Putnam Club

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Organizers: Gheorghe Craciun, Alexander Hanhart, Mihaela Ifrim, Botong Wang

The Putnam Exam, offered by the Mathematical Association of America, is the premier American math competition for undergraduate students. It is given each year on the first Saturday in December. The exam consists of 12 problems, 6 in the 3 hour morning session and 6 in the 3 hour afternoon session. Each problem is worth 10 points, so the maximum score is 120. National winners usually get around 100 points. The median score is generally around 0-2 points. This is a difficult exam with many interesting and fun problems.

Old exams and more information on the Putnam competition.

The UW is also participating in the Virginia Tech Regional Mathematics Contest. This is an individual competition with seven problems in 2.5 hours. Many schools use it as a kind of rehearsal for the Putnam. You can find more information over here.

We also hold our own UW Madison Undergraduate Math Competition in the spring; for this academic year, it is tentatively scheduled in April 2019.

Fall 2018

The Putnam Club will help you prepare for the exam by practicing on problems from previous years and other olympiad-style problems. The meeting time is 5pm on Wednesdays in VV B139. The first meeting will be on the 26th of September in Van Vleck hall, room B139.

! Important announcement: We put together a Piazza account that will help the participants to discuss and collaborate with their pairs. Here is the link you need to access in order to register for this "class": piazza.com/wisc/fall2018/putnam2018 . Our intervention on Piazza will be minimal (some of the instructors will, from time to time, visit the piazza questions and provide some help). Also, based on your requests, we have decided to structure our meetings in a way that will provide more insight on methods and certain tricks that are very often used in this type of math competitions. The book we will mainly use as a guide in preparing our meetings is: "Putnam and Beyond" by Razvan Gelca and Titu Andreescu.


  • September 26: topic Introductory meeting by Mihaela Ifrim. We covered only the first 3 problems. I encourage you to work out all the problems!
  • October 27: Virginia Tech Math Contest: 9-11:30am in VV B115.
  • November 21: No meeting: Happy Thanksgiving!

Spring 2018

The Putnam Club does not meet in the spring, but we had the fourth annual UW Undergraduate Math Competition on April 24th, 2018, 5:30-8pm in VV B239.

Fall 2017

The Putnam Club will help you prepare for the exam by practicing on problems from previous years and other olympiad-style problems. The meeting time is 5pm on Wednesdays in VV B139.

Spring 2016

The Putnam Club does not meet in the spring, but we had the third annual UW Undergraduate Math Competition on April 19th, 2017.

Fall 2016

Spring 2016

The Putnam Club does not meet in the spring, but we had the second annual UW Undergraduate Math Competition on April 12th, 2016.

Fall 2015

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Spring 2015

The Putnam Club does not meet in the spring, but we had our first UW Undergraduate Math Competition!

Fall 2014

Fall 2013

Fall 2012

Fall 2011