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The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition is administered by the Mathematical Association of America . Held the first Saturday in December, the exam is designed to test originality and technical competence in formal theories from various disciplines of undergraduate mathematics. For a more detailed description, please click here. For the prize structure please click here.

Registration for this year's (2019) Putnam competition will start on September 1st. Students can compete as individuals, and in addition three students represent Penn as our team in the parallel competition among universities.

Sessions on mathematical problem-solving, which served as practice sessions for the competition will be held in October and November. Dates, times, and rooms will be announced on this page (below).

Problems from Putnam exams and solutions (up through and including the 2018 exam) can be found here, along with a list of winners and information about scores.

Undergraduate students are also invited to take a "mini-Putnam" competition that takes place on Sat., Oct. 26, 2019, from 9-11:30am, in DRL room A2.  This is a regional math contest that is organized by Virginia Tech, and which is given at each participating university to students who register.  For more information about this event, the Virginia Tech Regional Math Contest, see this page.

For advice on how to write up solutions to problems, Putnam participants may find this page helpful.

Those who are interested in participating in the Putnam Competition, or in the Virignia Tech Regional Math Contest, should contact Prof. Mona Merling, the faculty advisor for fall 2019.  Based on the number of those who indicate their interest in taking the Putnam Competition, the Putnam organization will allocate slots to Penn this year.  Those who do not indicate their interest early can still take the Putnam if they show up at the exam and if enough slots become available as a result of some others not showing up.  Preference will be given according to when students indicate their intent to participate in the Putnam Competition.  (For the past two years, all those who arrived at the exam were able to participate, as a result of others not appearing.)


Practice sessions int he fall of 2019 will take palce on Fridays 5:30-7:30 in DRL 3N1H, starting after fall break (and excluding the Friday after Thanksgiving, of course).


Exam dates:


Sat., Oct. 26: 9-11:30am, DRL room A2:  Virginia Tech Regional Math Contest (arrive by 8:45am to fill out registration form for this "mini-Putnam"; need to indicate interest in advance).


Sat., Dec. 7: Putnam Exam Competition, 10am-1pm and 3pm-6pm, DRL room TBA.   Arrive early to each part, to fill out the registration form before the exam starts.