10 Of The Best Maths Competitions For Your Maths Students 

Entering Maths Competitions can be one of the easiest ways to enrich the curriculum for your pupils. There is now a huge array of competitions to choose from. Some will stretch the problem-solving skills of your pupils whereas other will develop essay writing skills or blend art and maths. Some competitions will be best suited to a team of your highest achieving mathematicians, whereas others are fully accessible to every pupil. Some use technology, some don’t. There is something to suit everyone.  

We have put together a list of competitions which look like they run annually. This is our second article on competitions, and you should check out our previous maths competitions article which contains lots of other ideas, including some of the most well-known competitions such as those run by UKMT. These two articles don’t form a comprehensive list, and there will be other great competitions we haven’t listed. 

We have included competitions regardless of their closing date, so that you can make a note in your diary, ready for next year. 


1. The Tom Rocks Maths Essay Competition  

Closing Date: Usually April 

Run by YouTuber and Lecturer Dr Tom Crawford. This Maths Essay competition has very few restrictions. Pupils can write about anything mathematical and there isn’t even a word limit. You can however see previous winners to give you an idea of what is being looked for. There are two categories: Under 18 and Over 18. 

2. Desmos Annual Global Maths Art Contest 

Competition is normally open December - January.  

Use Desmos software to create incredible art.  

3. MathsBombe 

MathsBombe is an online team competition aimed at students up to Year 13 and is run by the University of Manchester. Students compete to solve puzzles which are released every two weeks for around 8 weeks.  The competition typically opens in January.  

4. Polypad Art and Music Contest 

Deadline 17th May 2024 

Create art or music using Polypad. There are three categories: Up to 10 years old, 11 to 14 years old, 15 to 18 years old. This competition appears to run every other year.  


5. National Cipher Challenge 

The National Cipher Challenge has been run by the University of Southampton for over 20 years. It has a large following and registration normally opens at the beginning of September.  

You can find out more about the National Cipher Challenge in one of our previous articles. 

6. British Society for the History of Mathematics - Schools Prize in the History of Mathematics 

This is an annual competition, with a different theme each year. This year, pupils are invited to submit a song, essay, presentation or film on the theme of: Non-western Mathematics (i.e. the indigenous mathematics of Africa, the Americas, Asia or Australasia). Deadline is 28th June 2024. 

7. Liverpool Maths Society Open Challenge 

Open to pupils in Year 13 or below, this competition is completed in February Half Term. The Open Challenge usually contains around six problems and pupils need to give full written solutions. This type of competition encourages students to focus on writing clear mathematical explanations, as well as striving for a final answer. Download the Open Challenge.  

8. M3 Mathwork Modelling Challenge 

Aimed at teams of Sixth Formers, registration normally opens in November.  

Teams have 14 hours to solve a real-world problem using applied mathematics. The top teams travel to New York for the Final. This could be a great competition to do in collaboration with your computing teachers.   

Introduction Video to the M3 Mathwork Modelling Challenge: 


9. MEI Ritangle Competition  

MEI runs the annual Ritangle team competition for Sixth Formers. Registration is in October and questions are released during October to December. There is a bank of past questions and solutions, and Ritangle is free to enter.  

10. National Numeracy 

Currently, National Numeracy is running a Number Heroes Competition. Pupils in Year 7 and Year 8 need to create a picture of how they will use numbers in their dream job or hobby. Deadline is 31st May 2024. In future years, the competitions from National Numeracy may vary, so check out their website for more details.  



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