About the Authors....The Making of Mandelbrot

This page serves as an overview of the Mandelbrot Competition and Team Play. Once you are familiar with their general format, meet the author of the contests or read the story behind the creation of the Greater Testing Concepts.




The goal of Greater Testing Concepts is to provide a challenging, engaging mathematical experience which is both competitive and educational. We now offer two contests within five geographic regions, encompassing students from across the United States and several foreign countries. Most gratifying, we continue to hear good things from Mandelbrot participants and coordinators:

“Thanks for the contest—it’s a great learning tool, and I think the two days I spend on it every time (one to take the test and another to go over it) are as important as anything else I do in class.”
* Kipp Johnson, Valley Catholic School, OR

“Just so you know, I consider your contest to be the best around. Really tremendous job both on the problem solving side and the theory side.”
* Jim Cocoros, Stuyvesant High School, NY

“Thanks for continuing to maintain your outstanding contest. I've come to feel that the Mandelbrot Team Play is the most meaningful contest we do, and I really like its format.”
* Doug O'Roark, Walter Payton College Prep, IL

The Mandelbrot Competition

The Mandelbrot Competition takes place in five rounds spaced throughout the school year. Each round consists of seven short-answer questions valued by difficulty at one, two, or three points. The questions on the Mandelbrot Competition cover a variety of non-calculus topics such as algebra, geometry, exponents, probability, and a few others such as number theory or classical inequalities. The tests last forty minutes and are graded by the school coordinator, who then enters scores at the web site. The database that powers the Scorecenter pages makes it possible to view comprehensive standings only a few days after the contest is given and ensures accurate, up-to-date results.

The contest is offered at the national level for more advanced students and the regional level for less experienced problem solvers. Since the tests at each level have several questions in common and are conducted simultaneously, a student may not take both tests. However, schools may participate in both levels, though schools new to Mandelbrot must enroll in the regional level. Learn more in order to decide which level is most appropriate, or try out some of the sample tests available online.

The Mandelbrot Team Play

The Mandelbrot Team Play is designed for students who enjoy working on more open-ended problems or who are preparing for events such as ARML or the USAMO. On this contest groups of four students work together on a series of proof-style questions. The students write out their explanations to the successive parts, which build upon one another to develop a mathematical result. The Team Play lasts one hour and student responses are mailed to a panel of graders for evaluation. Scores and comments are posted on-line shortly thereafter. For more details peruse the official Rules.

There are three rounds of the Team Play which take place in early January, February, and March. The particular subjects of the three tests are provided prior to their occurrence along with a set of practice questions and answers (these are made available along with other Forms) so that coaches and students may prepare beforehand. Extensive solutions are provided for all problems to demonstrate mathematical techniques and to serve as examples of proof-writing style. Our goal is for students to broaden their understanding of mathematics and develop analytical writing skills through their involvement in the Mandelbrot Team Play.

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