MCS-200: Problem solving (Fall 2002)

Course Description:

Each week, from 6:30-8:30 on Monday evenings, we go over old contest problems. About an hour and a half is spent trying to solve some problems, and the last half-hour is spent discussing them. The goals of the course are to (a) have fun, (b) learn how to approach problems when you don't know which mathematical tools are needed, and (c) to prepare for college mathematics contests.

You are welcome to come any week whether or not you are signed up.


For those taking the course for a grade, there are three requirements for a grade of A:
  1. Attend regularly. You can miss up to two meetings.
  2. Participate in at least one competition.
  3. Get addicted to at least one hard problem during the semester (i.e., spend the good part of a week working on it), and be prepared to present your thoughts on the solution of the problem to the group.

This year's Intercollegiate mathematics competitions.

All of the following events are on Saturdays.

This year's problems:

Week 1 in Postscript or PDF
Week 2 in Postscript or PDF
Week 3 in Postscript or PDF
Week 4 in Postscript or PDF
Week 5 in Postscript or PDF
Week 6 in Postscript or PDF
Week 7 in Postscript or PDF
Week 8 in Postscript or PDF (PennePutnam practice problems)
Week 9 in Postscript or PDF and notes on induction in postscript or pdf
Week 10 in Postscript or PDF
Practice Putnam in Postscript or PDF
Easier practice Putnam in Postscript or PDF

Sources of problems:

ARML: This are problems from American High School Mathematics League competitions.
BICYCLE: Which Way Did the Bicycle Go? by Konhauser, Velleman and Wagon.
LARSON: Problem Solving Through Problems by Loren Larson.
PUTNAM: Problems from William Lowell Putnam competitions.
HALMOS: Problems for Mathematians, Young and Old by Paul Halmos.