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Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications

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November 7, 2023
Written on . Posted in Math Contests, Math Modeling.

7 Last-Minute Math Modeling Contest Tips

Math modeling contests can be challenging, and in the final hours leading up to the submission of your paper, the pressure can be overwhelming. Whether you're a seasoned competitor or a first-time participant, last-minute preparations are crucial to boost your team’s confidence and sharpen your skills. 

In this blog post, we'll provide you with a winning formula for last-minute math modeling contest success.

1. Practice with Past Papers

One of the best ways to prepare for one of COMAP’s math modeling contests is to practice by reviewing past contest papers. Check out this page of published contest answers on This will give you a sense of the type of solutions that tend to be successful in our contests.

2. Read Carefully

One of the most common mistakes in math contests is misreading or misunderstanding a question. Read your chosen problem carefully, paying attention to the details and requirements. Underlining or highlighting key information can help ensure you don't miss anything.

3. Focus on Time Management

Managing your time during the contest is critical. While COMAP generally gives you a few days or up to two weeks, depending on the contest, it is very important to create a timeline for your team and stick to it. It helps to set a goal for each day you will be working on the problem and assign specific tasks to team members.

4. Stay Calm and Positive

Nerves can get the best of anyone, but maintaining your composure is essential. Take deep breaths, stay calm, and stay focused on the problem at hand. If your team is stuck, take a break and come back with a fresh perspective. Plus, a positive attitude can make a world of difference. Stay positive, and don't let frustration or self-doubt derail your progress.

6. Remember There Is No “I” in Team

COMAP’s math modeling contests are team-based so it’s vital that you practice communication, listening, and collaboration. Everyone on your team should be empowered to voice their ideas and contribute to the solution.  

6. Review Your Work

Make sure you set aside time before you submit your solution paper to review and edit your work. Check for any errors or oversights. Sometimes a fresh look at a problem can reveal a different approach or solution.

7. Give Yourself a Pat on the Back

After you have submitted your solution paper, take some time to reflect on the experience. How many of these math contest benefits did you experience? What went well, and what could you improve? And remember, whether or not your paper receives a winning designation, completing the contest is a huge success on its own!

As you work on completing a solution for one of our math modeling contests, these last-minute tips can help you maximize your performance and boost your confidence. Good luck, and happy math modeling!

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The Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications is an award-winning non-profit organization whose mission is to improve mathematics education for students of all ages. Since 1980, COMAP has worked with teachers, students, and business people to create learning environments where mathematics is used to investigate and model real issues in our world.