to accept about 70 teams each year to its on-site competition.

    Why can’t I compete in Division B? I don’t think we are good enough for Division A!
    If you have done well in past years, then your team may be required by the Director to compete in Division A. If you feel that there has been a technical error or that your team genuinely does not belong in Division A, please contact us.

    What kinds of payment do you accept?
    We accept payment via credit card or check. Payment details will be provided to coaches after the team is accepted. If you are unable to pay using either method and/or will have difficulty paying within the payment window, please contact us.

    If my team only wants to take the Power Competition, how do we register? I only see one application form.
    Registration occurs through the same platform. There will be a place to indicate you are registering for the Power Competition.

    I registered, and I want to change something on my application, but the website won’t let me! Why?
    You are welcome to change application details before the registration deadline, but after the deadline everything is locked. To change your application details after the deadline, please contact us ASAP.

    When does our team information (such as student names and subject tests) need to be finalized?
    Team information will be locked on Friday, November 3rd. To change your team information after that date, please contact us.

     

    The Competition

    I got to the competition late! What happens now?
    Contact a PUMaC representative ASAP. If a team is late, it may only join the competition in between rounds. For example, if a team comes an hour late, and Individual Tests have already begun, then the team can still participate in the competition but must miss the first Individual Test.

    Is it better to take [Subject 1] than [Subject 2]? I've heard fewer people usually take it…
    The general consensus among the PUMaC staff is that the advantages of taking one test over another for strategic reasons are slim, and it is recommended that students choose tests they are comfortable with (keeping in mind, of course, that only the top 5 scores in each Individual Test count toward the Team score).

    Can we challenge a problem if we feel it is ambiguous or the solution is incorrect?
    Yes, feel free to contact a volunteer, and they will direct you to the right people to discuss the matter with.

    I think someone cheated. What do I do?
    Tell a volunteer as soon as possible. Such situations are dealt with on a case-by-case basis, but in general are not tolerated.

    What if I am caught cheating?
    Such situations will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. At the very least, the cheating individual will be disqualified, and the team will have to compete with the remaining individuals.

    Wow, I can’t solve all these Power Round questions. Is that ok?
    Certainly! The Power Round is supposed to be hard – we are testing competitors with some difficult concepts, and most, if not all, teams will have trouble finishing the test. Solving just a couple of the problems is already a huge accomplishment.

    Are there different Individual Finals exams for the two divisions?
    Yes. Division B Individual Finals will have slightly easier problems.

    I think something is not clear with the Power Round. What do I do?
    You may email us during the testing period, and we will do our best to email you back with a clarification. The Problem Czar may also choose to set up a forum (e.g. a Piazza) on which inquiries can be posted. However, please do so as soon as possible; we cannot promise to answer any inquiries received immediately before the deadline.

    I think something is not clear with a question on competition day. What do I do?
    Contact your proctor, who will escalate it to the Problem Czar if necessary. If a clarification is needed, it will be issued.

     

    Lunch

    Will lunch be served?
    Yes. It is included as part of the registration fee.

    Will there be vegetarian and gluten-free options?
    Yes.

    Will there be lunch for parents?
    Unfortunately, we only have enough food for the participating students and one coach per team. Parents are welcome to purchase lunch from one of several retail dining locations on Princeton’s campus. Coaches will also be provided with a list of nearby restaurants. 

     

    Mini-Events

    Check out the Mini-Events page for full details about the Mini-Events!

    Do the mini-events count towards the final scores of the teams?
    No. The mini-events exist for the participants to have some fun and enjoy the Princeton campus after a morning of testing. Some mini-events may offer small awards.

    What events will be offered?
    Please check the Mini-Events page for a full listing. At the very least, we hope to offer the following each year:

    • Math Bowl
    • Puzzle Hunt
    • Rubik’s Cube Competition
    • Chess and Board Games

     

    Awards

    What awards will be offered?
    Awards will be announced during the awards ceremony, and consist of trophies, medals, and cash certificates from our sponsors.

    Will the awards ceremony go over time this year again? We really cannot afford to be held up for so long.
    We cannot promise that we will have no technical and/or grading difficulties, but we will put our best effort running the competition as smoothly as possible. If we are running late and you need to leave, please leave a mailing address with us so that we can mail you your awards, if applicable.

     

    Miscellaneous

    What are the responsibilities for a coach on competition day? What is there to do?
    Coaches are asked to be present as a responsible adult for their team; however, there are no official competition duties such as proctoring. A special area will be set aside as a coaches lounge for use by coaches all day. We will provide coaches with a list of things to do throughout the day, possibly including talks, attractions, and mini events. 

    Will a competitor be guaranteed admission to Princeton University if he or she participates in the competition? What if he or she does very well in the competition?
    No. PUMaC is completely independent from the admissions office. We encourage all of our participants to apply to Princeton for admission, and to indicate on their applications that they have participated and/or done well in the competition. The admissions office is aware that PUMaC is a serious competition, and they will consider any PUMaC results appropriately. However, this does not mean that it will grant any student admission, or even a spot on the waitlist. For more information on admissions, feel free to visit the Admissions website.