School of Mathematics and StatisticsSchool Mathematics Competition

Frequently Asked Questions


Q. Will you return my students’ marked scripts?

A. We regret that it is not possible to return marked scripts. The nature of the questions, which are both difficult and time consuming to mark, combined with our modest resources, precludes this. If schools wish to provide individual feedback, the best solution is to photocopy the students' work before returning it to us, and discuss it in the light of the solutions provided.


Q. I looked for my/my son's/my daughter's/my students' results on the web-site and couldn't find them there.

A. We regret that because of the time-intensive nature of the marking, we can only report the names of students who are awarded prizes of some sort.


Q. Why don't you provide feedback?

A. Again, it's a question of resources. We do provide model solutions, so students can look at these and compare them to what they did. If individual maths co-ordinators would like to provide feedback, they could photocopy the scripts before posting them to us, and then discuss the solutions with students.


Q. Why are the questions so different to the VCE?

A. We regard this as a strength. The competition is designed to identify and encourage mathematical talent. It is not intended to be an adjunct to the VCE. Hopefully, it also broadens the horizons of many of the students attempting the test. Given the aim of the competition, schools are encouraged to restrict entry to their more able students.


Q. Why is the last question on the paper so difficult?

A. The last question on each paper is invariably very difficult. It is designed to help us order the top two or three students in the State. At every level, completing three questions is a very good performance.


Q. What if a student is unable to sit the test at the scheduled time?

A. It sometimes happens that a group of students cannot sit the test at the scheduled time, due to camps, religious holidays or other such commitments. In that case we ask that you let that group of students sit the test only after the scheduled date/time and inform us by phone or email. Put the test papers of that group of students in a separate envelope, with a note attached indicating the circumstances.

In the event that any such students are prize-winners, we reserve the right to contact the mathematics co-ordinator to seek reassurance that the student concerned has the ability to perform at that level, and has not been the beneficiary of any information that may have been passed on by other students who sat the test at the scheduled time.

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