
..

The
Mandelbrot
Competition 

Enrollment..•..Scheduling/Levels/Regions
Administration..•..Forms of Answers..•..Scoring/Prizes
[Mandelbrot Team Play Rules]
The rules below are a summary of the guidelines appearing in the welcome
packet and on the Frequently Answered Questions pages. Coordinators should
be familiar with all of these rules prior to the first round, particularly
those concerning administration and scoring. Please pardon the terse exposition.
After all, this is a page of nothing but rules!
..... 

Enrollment 

 Any accredited high school may register for the Mandelbrot Competition.
 Students under the age of twenty who are not affiliated with a participating
high school, such as homeschooled students, may also enroll in the
contest provided that there are at least three committed students sponsored
by an adult who agrees to act as the coordinator. Arrangements may be
made by contacting us via the Dialogue page.
 The contest organization reserves the right to disqualify a school
and refund the registration fee at any point during the course of the
competition.
 Coordinators will access instructions, forms, and
contest originals via the website. All participating schools
will be assigned a fourletter school code and an account at the web
site through which they may update school information and manage individual
names and scores.


..... 

Scheduling / Levels / Regions 

 The Mandelbrot Competition takes place over the course of five rounds
spread throughout the school year. (The dates for each round are displayed
on the Information page.) Schools that are unable to participate during
the official week may reschedule the contest for the week immediately
before the official contest window. Schools which have conflicts with
both of these weeks must contact contest organizers before making
alternate arrangements.
 The Mandelbrot Competition is offered at two levels: the National
Level for advanced students and the Regional Level for less experienced
problem solvers. Schools may register in either or both levels. However,
schools participating for the first time should enroll in the regional
level only.
 Since the regional and national tests have several questions in common,
a student from a school enrolled at both levels may take only one set
of tests. For the same reason, the tests for each level should be given
simultaneously.
 There are currently five geographic areas
which define the regional leagues, described on a FAQ page.


..... 

Administration 

 As many students may take the Mandelbrot Competition as the coordinator
desires. Copies of the test original should be made no sooner than two
school days before the contest is administered.
 Forty minutes are allowed for the Mandelbrot Competition. No external
aids such as calculators, notes, or textbooks are allowed. Graph paper, rulers and
compass are fine. Students must work independently on the test. Dictionaries
are not allowed, even for international students or schools competing
from other countries.
 At the conclusion of the contest period the proctor should collect
all test papers and scrap work and retain them until the weekend following
the official contest week. On Thursday an answer key with solutions
will become available at the web site for coordinators upon login to
their Mandelbrot account. The coordinator may then score papers, enter
scores at the web site, and return tests and solution to students the
following week.
 Each round consists of seven shortanswer questions, ordered from
easier to more difficult. The first two questions are worth 1 point
each, the next three are worth 2 points each, and the last two are worth
3 points, for a maximum score of 14 points.
 No partial credit is awarded on the Mandelbrot Competition. Any answers
that are clearly equivalent to the answer provided may be awarded full
credit. The proctor has discretion in deciding whether an answer is
acceptable; if there is a question of equivalency the coordinator should
contact contest organizers for a ruling.
 If a coordinator wishes to dispute an answer or feels that a question
was ambiguous, the coordinator should send an explanation of the disagreement
to contest organizers as soon as possible. Students must forward
disputes through their school coordinators.


..... 

Form of Answers 

 In general, our philosophy is to award credit on the Mandelbrot Competition
whenever a student successfully solves a problem. Therefore if a student
writes an answer which is clearly equivalent to the answer in the key,
such as 69/60 instead of 23/20 or 1/sqrt(2) instead of sqrt(2)/2, then
credit should be awarded. However, please encourage your students to
write their answers in simplest form, as outlined below, to avoid any
ambiguity or gray areas.
 Please do not hesitate to contact contest organizers with inquiries
as to how to score a student's response. The most difficult judgments
to make occur when a student gives an answer which is numerically equal
to the answer in the key, but which requires more than a trivial simplification
to reduce to the correct solution. Coaches should forward these scoring
questions via the Dialogue page rather than trying to pass judgments
themselves so that we can announce all appeals to ensure that the contest
is scored as consistently as possible. (For example, an answer of
instead of 2 should not receive credit.)
 Fractions should be written in lowest terms. In general we recommend
that students write fractions rather than decimals when either is an
option. Improper fractions are fine, so both 5/3 and 1 2/3 are acceptable.
 Simplify square roots so that no perfect squares appear under the
radical sign. Also, square roots should not appear in the denominators
of fractions.
 Probabilities should be reported as a real number between 0 and 1
inclusive, usually as a fraction. Do not write percents or odds when
answering a probability question.
 Units are not required, but must be correct if given. In other words,
if a question asks for the length of segment AB in cm and the correct
answer is 2cm, then responses of 2, 2cm, or 20 mm would all be correct,
but 20 alone would be incorrect.
 Angles should be written in the same units given in the question,
normally degrees.
 Special directions in a particular problem take precedence over these
general guidelines.


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Scoring and Prizes 

 A student's score for the year is the sum of their individual scores
from all five rounds.
 The highest scoring students within each league (at the national level
as well as within each region) will be declared Mandelbrot winners and
given a snazzy prize which will vary from year to year. Past prizes
have included special Mandelbrot playing cards, cool Mandelbrot Frisbees,
and limited edition Mandelbrot Tshirts. At least ten students from
each regional league and twenty students at the national level will
be honored; the exact number depends on whether or not there are ties.
 A school's score for a given round is the sum of the four highest
individual scores on that round. A school's score for the year is the
sum of its scores for the five rounds.
 The top three distinct schools within each region along with the top
five distinct schools at the national level will receive a large engraved
commemorative plaque. (In other words, at most one plaque will be awarded
per school per league.)
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