Berry College

7th/8th Grade

Math Competition




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Multiple Choice Exam

The seventh and eighth grade multiple choice exam – also called the written exam – is a series of twenty multiple choice questions given over a twenty minute period. Each question usually has four or five answers from which the contestant may choose. The contestant chooses his/her answer and bubbles in the appropriate block on his/her Scantron. At the end of the twenty minutes the Scantrons are collected and scored electronically. Each question is worth five points; that leads to a total of one hundred possible points per student on the written exam. Any alternates will also have their Scantrons collected and scored; but their scores will not count toward the team's total score. Note that calculators are NOT allowed.

Sample Multiple Choice Exam

Ciphering Questions

The seventh and eighth grade “ciphering” portion of the competition consists of ten questions, each on a half-sheet of paper, distributed one at a time. Each question is given to a student face down. When told, the student may turn the question over and attempt to answer it. The student must place ONLY the answer in the answer box provided. The student is welcome to clutter the rest of the paper with scratch work. If the student submits a correct answer within one minute, he/she receives ten points. If the student submits a correct answer within the second minute, he/she receives five points. After two minutes, no more answers are collected.

How are so many questions graded? There are three individuals who remain at the front of the competition area. The student coordinator calls times out, such as “Begin,” “You have one minute left,” and “Time is up.” The faculty coordinator enters the points earned for any student who answers the question correctly. Probably the most rigorous task is that of our grader, a gracious volunteer of the math faculty of Berry College . This individual must go through each submitted answer and determine if the answer is correct or incorrect against a provided solutions guide. The grader will then write the correct number of points on the “ciphering” question and pass it to the faculty coordinator. Past graders have included Mr. Donald Sparks, Dr. Arthur Sparks, and Dr. Eric McDowel .

Sample Ciphering Questions

Team Questions

The team questions at the Berry College Math Tournaments are a set of five questions that may be answered by a group of up to four students. Each school may only submit one set of answers for their school. The questions are similar to the questions on the written test and the “ciphering” questions; however, they might be more computationally intensive since there are usually multiple brains on the job. An answer blank is provided for the answer to each question. Each question is worth ten points; occasionally, a question will have parts – we try to limit that as much as possible, however.

Sample Team Questions



Berry College Math Competition: Information

Team : This competition is open to all seventh and eighth grade students. Each school may enter four competitors; each school is also allowed a maximum of four alternates.

The Competition : The competition is divided into three sections.

I) Written Test : The written test may be taken by all team members; however, the alternates' scores will not count toward the school's total. Answers to the written test are scored by Scantron; therefore, students should bring a #2 pencil. Calculators are not permitted on the written test; scratch work may be done on the written exam itself. Students will have twenty minutes to complete the twenty questions of the written exam. Each correct answer is worth five points; no points are deducted for incorrect answers. No teamwork is allowed on the written test. The student may keep the written test; but the scantrons will not be returned.

II) Ciphering Questions : This portion of the competition consists of ten questions distributed one at a time. Answers to the ciphering questions should be placed in the rectangular area on the question itself. Scratch work may be done on the question as well; but please note that the answer area should contain only the answer. If the student needs more scratch paper, he/she should either bring scratch paper or use blank space on the pages of the written exam. No teamwork is allowed for this portion of the competition. Correct answers are worth ten points if collected during the first minute and five points during the second minute. No points are deducted for incorrect answers.

III) Team Questions : The final portion consists of a set of five questions that any four members of the team may work on; the teams have twelve minutes to complete the questions. Each question is worth ten points, meaning a team may add up to fifty extra points to their school's total score. Only one set of answers will be collected for scoring.


Scoring : Individuals may score up to 200 points: 100 for the written test and 100 for ciphering. Individuals will only be considered for individual awards if they participate in both the written test and the ciphering questions. If the sponsor chooses to make a substitution between the written test and the ciphering round, the member's score on the written test will be combined with the substitute's ciphering score and treated as a single individual's score.

Teams may score up to 850 points: 400 from individual written scores, 400 from individual ciphering scores and 50 from the team questions. Since the team questions are a team effort, the sponsor should feel free to substitute any and all alternates. Awards for teams are based on the total score.

Tiebreakers : It is often the case that ties occur for first, second or third places – in both individual scores and team scores. In such cases, tiebreaker questions will be used to resolve the ties.

I) Individual ties : In the case of individual ties, the students who tied will be called to a table at the front and given a question similar to those from the ciphering round. The first student to give the student coordinator a correct answer will win the tiebreaker. Please note that if the student gives the coordinator an incorrect answer, he/she will be given the question back and should continue to work on it . It is possible that he/she may still submit the correct answer before his/her opponent(s). If it is the case that three individuals tie for first place, two individual tiebreakers will be given to determine first and second places; the remaining student will be awarded third place. If it is the case that four or more individuals tie for first place, three individual tiebreakers will be given to determine first, second and third places, respectively. Any remaining student(s) do not qualify for individual awards.

II) Team ties : If two teams tie, then each team should select any four members to participate in the tiebreaker. Each team member will be given a question similar to those from the ciphering round. The students will have sixty seconds to work on the questions. If a student submits the correct answer within thirty seconds, ten points will be awarded toward the tiebreaker score. If a student submits a correct answer after thirty seconds but before the sixty seconds has elapsed, five points will be awarded to the tiebreaker score. Each student may submit an answer only once. When the sixty seconds have elapsed, the student coordinator will total the tiebreaker score for each team. The team with the higher tiebreaker score will win the tiebreaker.

If the teams tie in the tiebreaker, there are two possible outcomes:

A) If the same number of students from each team acquired correct answers, then those students who attained the correct answer will participate in an individual tiebreaker. The same format for individual tiebreakers will be followed. The first student to submit a correct answer will be declared the victor, and his/her school will win the tiebreaker.

B) With the team tiebreaker scoring format, it is possible for more students on one team to acquire the correct answer than on the other team, yet still have the same team tiebreaker score as the other team. In this case, the team that acquired more correct answers will be declared the team tiebreaker winner.

Please note that teamwork is not allowed for any part of the team tiebreaker.

Seating : During the written exam, sponsors should place their team members at different tables as close to the front of the room as possible. Alternates should sit toward the back and, if applicable, any far sides of the room .

Sponsors : During the Written Test, sponsors are encouraged to enjoy the refreshments kindly provided by Dr. Moldavan. The location of these refreshments will be announced just before the written exam begins. At that time, sponsors will receive a copy of the test along with an answer key. This gives the sponsor an opportunity to anticipate questions (and perhaps complaints!) from their students.

Feedback : The faculty and student coordinators work hard to make sure this competition runs smoothly and that errors are minimized. Nonetheless, mistakes do pop up. If the faculty and student coordinators fail to catch a mistake before you do, please do not hesitate to tell us! We want to correct errors as soon as possible.

If you have suggestions, complaints (or compliments?), but they occur to you after the competition has passed, all hope is not lost! You can contact Dr. Moldavan via e-mail at . The student coordinator, Matt Leonard, can be reached at . We welcome any and all feedback.