Contest Rules

Contest Format

The USMCA Online Open Qualifier is a 2-hour exam consisting of 25 short-answer questions. This is a collaborative exam. Each team works together on the problems and submits one set of solutions. Thus, discussion among team members is both allowed and encouraged.

Team Composition and Eligibility

Each team consists of between 6 and 8 students from your organization, unless your organization registers exactly one team, in which case the lower limit of 6 is waived. There is no limit to the number of teams an organization can register.

Any student under the age of 20 and not yet enrolled at university is eligible to participate.

Contest Window

Each team and their coach should agree on a continuous two-hour period in which to take the contest. The test period must begin no earlier than January 8th, 2020, 12:00am EST and end no later than January 15th, 2020, 11:59pm EST. Contestants may not discuss the problems outside their team until January 16th, 2020, 11:59pm EST.

Team Coaches

Any parent, guardian, teacher, or school official of a team member may serve as team coach. Coaches are responsible for registering their teams on this site. Coaches will be able to download the contest problems from this site when the contest window opens, and will electronically submit the team's answers on this site upon the conclusion of the contest. During the contest, coaches are responsible for enforcing all rules of the USMCA Online Open Qualifier.

Computational Aids

Contestants are permitted to use rulers and compasses on the exam. All other electronic or written aids, such as books, calculators, slide-rules, graph paper, phones, and computers are prohibited. Other than their teammates, contestants may not communicate with anyone during the contest.


Each problem is worth one point, for a maximum score of 25. Ties will be broken by the last problem answered correctly, followed by the second-last problem solved correctly, and so on.

Answer Format

Answers may be any closed form expression. We will expect a reasonable effort at simplifying answers; nonetheless, recognizably equivalent closed forms of correct answers will receive credit. Answers not in closed form will not receive credit.

USMCA Circuit Points

The top 20 teams in the USMCA Online Open Qualifier earn points in the USMCA National Circuit, as described here. High-scoring teams in the Circuit qualify for the USMCA National Championship at the end of the year.


USMCA will mail trophies to the top five teams in the Online Open Qualifier.