Canada Jay Mathematical Competition (CJMC)

Canada Jay Mathematical Competition (CJMC) is a new Canadian math competition open to students in grades K-8, with questions based primarily on grade 5-8 curriculum. This competition has been created by mathematicians from across Canada.  It was renamed in 2022 from the original name Canadian Mathematical Gray Jay Competition (CMGC).

The problems are meant to be a fun fall activity for students and teachers to complement their math curriculum and build students’ problem solving skills. The CJMC offers engaging problems that allow for discussion after the competition and get students excited about math. The competition has 15 questions which take place over 90 minutes. It consists of 3 blocks of 5 questions with an increasing level of difficulty from beginning to end.

The CMS is very grateful for the support from our Competition Sponsors and Partners.

2022 Competition

The 2022 CJMC will be held on Thursday, November 17, 2022 in North and South America and on Friday, November 18, 2022 in the rest of the world.

CMS Inclusion Initiative

The CMS is committed to contributing to a more inclusive environment in the mathematical community. Funding will be made available for students who identify as Black or Indigenous to participate in the 2022 CJMC free of charge. For more information, please visit the CMS Inclusion Initiative page.

Registration

Registration for the CJMC will commence in September.  We will reach out to our previous year’s participating schools when registration opens, or you can just check this space.

Normally, all registration is done by teachers or school staff through the Teachers’ Portal, which is where they also receive the results when marked.

Special cases: The CMS also intends to provide at least some Open Writing Centres (mostly through zoom or similar) for students who want to participate but whose schools don’t have a teacher organizing this for their students.  More information about this will be posted here as it becomes available.

Online or On Paper

As in 2021, the CMS is offering the CJMC this year as an online exam (students interactive directly with our website as they solve the problems), but we also offer the options for it to be done on paper.  In both cases, the exam is to be written under proctor supervision.

For the online version (this is the usual case for our participants), teachers/proctors monitor students as they connect to our testing site using their devices.  You can read our detailed instructions and video about the CJMC Online Proctoring.

For the paper version, the CMS either prints and couriers the exam papers to the proctor/teacher, or emails it to them to be printed locally at the school.  After the exam period ends, the proctor packages the exams up and sends them by courier to a specified address.  For schools in Canada, the courier is pre-arranged for Nov 18th and pre-paid by the CMS.  Non-Canadian schools must pay their own courier fees.

Prices & Order Sizes

Prices are unchanged this year from 2021.  When placing orders, there is a minimum number of students per order, as indicated below.

Schools in Canada Price per student Minimum Order size
Online version $10CAD 3
Paper version $12CAD 5
Schools OUTSIDE Canada Price per student Minimum Order size
Online version $15USD 5
Paper version $17USD 10

Rules and Eligibility

The CJMC is based on the grade 5-8 curriculum, but is open to students in all locations, at all grade levels.

The contest can be written at any of the following locations:

  • school
  • library
  • tutoring centre
  • home school

In order to participate, students need to be registered by a proctor (teacher, librarian, tutoring centre, or a home school teacher).

By signing up for the CJMC you agree to the following rules:

  • An adult (teacher, librarian or another adult) must be present to supervise the competition;
  • Once started, students have 90 consecutive minutes to complete the test;
  • Calculators are not permitted. We recommend using scrap paper and a pencil when figuring out answers;
  • Students are to write the test individually, with no outside help
    (i.e. from other students, parents, teachers, cheat sheets, textbooks, the Internet etc.).

We count on the proctors and participants to ensure that these rules are followed.

Official Participants

To be an official participant and qualify for awards, the following additional requirements must be met:

  1. The student must be in grade 8 or below during the 2021/22 school year and
  2. The student must be attending school full-time either virtually or in person (elementary, secondary, or home-schooled) at least since Sept 15 and
  3. No mobile phones, calculators or other electronic devices are permitted. Students writing the exam “online” may use a computer or tablet only to access the exam, and an electronic device such as a cell phone may be used for supervision of a student writing remotely. Other uses of such devices are prohibited.
  4. The student must either be supervised in a school or location that the CMS has approved as an Official Competition Writing Centre* (OCWC),  or must be supervised remotely for the entirety of the exam by a proctor from a registered OCWC or a certified teacher under the ministry of education.
  5. The 90 minute writing period must begin and end sometime between 8 AM and 8PM (08:00-20:00) local time
    1. on Thursday, November 17th, for schools in North America, South America, Central America or in time zones covering these areas
    2. on Friday, November 18th, elsewhere in the world.

* Once a school signs up for an account, it is assessed to see if it qualifies as an Official Competition Writing Center (OCWC). If your school is a permanent, full-time, complete curriculum school with a well-established physical location, it will likely qualify.

Prizes and Awards

Only official participants, as defined above, are eligible for awards.

There are two divisions: the Canadian Division, which is only for participants writing the exam from within Canada (or Canadian citizens or permanent residents writing outside Canada); and the International Division, which is only for non-Canadian participants writing the competition outside of Canada.

The awards in the Canadian Division are based on best in Canada, best in province, best in region, and best in each grade (best in grade 8, best in grade 7, etc.). The top official participants from outside of Canada (and who are not Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents) are considered for the International Division awards, which are not grade-dependent or region-dependent.

Awards are not offered where participation rates are very low or where scores are below the cutoff scores. All participants will be awarded a participation certificate.

BREAKDOWN OF AWARDS

Gold

  • The top score in a division receives Gold.

Silver

  • The second highest score in a division receives Silver.

Bronze

  • The third highest score in a division receives Bronze.

** IF there is a tie score for gold, silver and bronze, multiple people are awarded.

Honorable Mentions

  • The fourth, fifth and sixth highest scores in a division are given an Honorable Mention with all tying students listed equally. 
  • Please note: This list of honorees is alphabetical, not listed by order of score.

Certificates

  • Certificates list the awards earned in any/all divisions
  • If the student did not earn Gold/Silver/Bronze/HM in any division at all, the student gets: (a) a Performance with Distinction certificate if in the top quartile, (b) a Performance with Honors certificate if in the second quartile, (c) or a Participation certificate

Practicing

Students planning to participate in the Canada Jay competition would benefit by trying previous years’ exams.  Solutions are also available.

Exam Archive

Topics

The CJMC is based on grade 5-8 curriculum. Topics that may appear on the exam include:

  • Probability
  • Geometry and Symmetry
  • Exponents and Order of Operations
  • Algebra
  • Sequences and series
  • Patterns
  • Simple counting problems
  • Elementary number theory (primes, composites, greatest common factor, least common multiple)
  • Ratio, Rate and Percent
  • Data Analysis (interpreting bar and pie graphs)
  • Integers and Fractions

Questions?

We understand you may have questions, please refer to our FAQ page

About the Canada Jay:

In North America, official scientific, English, and French bird names are adjudicated by a dedicated committee of what is now known as the American Ornithological Society or “AOS” (and before 2016 as the American Ornithologists’ Union or “AOU”). “Canada Jay,” restored as the official English name in 2018, goes back to at least the early 1800s. In fact, by using “Gray Jay’ in its 1957 checklist, the AOU needlessly violated one of its own stated naming principles, namely that “traditional vernacular names should be retained whenever possible.” When a group of mostly Canadian ornithologists pointed out this error in late 2017 and proposed that “Canada Jay” be restored as the official name, the AOS graciously agreed and formally announced the restoration, a few months later, in July 2018.

–  Dan Strickland, world expert on the Canada Jay

On November 16, 2016, at their College of Fellows Annual Dinner in the Canadian War Museum, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS) stunned many Canadians (and some folks elsewhere in the world, too!) by choosing the third-place Canada Jay over the first-place Common Loon as their candidate to be Canada’s national bird. But you could not find a more Canadian bird. First, as a member of the corvid family (crows, ravens, magpies and jays), it is one of the smartest birds on the planet. Its brain-to-body ratio is equivalent to that of the chimpanzee and dolphin and nearly rivals that of the human. Second, the Canada Jay is extremely tough and hardy. By not leaving the country in winter, it has adapted itself to not only surviving our harsh Canadian winters but breeding then as well. This bird is known to incubate its eggs at -30 Celsius! Third, Canada Jays are extremely friendly, readily coming down to perch on open hands, even without food, and on ski poles, cameras and spotting scopes, without any training whatsoever. Fourth, unlike many songbirds in the world, Canada Jays are not promiscuous and the mates do not cheat on each other. The pair remains together year-round, often flying together everywhere and even perching side by side, touching each other. So, we’ve got “smart,” “hardy,” “friendly” and “loyal.” What better way to describe the typical Canadian, eh?

– David M. Bird, Emeritus Professor of Wildlife Biology, McGill University, and Leader of Team Canada Jay