Rules & General Information

The University of the Witwatersrand Mathematics Competition (WMC) began in 2018. The WMC aims to promote mathematics at all levels in Gauteng, South Africa and Africa. The competition has five levels, Middle Primary (Grades 4 and 5), Upper Primary (Grades 6 and 7), Junior Secondary (Grades 8 and 9), Senior Secondary (Grades 10,11 and 12) and Undergraduate (The first 3 years of post-secondary education).

The Wits Mathematics Competition (WMC) comprises of
two rounds:

  • The Qualifying Round will take place between 13 May and 19 May 2024, which will consist of 20 multiple choice questions to be completed in 75 minutes.
  • The Final Round for top performers, will take place on 6 September 2023 where the top 100 learners will compete in each category. The final round will consist of a 90 minute test consisting of 10 short questions and 2 proofs.

The WMC is open to all students in Africa in the appropriate age divisions. For purposes of the competition “Africa” means countries whose dialing codes begin with a “2”. 

The WMC has five age divisions: Middle Primary, Upper Primary, Junior Secondary, Senior Secondary, and Undergraduate. For South African schools these divisions correspond to grades 4-5, grades 6-7, grades 8-9, grades 10-12, and the first 3 years of tertiary education. For other countries and schools with anomalous syllabi please check with the WMC committee and your regional organizer. 

For schools that do not follow a Southern Hemisphere calendar, participants are considered to be in the grade they are in during the final round (usually scheduled for September or October).

A participant who has completed grade n is considered to be in grade n+1. For example, a participant taking a year off between school and university is considered a first year university student. 

All entrants must be entered under exactly one local organiser. 

A local organiser is generally a teacher organising a school. It may also be a parent organising a homeschool, a coach of a maths club organising their trainees, some other adult organising a well defined group of participants, or, in the case of a university, a lecturer or graduate student organising the competition.

All local organisers may enter as many entrants as they like, cost free.

In each of the four youngest divisions (all excluding undergraduate) schools will be ranked by the ranks of their top five entrants. For example a school with five students placing 10th, 20th, 30th, 40th and 50th would accumulate a score of 150 and be ranked above a school with a score of 151 and below a school with a score of 149.

Learners are ranked by their score on the final round with ties broken by qualification round scores. 

Schools with fewer than five learners are not eligible for team prizes. 

The organisers reserve the right to select the score cutoff for participation in the final round. However, we will generally aim for somewhere between 100 and 200 finalists per age division.

Elite math’s clubs and other entering non-schools are not eligible for team prizes but may be awarded special prizes at the organisers’ discretion. The organisers reserve the right to decide on a case by case basis whether an individual group is a school or not should it be unclear.  

University students may form teams of their own with at most seven participants (and at least five). Importantly such students are expected to write as individuals but their ranks will be computed as described above and winning teams will be announced. No formal prizes will be awarded. We expect creative team names from the university entrants. 

In cases of suspected dishonest behaviour the WMC committee will refer the case to the external ethics committee. By entering the competition all entrants agree to be bound by their arbitration. This may include suspension from future competitions for the participants and/or the school. 

As is usual for maths competitions, participants are allowed pens, pencils, paper, eraser, ruler, compasses, and wastepaper baskets. The use of calculators, other electronic computing devices  (including cell phones and smart watches) and protractors are not allowed. 

In the case of learners who are not comfortable with English a bilingual-dictionary may be used. This should be limited to dictionaries used for translation between human languages. Dictionaries which explain mathematical terms may not be used.

No questions can be asked of the invigilator relating to the paper.

The final (second) round is exclusively for top performers on the first round (top n per age division). It is typically at Wits or at Satellite venues for learners in other provinces and countries. The date of the final round is September 13th.