Senior Team Mathematics Challenge Past Materials

Below is information about the competition, together with materials from previous years. These resources are an excellent source of problems for students to work on in preparing for the competition or simply to develop their mathematical skills.


Information about the Senior Team Mathematics Challenge

  • Each school or college may enter one team.
  • The duration of each heat (and the final) is approximately three hours.
  • There are three rounds, a group round, a cross-number round and a mini-relay round.
  • Each team must consist of four students from year 11, 12 or 13 (or equivalent) with no more than two from Year 13.
  • Each team must be accompanied by a responsible adult who must stay throughout the duration of the competition and help with the supervision of a team
  • The winners of the regional heats are invited to the national final in London in February.


  • The Group Round

    Ten questions which the teams have 40 minutes to solve.
    Teams can decide upon their own strategy for solving these: work in pairs; as a group; or work individually.

  • 6 marks are awarded for every correct answer,
  • no partial marks are awarded.

  • Group Rounds from previous years


    The Crossnumber Round

    Teams divide into two pairs to solve a mathematical crossword puzzle in approximately 40 minutes. One pair is given the across clues, the other pair the down clues. Each pair of students solve their clues and write their answer on the master grid. The teacher immediately checks each digit of the answer, correcting if necessary. The correct answer is then shown to both pairs so that they are working with up-to-date information.They are not allowed to communicate directly with the other pair but they may, through the teacher, ask the other pair to try to work on a particular answer that they need. They cannot share any other information with the other pair or ask any questions about definitions etc.

  • Students can put just one digit at a time if they wish, rather than a whole answer.
  • They can sacrifice a square if they are completely stuck by guessing and then being given the answer.
  • It may sometimes appear that there is more than one answer but every answer is uniquely specified although it may depend on clues the other pair have.

  • 1 mark is awarded for every correct digit on the answer grid.

  • Crossnumbers from previous years


    The Shuttle (Mini-relay) Round

    Teams divide into two pairs to solve a four mathematical problems in 8 minutes. The solution to the first problem is required to solve the second problems and so on.

    Please note that this round has changed for the 2011/12 and subsequent competitions. Specifically, the time available for each relay is now 8 minutes.


  • The teams split into two pairs, A and B with the teacher sitting in between.
  • For the first Shuttle pair A receives Questions 1 and 3 and an Answer Sheet, pair B receives Questions 2 and 4.
  • Pairs can work individually or together on either of their questions at any time after the Shuttle has started.
  • The answer to each question is needed by the other pair in order to solve the next question.
  • The problems are designed so that pair B should be able to do some preparatory work before they receive the answer to the previous question.
  • No communication is allowed between pair A and pair B except that the Answer Sheet is passed from pair to pair via the teacher at any time after the start of the Shuttle. Only answers may be written on the Answer Sheet and it must not be used to ask questions or pass information to the other pair.
  • If a pair realises that they have answered a question incorrectly they may ask the teacher to retrieve the Answer Sheet from the other pair and then change their answer.
  • If a pair realises that the other pair has given them a wrong answer they can return the Answer Sheet with this answer circled.
  • Teams can hand in an Answer Sheet only when they have written an answer for all four questions.
  • The teacher then starts marking at Question 1 and stops marking at the first incorrect answer, ignoring any subsequent answers given. The teacher circles 3 marks on the Score Sheet by each question for which a correct answer was given. Next to the question for which the first incorrect answer was given they cross out the 3. The Answer Sheet is then handed back to the pair who answered incorrectly.
  • If the Answer Sheet is handed in again then only 1 mark is available for the question that was previously answered incorrectly.
  • Teams may have as many attempts as they wish at a question.
  • Correct answers on the first attempt to later questions will still earn 3 marks each.
  • There will be a whistle after 6 minutes. Handing in an Answer Sheet with four correct answers before this whistle will earn a bonus of 3 marks for the team in addition to the maximum of 12 marks available for the individual answers. This bonus of 3 marks should be circled on the Score Sheet.
  • A final whistle will be blown after 8 minutes. Teams must stop working and hand in their Answer Sheet which will be marked as described above.
  • There are 4 of these Shuttles alternating as to which pair receives Questions 1 and 3 and which receives Questions 2 and 4.

  • Shuttle (Mini-Relay) rounds from previous years


    Solutions for Regional Heats and the Finals



    National Final Poster Round

    Teams that attend the STMC National Final also take part in a poster competition. Details are sent to schools a few weeks before the final to enable students to research the topic and think about their poster design. At the final the teams produce their poster and incorporate the solutions to questions about the poster topic which are given out on the day.

    The winning poster designs are professionally produced, printed and sent to schools and colleges in the summer. Examples of the topics and previous winning posters can be downloaded here.


    The poster topic in the 2013/14 final was Ruled Surfaces.

    2013/14 Final Poster Round Prior Information
    2013/14 Final Poster Round Questions


    Training materials for schools are available on our Schools Training Page

    For information about the competition and heats see the Main Page