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The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition is administered by the Mathematical Association of America . In usual years it is 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.

However, becasue of COVID-19, the 81st Putnam Competition, originally scheduled for Fall 2020, will be postponed to Feb. 20, 2021The Virginia Tech Regional Mathematics Contest, which usually serves as a "mini Putnam" is also being postponed, maybe the 42nd Contest will take place next Spring (2021). 


In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the Putnam Competition this year will be administered entirely remotely with no on-campus, proctored venues. Students will be able to download the exam on Feb. 20, 2021 from wherever they are residing, solve the problems on clean white paper, and upload their solutions to our exam platform. Students will receive scores for each problem and supervisors will receive a score report for all students from their institution. Unfortunately, there will be no prizes, no awards, and no national recognition of high-scoring participants.


As the Putnam Competition is unofficial this cycle, it presents returning and new students with unprecedented opportunities for transparency, preparation, and feedback. In particular, students can:


  • Take the Putnam Competition under formal testing conditions and solve real Putnam problems.
  • Assess their current skill level and prepare for the next official competitions as solutions will be graded but not recorded.
  • Familiarize themselves with the types of problems on the competitions and delve into higher mathematical problem-solving.


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.

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