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Information and Details

The Day of the Exam

The David Essner Mathematics Competition XXXIX will take place 9am-1pm, Saturday February 8, 2020 at the Field House, part of the Watsco Center, at the University of Miami.

Participants should:

  • report to the competition venue before 8:40 am for sign-in,
  • bring identification (such as School ID or a driver's license), and
  • bring writing tools (sharpened pencils, pens, erasers, pencil sharpener).

It is not mandatory for the supervisors to attend.  


The Field House is just to the right of the front of the Watsco Center.

We recommend parking in the lot in front of the Watsco Center.  Payment for parking can be done at a machine or pay-by-phone. 

Please consult here for details about parking on campus as policies continue to change.

Important Dates

Friday January 24, 2020: Deadline for list of Participating Students
Saturday February 8, 2020: Essner Competition

The Competition

The Competition begins with a lecture introducing the topic of the exam. Thereafter, there is a 1 hour exam consisting of a couple of problems whose solutions require creative mathematical thought. Solutions are evaluated on clarity of presentation and logical arguments as well as correctness of the final answer. A correct answer without coherent justification may receive a low evaluation.

The exam does not require calculus and may be solved using ideas that, in addition to what's presented in the preceding lecture, an honors student with experience in high school honors algebra and pre-calculus should have encountered. Refer to the Final Exams in the Past Exams link above for examples of the level of questions. The use of calculators or other such assistance tools is not permitted.

After a short break, there will be a second presentation followed by an awards ceremony.

08:30 Sign-in
09:00 Lecture
10:00 Exam
11:00 Break & Snack
11:30 Presentation
12:30 Awards

As the format and location are new, these times are only approximate.


The competition is open to all secondary schools, public and private, in Miami-Dade County. Each participating school must select a Supervisor (such as a mathematics teacher) who determines the participating students from their school, and acts as a liason between these participating students and the Competition Administrators.

A student who wishes to participate must obtain approval of their school's supervisor.

Beginning with Competition XXXV, no student may participate in more than 4 competitions.

Instructions for Supervisors

Determine the participating students from their school.

We recommend a limit of 5 participating students per school. In unusual situations the supervisor may be permitted to send up to 5 additional students.

The determination of the participating students is at the Supervisor's discretion. Students who are both interested in the kinds of problems on the previous final exams and able to craft solutions to several of these are perhaps more likely to perform well on the upcoming competition.

Inform the Competition Administrators of the participating students.

By Friday January 24, 2020, email the list of names of your school's participating students to the Competition Administrators. (

The Essner Competition Administrators

Dr. Subramanian Ramakrishnan, Dr. Kenneth Baker, and Dr. Morgan Brown

Contact Information

The David Essner Mathematics Competition 
Department of Mathematics, University of Miami 
1365 Memorial Drive, Ungar 515 
Coral Gables, FL 33146