What is the MATHCOUNTS competition?

MATHCOUNTS is one of the most popular middle school Math competitions in the USA. It has Chapter, State, and National competitions run from February through May, annually. Each competition has individual (sprint, target, and countdown) and team rounds. Click here to learn more about these rounds.

Only schools can participate in MATHCOUNTS (*). You can find the registered schools for the upcoming competition here. You can check with your school to find out if they are planning to participate.

(*) In the 2021-22 competition series, students could also participate as Non-School Competitors (NSC).



MATHCOUNTS Preparation

AlphaStar Academy has several fundamental course offerings for MATHCOUNTS preparation. These courses help students master problem-solving techniques and skills for MATHCOUNTS and AMC 8 competitions in Algebra, Counting, Geometry, and Number Theory. They cover the whole contest curriculum.


All of the courses have live and self-study formats. Live course students participate in interactive online live sessions. Both formats give access to the video recordings from the live sessions.



Many of the questions and answers below are from the official MathCounts website.

What is the contest format for MATHCOUNTS?

There are Chapter, State, and National competitions in a year. The top-scoring students and teams from each Chapter qualify for the State competition. The top four students from each state represent their state in the National competition.

Each competition has the following rounds:

  • Sprint: It is a 30-question, 40-minute, short-answer exam. Calculators are not allowed.
  • Target: Consists of four pairs of short-answer questions. The time limit for each pair is 6 minutes. Calculators are allowed.
  • Team: It is a 10-question, 20-minute, short-answer exam. Collaboration within the team is allowed and encouraged. Calculators are allowed.
  • Countdown: Top scorers face each other in a one-on-one setting. The time limit is a maximum of 45 seconds per question. Calculators are not allowed. The winner qualifies for the next round.

Who can take MATHCOUNTS?

Only U.S. full-time students in grades 6-8 are eligible to participate in MATHCOUNTS competitions.

Any type of school, of any size, can register—public, private, religious, charter, virtual or home schools. School-based competitors must participate through their official school of record.


The schedule for the 2021-22 Competition series is as follows:

Chapter: February 17, 2022

State: March 2022

National: May 7-10, 2022

Who can register?

School-based competitors: Only school representatives can register their school through the MATHCOUNTS website or office. A school representative can be a teacher, administrator, or parent volunteer.

Non-School Competitors (NSC): For the 2021-22 competition series, MATHCOUNTS allows some non-school competitors to participate. For details on eligibility and registration of NSC’s, please check here.

How can we prepare for MATHCOUNTS?

You can prepare by solving problems from past competitions or similar problems. Taking timed practice tests, going over the solutions, and analyzing your mistakes is also a great way to improve your exam performance. When analyzing your mistakes, you should create strategies to avoid them in the future. You can read this article to learn about how making mistakes while practicing can actually help you avoid them in official contests.

You can find a variety of MATHCOUNTS preparation books here.

AlphaStar offers courses for MATHCOUNTS preparation. Click here to see all of our offerings.

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