The 2017 Canadian Open Mathematics Challenge
— Nov 2/3
Frequently Asked Questions
Eligibility and Registration Inquiries
Exam Format and Procedures
How do schools receive students' participation and award certificates?
When the final results are announced, teachers/organizers will be able to log in
to their accounts to download and print participation certificates for all of their students.
Awards certificates are only provided for official participants who achieve a high ranking, which are also available for teachers/organizers to download and print. For students in Canada, award certificate plaques are mailed to their schools.
What is the date and location for the COMC?
The 2017 COMC will be held on
Thursday, November 2nd
in Canada and the Americas (anywhere in North/South American time zones), and on
Friday, November 3rd elsewhere in the world.
The exam is held locally (usually in your school) at a location arranged by the teacher or organizer coordinating the competition.
Is the COMC an online or paper-based exam?
It is a paper-based exam.
How long is the exam?
The competition is 2.5 hours.
Are calculators permitted?
No. Calculators and mobile phones are not permitted.
Are dictionaries allowed?
Yes, dictionaries are allowed during the exam.
I have a special needs student. Do you provide the exam in special formats?
The CMS will try to accommodate students who require an alternative exam format. Please notify the CMS office
as soon as possible if you are supervising a student who needs a special exam format.
How can students prepare for the exam?
The CMS will post a sample practice problem each week, starting the first week of September. Solutions are posted the following week when the next problem is posted.
Please see the Problem of the Week page.
Students can also
practice using an archive of past exams
and the official solutions.
What is the exam format?
The COMC exam is the same for students at all grade levels and consists of three sections:
- Four introductory questions worth 4 marks each. Partial marks may be awarded for work shown.
- Four more challenging questions worth 6 marks each. Partial marks may be awarded for work shown.
- Four long-form proof problems worth 10 marks each. Complete work must be shown. Partial marks may be awarded.
There are 80 marks overall.
Do students have to write the COMC at a particular time?
The exam must be held on the date specified. Teachers/proctors will choose the time at each school, although the CMS recommends it be done during school hours if possible.
Where are the exams sent for marking?
Schools in Canada:
a courier will arrive at each school on the day after the exam
(Friday, November 3) to pick up the package of exams. Each school will have a sufficient number of pre-paid courier envelopes, which are pre-addressed to one of the COMC marking partner institutions.
Schools outside Canada: the CMS will provide you with a Canadian address where you will need to send the exams by courier at your own cost.
Important: Only exams arriving by the deadline of
Monday, November 13th will be eligible for awards.
Is the exam available in French?
Yes. Teachers can specify how many exams in English and/or French are required when placing the order.
Payment and Shipment Inquiries
How much does the exam cost?
Within Canada: CA$15.00 per exam (minimum order of 3 exams).
International: US$20.00 per exam (minimum order of 5 exams).
Our school ordered a number of exams but find that we need more, but fewer than the minimum order size. Can we avoid the minimum order size somehow in this case? Will both orders be shipped together?
Yes, if your previous order is paid, we can accommodate you. Phone us at +1 (613) 733-2662. All orders for a given school are shipped together.
How do I pay for the registration?
Online payment is preferred. Online credit card purchases are processed using Paypal (a Paypal account is not required, but can also be used). Payments can also be made by cheque or money order received by the deadline.
What is the deadline for the payment?
All orders have to be paid by
Thursday, October 19, 2017.
The CMS reserves the right to cancel any order which remains unpaid after the payment deadline.
How do I know that the payment cheque was received?
Once payments are received, a receipt is automatically emailed to you. You can also log into your school account
and see the order status, and reprint an invoice or receipt.
Can I change my mind and pay online for my order even if I originally said I'd pay by cheque?
When are the exams shipped to the teachers/organizers?
All exams are shipped at the end of October.
The school paid for the exams, but some students will not write the exam. Can we decrease the order and get a refund?
No, due to the low cost of the exam and the non-profit nature of the COMC, there are production costs that preclude issuing refunds once the exams have been shipped.
Can I cancel ordered exams?
You can cancel an order up until
Can we get the shipment tracking number to estimate the arrival time for the exams?
All exams should arrive by
Tuesday, October 31st
at the latest. Please contact the CMS office at +1 613-733-2662 if you have not received your exams by then.
If I register by the deadline will that leave enough time for shipping the exam internationally?
Yes, the exam will be sent by international courier service and will arrive on time.
Login and account inquiries
How do schools obtain the students’ participation and award certificates?
When the final results are announced, teachers/organizers can log in
to their accounts to download and print the certificates for all students.
The top students in a region or province also receive plaques mailed to their schools.
How do I get my score?
Teachers can access all their students' scores online using their school account once marking is complete. Individual scores are not shown publicly for privacy reasons.
If one or more students' scores are unavailable, please contact the CMS office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is an 'official paper'?
To be considered official
and to qualify for awards or prizes, participants and schools must meet the following requirements:
Students or their teachers must assert (e.g. on the exam cover sheet), prior to the release of official results, that each of the following is true. Once the official results are released and announced in January, they are immutable.
- The participant must be under 19 years of age as of June 30, 2017 and
- The participant must be attending school full-time (elementary, secondary, Cégep, or home-schooled) at least since Sept 15, 2017 and
- The participant must not have written the Putnam competition.
Additionally, the participation is only considered official if it is proctored and offered under these rules:
- In North America, South America, Central America or in time zones covering these areas, the 2½ hour writing period must begin and end on
Thursday, November 2nd, between 8a.m. and 8p.m. local time.
- Elsewhere in the world, the 2½ hour writing period must begin and end on
Friday, November 3rd, between 8a.m. and 8p.m. local time.
- All exams must be proctored by officials who are not family-related to any of the participants they are supervising.
Will I get a certificate?
When the final results are announced, teachers/organizers will be able to log into their accounts to download and print the certificates for all students. For those students who have earned award(s), the certificate lists all the awards the student earned. For students who did not earn specific awards, the certificate is based on which quartile their scores fall into:
1st quartile = Performance with Distinction
2nd quartile = Performance with Honours
3rd or 4th quartile = Certificate of Participation
Will I get a plaque?
The CMS no longer issues student plaques. Students now receive a student portfolio (certificate in a commemorative folder). All students who earn a Gold, Silver or Bronze in non-grade specific categories at the regional or provincial level are eligible to receive a portfolio. All students who receive a Gold, Silver, Bronze or Honourable Mention on any of the Canada lists including grade-specific lists will also receive a portfolio.
School plaques are only given to schools where at least one student is being sent a student portfolio.
Will I receive a prize?
Anyone writing the COMC in Canada is also eligible for random draw participation prizes. Approximately 160 prizes will be distributed to participants nationally.
Are there cash prizes too?
Yes. A total cash prize pool of $2000 will be divided among the top students in Canada.
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