Math Day at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

MATH DAY: ORIGINAL AND BRILLIANT See the results from Math Day 2015

Welcome to Math Day: Nov. 19, 2015

Thank you for participating in the 26th UNL Math Day on Thursday, November 19, 2015, hosted by the UNL Department of Mathematics on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln City Campus. Nearly 100 Nebraska high schools brought students for a day of fast-paced mathematics. Math Day is designed for students in grades 9, 10, 11 and 12 and for exceptional students in lower grades. Teachers who would like to bring students from lower grades must request and receive written permission from UNL Math Day. Contact us at Registration is now closed. Click here to see results from Math Day 2015.

In 2014, the event celebrated its 25th anniversary and 1,506 students from 105 schools came to take the PROBE I exam. In 2013, we hosted 1,549 students from 109 Nebraska high schools, our highest record of students. The next highest after 2014 was at our 10th Anniversary celebration in November 1999, when we hosted 1,434 students from 103 Nebraska high schools.

Math Day consists of one individual and two team mathematics competitions. All students participate in a multiple-choice, preliminary exam called PROBE I (Problems Requiring Original and Brilliant Effort). The top 40 students then move on to take the now famous essay exam called PROBE II. The PROBE top 10 Nebraska high school students (sum of PROBE I and II) are awarded a total of $34,000 in four-year scholarships to UNL.

Opening ceremony: As part of our celebration, the opening ceremony begins at 8 a.m. in the Nebraska Coliseum located at 14th and Vine streets, and it will truly be the beginning of an exciting, competitive day with plenty of room for all 1,500 (or so) of us. After the opening ceremony, students will walk to the Nebraska Union to take the PROBE I exam.

Map to New Bus/Van/Car Dropoff Location for Coliseum

Watch the Match Bowl training video

Math Day's Purpose

  • stimulate interest in mathematics among Nebraska high school students,
  • encourage them to pursue mathematics or mathematics-based science as a career, and
  • recognize mathematical ability by awarding scholarships, certificates and trophies.
Past Winners of Math Day come back in 2014
Past winners come back to visit in 2014.


PROBE I and II: PROBE is the name of the individual competition. It is in two parts. The first part, PROBE I, is a one-hour, multiple-choice exam that is machine-graded. All participants are asked to enter this event. Plaques are awarded to the top three female and top three male students on the PROBE I exam. The top 40 students are invited to enter the second part, PROBE II. PROBE II is a one-hour essay exam that emphasizes knowledge, depth of understanding and written expression. It is graded by faculty in the UNL Department of Mathematics. The PROBE top 10 high school students (sum of I and II) are awarded scholarships to UNL totaling $34,000. All the questions assume only two years high school algebra and one year geometry. However, the answers to PROBE II questions require the creativity and originality that we expect from only the very best students. The PROBE Team Competition is based on the PROBE I exam. Schools are divided into the same six divisions as in the Math Bowl competition. In Classes I and II, the top five scores from each school are added to determine the winners, and in Class III, the top four scores, and in Classes IV, V and VI the top three scores. Plaques are awarded to the schools placing first and second in each division.

Math Bowl: Team Competition: The Math Bowl is a double-elimination tournament pitting three-member teams against each other. The team competitions are divided into six classes, according to school enrollment for grades 9 through 12, with trophies given to the top three teams in each.

Rules for Students

  1. No calculators allowed.
  2. Bring sharpened pencils with you - there are no pencil sharpeners available at Math Day.
  3. Academic dishonesty is a violation: It has been brought to our attention that some students have rearranged the order of the pre-set PROBE I exams on the tables so that students from the same school are working on the same version of the exam. This is considered academic dishonesty and will not be tolerated. If a student is caught switching an exam for this purpose, he or she will be removed from the testing area and escorted directly to their teacher/sponsor.

Guidelines for Teachers

  • Travel Support: In 2015 we will provide some travel support for schools whose one-way trip is 150 miles or more, in lieu of covering the costs of hotel rooms. Blocks of rooms at two hotels have been set up at the Math Day rate for schools to call-in and make their reservations and arrange payment. More information about the travel support available can be found in the registration site.
  • Campus Tours: Short tours of the UNL City Campus and Avery Hall, home of the Department of Mathematics, will be available at 12:30 p.m. Sign-up information will come after your registration is complete.
  • Parking: Parking permits are required for all cars, vans and buses that will be parking on the designated UNL parking grounds by the Devaney Sports Center in Lot 56 (aka Innovation Campus). Permits for cars and vans cost $6.00 per vehicle, while a permit for a bus costs $24.00 each. Cars are also welcome to park in the Stadium Drive Parking Garage at 10th and T streets for a maximum of $5 per day. No permit is required to park in the garage.

Questions from schools


Lindsay Augustyn
251 Avery Hall
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68588-0131



Questions from volunteers


Stephanie Vendetti
251 Avery Hall
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68588-0131



UNL Faculty Adviser


Mikil Foss
Department of Mathematics
203 Avery Hall
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68588-0130


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