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Putnam Competition

The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition is the preeminent mathematics competition for undergraduate college students in the United States and Canada. The Putnam Competition takes place annually on the first Saturday of December. The competition consists of two 3-hour sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. During each session, participants work individually on 6 challenging mathematical problems.

The Putnam began in 1938 as a competition between mathematics departments at colleges and universities. Now the competition has grown to be the leading university-level mathematics examination in the world. Although participants work independently on the problems, there is a team aspect to the competition as well. Prizes are awarded to the participants with the highest scores and to the departments of mathematics of the five institutions, the sum of whose top three scores is the greatest.

83rd PUTNAM COMPETITION UPDATE

The 83rd William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition competition will take place on Saturday, Dec. 3, proctored in-person on campuses across the US and Canada. Supervisors (faculty members) can register their institutions for the competition starting Sept. 1. Participants (undergraduate students) can register for the competition starting Sept. 26 once a supervisor from their institution is registered and approved. By registering, participants are assigned a Putnam Identification Number (PIN) upon registration, which they need in order to participate in the competition on Dec. 3. Any college or university in the United States or Canada that wishes to offer the competition to their students must name a regular faculty member to serve as the local supervisor of the competition. Learn more here.


Important Information for Supervisors

The Putnam Competition consists of an A session and a B session that both take place on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022. Review the following documents to prepare for competition day:

 

 


The 83rd Putnam Competition Problems and Solutions

The 83rd William Lowell Putnam Competition Problems and Solutions are now available to download. Follow the links below to access the PDF files. Problems and solutions starting from the year 2017 can be found on the Putnam Competition Archive page.

  83rd Putnam Competition Problems A Session    83rd Putnam Competition Problems B Session  

83rd Putnam Competition Solutions A Session     83rd Putnam Competition Solutions B Session

 

The 82nd WILLIAM LOWELL PUTNAM COMPETITION RESULTS

Click here to access the 82nd Announcement of Winners, which includes Putnam Fellows, next highest ranking individuals, honorable mentions, Elizabeth Lowell Putnam Prize winners, winning teams, and teams earning honorable mentions.

Click here to access the press release for the 82nd William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition.

Results for past William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competitions can also be found here.

 


Preparing for the Putnam

The Putnam Competition covers a range of material in undergraduate mathematics, including elementary concepts from linear algebra, modern algebra, analysis, and number theory. Below are some books available for purchase that may help students prepare for this exam:

 

FAQs for the 83rd Putnam

  1. Q. When is the 83rd Putnam Competition?

    A. Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022

  2. Q. Is the 83rd Putnam Competition official?

    A. Yes, the Putnam Competition will be in its standard format. We will have an individual competition and a team competition with awards, prizes, and honorable mentions. The competition will take place on Dec. 3rd, 2022, proctored in-person on campuses across the US and Canada.

  3. Q. When does supervisor registration open?

    ​A. Sept 1., 2022

  4. Q. How do students register?

    A. Click the student registration link above starting Sept. 26. Please note: your supervisor must be registered and approved before you can register. 

  5. Q. I have a bachelor’s degree. May I participate?

    A. No. The Putnam Competition is open only to actively enrolled undergraduate students who have not yet received a bachelor’s degree.

  6. Q. May I participate in the Putnam Competition without an association with an institution?

    A. No. If you are not regularly enrolled in an undergraduate institution in the US or Canada, then you are ineligible to participate. If you meet the eligibility requirements but your institution does not have a Putnam local supervisor, ask a faculty member (perhaps the math department chair) to become the Putnam local supervisor for your institution. If no faculty member is willing to play this role, then you will be unable to participate.

  7. Q. I am a degree candidate at one institution but temporarily at another. May I participate?

    A. Yes, and you could compete for either institution.

  8. Q. Must I have a high school diploma to participate?

    A. No. Students who are concurrently in high school but are taking classes at a US or Canadian college or university on a regular basis are deemed to be “regularly enrolled” undergraduates. Please note, a student may participate in the official Putnam Competition at most four times. Generally, we discourage high school students from exhausting their eligibility. If you are not regularly enrolled as an undergraduate at an institution of higher education, then you are ineligible.

  9. Q. Is there a limit to the number of times a student can participate in the competition?

    A. Yes. The limit is four, not counting the 81st (unofficial) Putnam competition that took place in February 2021.

  10. Q. I am a foreign student who is currently enrolled in a US or Canadian institution. May I participate?

    A. Yes.

  11. Q. I am regularly enrolled in a US or Canadian institution, but I am taking a year off. I intend to return to my institution next year. May I participate?

    A. Yes.

  12. Q. I will be away from my home institution competition day. Can I still participate in the competition?

    A.  Possibly. Arrangements can sometimes be made to take the exam at another registered institution. Discuss this with your local supervisor.

  13. Q. I’ve registered. What do I need to bring with me to the exam room?

    A.  Bring pencils or pens (blue or black ink) and the PIN number that you were given at the registration platform. Nothing else is needed. Supervisors provide clean, white paper. Calculators, computers, references, and drawing tools are not allowed, and cell phones must be turned off and stowed away during the exam.

  14. Q. What is the registration deadline for supervisors and institutions?

    A. Nov. 15, 2022

  15. Q. What is the registration deadline for student participants?

    A. Dec 3, 2022