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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries
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UK Maths Trust Senior Maths Challenge 2010

The Senior Maths Challenge, sponsored by the Actuarial Profession took place on 4 November 2010. There were a record breaking 95,520 entries from 1978 institutions, beating 2008’s record 92,520 students from 1917 schools and colleges.

The challenge is a 90-minute, 25-question multiple choice paper with questions of increasing difficulty aiming to stimulate mathematical thinking beyond the school curriculum. Fifteen candidates gained full marks in the challenge and overall scores were higher than in previous years. Those scoring over 96 out of a possible 125 were invited to take part in the British Mathematical Olympiad (BMO) Round 1 paper which took place on 2 December 2010.

The mean score rose to 54.7 from 51.4 last year. The first five questions are intended to be very straightforward, but a surprising number were phased by the crossnumber in Q1 and only two-thirds answered with only 60% of them giving the correct answer. Trigonometry may also be a weak point with half of students not attempting Q14 and only 20% of candidates giving the correct answer.

If you want to try your hand at the maths challenge, the paper (and solutions) can be found at www.ukmt.org.uk