Tournament Rules

General | Registration | Testing | Awards | Calculators | Grading

Some of these rules apply only to our traditional February competition (HMMT). Please see the addendum for HMMT November (HMNT) here.

General Information


Three individual tests (Algebra, Geometry, and Combinatorics) and two team events (the Team Round and the Guts Round) will comprise the major events of the Tournament.

We have two types of team tests. Each team can choose to take either the 'A team test' or the 'B team test'. The A team test will be composed almost exclusively of difficult proof problems. The B team test will have simpler proofs and/or short answer questions, designed so that teams with less experience with proof questions can have an enjoyable problem solving experience. The B team test is worth roughly half of the A team test for sweepstakes.


Each school may attempt to register up to 3 teams; a team comprises up to eight individuals. A team must also have a minimum of 6 individuals. We may not be able to allow all teams to attend; see our registration policy for details. The event is intended for high school students, but any student not yet in high school who wishes to compete is welcome to come. A coach may bring teams that include students from multiple schools or homeschooled students.

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Registration Policy

How do I register?

Note: Due to space restrictions, starting with the 2011-2012 school year no student may attend both HMNT and HMMT

HMMT has received an increasing number of student registrations over the past several years. Our capacity is approximately 900 students, and last year we had to turn away even some teams that registered on time.

The regular registration deadline is October 15. Organizations that register by October will be sent email by November, confirming if we have space for them to attend. We don't anticipate accepting may teams who register late.

Schools should not pay for teams until we have confirmed by e-mail that we will have space for them. In case of cancellations, we will inform schools on our wait list that they can bring (additional) teams.

How many teams can I register?

Ideally, whoever wanted to come to HMMT would be able to. Unfortunately, due to our growing popularity, we now have the following policies in effect:

  • No school or club may bring more than 3 teams.
  • The Top 40 North American teams from HMMT 2011 are automatically accepted.
  • Each school or club is allowed one further team. This may be a school's first, second, or third team.
  • The remaining spots will be lotteried among the schools and clubs that registered for more teams.
  • We will accept individuals on a case-by-case basis. This category is for students that do not have a school or regional team to compete with, not for those trying to get around the above limitations. To apply as an individual fill out the registration and e-mail us your situation.
  • The above policies do not apply to international teams. Contact us to apply as an international team; we will consider such teams on a case-by-case basis.
What can I do if you don't have room for me? I really really want to come to HMMT!

Teams unable to compete onsite are welcome to compete in our unofficial, online competition. More information is here.

My team isn't made up only of people from my school. Is that okay?

In an effort to preserve the concept of a unified team, and to prevent the formation of a "team" that just selects the strongest math students from across the nation, all members of a regional (non-school based) team should attend schools within a 100 mile diameter. Contact us if you think an exception should be made for your team. Some examples of OK/not-OK teams:

  • OK: 8 homeschoolers living in Maine
  • Not OK: 8 students who all go to school in different states but practice math together on the internet
  • OK: A team with 4 students from one school, 3 students from a neighboring school, and 1 student from another neighboring school
  • Not OK: 6 students from Florida and 2 of their friends from North Carolina
If I already registered last year, am I all set?

No. Whether or not you registered last year is irrelevant. You need to reregister every year that you compete.

Am I really supposed to determine how many students I'm bringing and which students to put on which teams by October 15th?

Before October 15, all parts of registrations may be changed freely. From October 15 through February 1, the names of students and their teams may be changed freely. After February 1, no changes will be allowed.

What if I don't have a team? Can I register as an individual?

Any student unable to find a team is welcome to register as an individual. We will admit individuals on a case-by-case basis, so you must contact us when you register.

I'm not from North America. Can I still attend HMMT?

Due to space limitations, we are forced to limit the number of international teams competing at HMMT. If you are from an international school and would like to participate, you should contact us directly at We cannot guarantee you a spot, but we will try to accommodate you.

How much does it cost to attend the competition?

For our February tournament, the participation fee for teams registered before November 1 and paid for by February 1 is $80/team. (Note that this means you should mail payment well before February 1.) If the registration fee has not been paid by February 1, it rises to $120/team, and then to $200/team on the day of the contest. As of 2009 we are charging per team, not per student. The cost for individuals remains at $15, $20, and $25 for the early, late, and day-of deadlines.

For our November tournament, see November.

How do I pay?

Schools should not pay for teams until we have confirmed by e-mail whether and how many of their students we have room for.

Make checks payable to Harvard-MIT Math Tournament. Send them to
290 Mass Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139

Are there any other policies that I should be aware of?

For our February tournament, we require each school to provide one adult per team to help proctor on the day of the contest. This proctor must be available between 10:00 and 2:00. If you can't manage to bring one proctor per team, please contact us at for an exception.

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Testing Information

Individual Tests | Guts Round | Team Round

Individual Tests

Beginning in 2012, the HMMT tournament staff has decided to move to a new individual format. All individuals will take the same three Subject Tests: Algebra, Geometry, and Combinatorics. Each test will have 10 short-answer problems and a 50-minute time limit. The new format will lead to more fair individual and team results.

Guts Round

The Guts Round is an 80-minute team event with 36 short-answer questions on an assortment of subjects, of varying difficulty and point values. Each team is seated in a predetermined spot, and the questions are divided into groups of four. At the starting signal, each team sends a runner to an assigned problem station to pick up copies of the first set of four problems for each team member. As soon as a team has answers for one problem set, the runner may bring the answers to the problem station and pick up the next set. It is not expected that students will finish all the problems. Grading is immediate and scores are posted in real time. The Guts round is worth a total of approximately 400 points.

Team Round

The A Team Round is a 60-minute collaborative event with proof-style problems, which may come from any area of elementary mathematics. Thorough justifications are required for full credit. The Team Round is worth a total of 400 points; problems are weighted according to difficulty. This round is targeted at teams comfortable with rigorous mathematical proofs.

The B Team Round is a 60-minute collaborative event (at the same time as the A team round) with a mixture of proof-style and short answer questions, which may come from any area of elementary mathematics. Thorough justifications are required for full credit on the proof questions. The B team test is worth roughly 50% of the A team test for sweepstakes.

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Prizes will be given to the ten highest-scoring individuals overall, the top ten scorers on each of the subject rounds, the five highest-scoring teams on the Team Round (A and B), and the five highest-scoring teams on the Guts Round. The top ten teams overall will be named the Sweepstakes winners. The calculation of Sweepstakes scores will be roughly half individual round performance and half cooperative round performance.

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Calculators and Other Computational Aids

You may not use books, notes, calculators, pocket organizers, slide-rules, abaci, or any other computational aids. Similarly you may not use graph paper, rulers, protractors, compasses, architectural tools, or any other drawing aids. In addition, communication devices such as laptops, PDAs, and cell phones are prohibited.

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Grading Requirements


Starting with the 2011 HMMT Tournament, there will be new scoring guidelines. An overview of the new scoring guidelines can be found in this PDF. A more technical explanation can be found in this PDF.


Complete description of acceptable answers can be found in this PDF.


If a student believes that an answer given on the answer key is incorrect, he must go to the designated Appeals Room and submit an appeal in writing. The deadline to do so will be announced on the day of the contest.

Decisions of the coordinators of the Harvard-MIT Math Tournament are final.

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