WSMC Event Info

The WSMC contest has two sessions (parts).

Session I involves exactly one long problem.  Students take one hour to develop a written solution to a scientific or engineering problem with multiple parts.  Weight is given to clear, logical reasoning and communication as well as correct computation.

Session II consists of 5 topical tests (algebra, geometry, etc.) which are taken by teams.

Calculators are allowed on this contest.  All events are team events (no individual tests) and awards are determined by meeting standards of excellence (no rankings).


Before the Contest

• Practice!  Your coach will help with this.  You can also check out WSMC’s own study materials:  Practice Tests and an excellent Study Guide.

• Read and understand the rules.  Ask your coach or coordinator if uncertain about anything.  Important rule:  If you leave in the middle of a test to go to the bathroom, you can’t come back in — so use those breaks to go.

• Turn in your permission slip!

On Contest Day

• Allow plenty of time.  Traffic can get jammed up at the contest site and it takes time to walk, pay for parking, find us, etc.  We meet in the Pigott Building at 8:00am.  For WSMC 2017, we will meet in Pigott 108 at 8:00am.

• Parents should bring:  Money for parking (cash, currently $7, or credit card); lunch, if staying and not volunteering (I think volunteers are fed pizza).  Parent chaperones often find it helpful to have a shopping bag to carry stuff.

• Kids should bring the following items.  Required:  2-3 sharpened pencils or working mechanical pencils, bulk eraser, calculator, snack, water, lunch.  (Lunch is not provided for kids!)  Recommended:  Ruler, bag or backpack to put all this stuff in, red MP Math Club T-shirt!  Suggested:  colored pencils, protractor.  Note:  A language or translating dictionary is allowed for ESL students (just show it to the proctor before using).

• Cell phones, tablets, smart watches, etc. may not be used as calculators!  Also turn off all watch alarms and other things that may make noise.

• Dressing in layers is a good idea, because testing rooms can be any temperature.

• College classes and standardized testing will often be occurring at the same time as the contest.  Please hold your voices down.

Arriving at the contest

• Seattle University is officially at 901 12th Ave, Seattle WA.  Here is a printable campus map (pdf).

• There are two main parking lots:  James & 11th (garage, long walk in) and Marion & 12th (close by, but expect long slow lines to park and again to pay).  There are other lots but I know less about those.

• Once you’ve paid for parking, walk to the Pigott Building (PIGT on the campus map linked above).  Do not go to the similarly named James C. Pigott Pavilion for Leadership!  The correct building is by the main entrance, near a chapel and a reflecting pool, and it has a Chihuly sculpture in the entrance.

The MP group will typically be in the atrium, somewhere.  Come find us.  For WSMC 2017, we will meet in Pigott 108 at 8:00am.  Kids:  check in with your coordinator and meet your chaperone.  Please note that coaches will be busy making last-minute team arrangements (due to kids who can’t make it, people who are late, etc.).

Getting Things Started


Each student will receive a mechanical pencil and a sticker with a team number and room number.  Remember to check in with the coordinator — otherwise we assume you are absent.

Kids:  stay with your chaperones, starting from this point until the contest is over!

Parent Chaperones:  Please monitor your team members.  This is a great time to pick up some snacks to offer to the students later.

Other Parents:  if you can stick around to volunteer, great!  Otherwise, you can pick your kids up at the start of lunch, after lunch, or after awards.  Here is the schedule of events for the day.

Once a team is all checked in, and if there’s time, team members are welcome to go (together, quietly, with their chaperone!) and check out the testing room and locate the nearest bathroom.  Just be back by 8:30am.

To help you get oriented, here are building maps for the buildings where testing will take place:  Pigott Building Floor Plan | Administration Building Floor Plan.

8:15am Parents who have volunteered as proctors should report to proctor training.

8:30am  Checkin activities wrap up and everyone heads to the auditorium for the opening ceremony.

8:50am  Students head to the testing rooms.  Great time, especially for our younger students, to use the bathroom!  Remember, you’ll have to hold it for an hour and a half (setup time + 1-hour problem) if you don’t!

Proctors will give each team an information form for the students to fill out.  This will tell the contest organizers which students are on each team.  Then Session I will begin.

Chaperones can stay outside the testing rooms.  There is usually seating.  Please hold voices down.  During breaks, please encourage students to use the bathroom and offer them snacks.  (They will be offered some snacks, but it may not be so healthy or to everyone’s liking.)  In the unlikely event that a student reports a problem, feel free to text a coach or coordinator.

Students:  If things fall behind schedule, proctors will sometimes skip breaks.  So use the bathroom at every opportunity and snack/hydrate appropriately.

Parent volunteers:  Please report to the locations specified by the tournament director in the opening ceremony, or in any email you may have received beforehand.


After the testing

12:50pm  Lunch!  Remember, lunch is not provided at this contest.  We will try to eat outside if the weather is good.

1:15pm  College bowl in the auditorium.  Just for fun.  I hope many MP students go up there and try their best!  Great photo opportunity for parents.

1:30pm  Awards.  Typically done at 2:30, but may be somewhat shorter or longer.

For students interested in shooting for awards, here are some rough guidelines.  Generally speaking, scoring ~ 65% on either session earns an Excellence ribbon and ~ 85% earns a Superior medal.  Exact cutoffs vary from year to year.  Remember that you can receive partial credit for answers and remember to include units in all answers that require them.