2016 MathCON Regional and National Competitions

Adventurer Jr. and Adventurer Jr. II took the MathCON computerized Competition on March 4th. Adventurer Jr. ranked the 5th and Adventurer Jr. II got a perfect score and ranked 3rd regionally out of total 45,000 students in 6 regions. The tie breaker for perfect scores was timing but Adventurer Jr. II wasn’t aware of that and spent time checking his answers. They both got invited to national finals in Chicago for MathCON competition on April the 23rd.

The national competition was held at the University of Illinois at Chicago. UIC ranked 129th nationally. It’s best majors were Engineering, Accounting, and Pharmacy. And its Medical school was good.

We drove to a hotel in Indiana that borders Illinois Friday night. Since we brought beef and cheese sandwiches, fresh waffles that I made right before we left home, bananas and bottled water, we didn’t need to buy anything while stopping at a service plaza for dinner.

The next morning we drove 30 minutes to UIC after continental breakfast at the hotel.  Registration started at 10:15 am. After they were escorted to 50-question paper multiple choice testing that started at 12 noon, we took Adventurer Jr. III for a little walk of the UIC campus and ate at a little restaurant on campus. I talked to the server while waiting for our food to get some inside scoop of the universities in the area and the neighborhoods. The UIC campus and surrounding areas were the safest and the most expensive place. Northwestern University in downtown Chicago was in a good area as well. The University of Chicago was a really good school but the campus wasn’t as safe.

The MathCON 2016 National Competition Venue

UIC Forum, The MathCON 2016 National Competition Venue

After lunch, we walked back to UIC Forum building and it’s close to the test ending time of 1:10 pm. Then the students were provided with Papa John’s pizza and soda as lunch.

Willis Tower, formerly known as Sears Tower, seen from the UIC campus

Willis Tower, formerly known as Sears Tower, seen from the UIC campus

Next we enjoyed Dr. Benjamin’s math show of solving math problems mentally and quickly using algebra. Mr. Adventurer bought a signed book and a set of CDs from him at a discounted rate as well.

Adventurer Jr. got randomly picked along with other fifteen lucky students to play the game 24. They were paired into groups of two. Each round half was eliminated. Adventurer Jr. survived to the last round and defeated his opponent to become the Champion of the game 24.

And Award Ceremony was the last event starting @ 3:50 pm. Both Adventurer Jr. and Adventurer Jr. II got bronze medals out of 550 contestants.

We headed back home around 5 pm. The driving back was painful. We stopped at a service plaza for dinner and a next one for coffee. Finally we got home a little after 1 am. It’s so nice to be home sleeping in my own bed again.

The Cost: would’ve cost us $475, actual cost $187

  • Gas: $50
  • Toll: $50
  • Lunch on UIC campus: $7 including tip, with coupon
  • Dinner at service plaza: $30
  • UIC Parking: $10
  • Hotel rooms with continental breakfast for one night: would have cost $144/room x 2 = $288, cost us 0
  • Dr. Benjamin’s book and CD set: $40

Lessons Learned:

  • We’ll rent a van when going to MathCON nationals again so that the kids can have more rooms for the long ride.
  • We’ll review test taking skills right before the nationals, e.g., skipping hard questions first; if time runs out, pick C or something for the answers since there is no penalty for getting a question wrong.
  • The questions weighed differently based on their difficulty levels. The harder the questions, the more the points. Which is very fair and I’m glad they did this.
  • We’ll get Adventurer Jr. II a watch so that he can better manage his time.
  • We’ll probably stay in Chicago the night of the competitions depending on the amount of homework they have. This way, Adventurer Jr. will have an opportunity to tour the campus himself.

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