# Putnam exam

The Putnam exam is an annual math competition for undergraduate students in the US and Canada. It is widely considered to be the most prestigious university level mathematics competition in the world.

##### What is the format of the exam?

The exam consists of two 3 hour sessions separated by a 2 hour break. There are a total of 12 questions to be solved, 6 for each session. Each question is worth 10 points, for a total of 120 points.

##### When and where is the exam?

The Putnam competition is held annually on the first Saturday of December. The 2024 Putnam exam will be held on Saturday, December 7, from 9am-12pm and from 2pm-5pm in the room Math 170 in the Mathematics department. Free lunch will be provided during the 2 hour break to all students taking the exam.

##### Who can register for this exam?

Any regularly enrolled undergraduate student who has not yet received a college degree and has not participated in the competition four times is eligible. Note that you do not need to be a US citizen or permanent resident to register. You also do not need to be a math major/minor to participate. All undergraduate students at CU Boulder who are interested in mathematics are strongly encouraged to participate.

##### How do I register?

To register for the competition, please email Professor Siddhant Agrawal at Siddhant.Agrawal@colorado.edu. In the email please confirm that you are an undergraduate student at CU Boulder. Note that this exam is free to take and there are no registration charges.

##### How difficult is the exam and how do I prepare for it?

See this website for past problems and solutions of the Putnam exam. The competition is considered very difficult and the median score is usually 0 or 1 out of a total of 120 points. So even if you fully solve only one problem out of the 12, you get a score of 10 which will be significantly higher than most other students. The first two problems in each session (namely problems A1, A2 and B1, B2 respectively) are usually easier than the rest of the problems and generally do not require knowledge of advanced undergraduate mathematics. So to prepare for the exam, one should first practice solving these problems.

We will be holding several practice sessions to prepare for the Putnam exam, with the first one on October 7, 4:30-5:30pm in MATH 350.