CEMC Hypatia Contest: Empowering Young Mathematicians

The CEMC Hypatia Contest, organized by the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing (CEMC) at the University of Waterloo, is an annual mathematics competition designed to empower and challenge young mathematicians. Named after the ancient mathematician Hypatia of Alexandria, this contest aims to inspire and celebrate the mathematical talents of high school students. In this article, we will explore the significance of the CEMC Hypatia Contest, its format, and how it empowers young mathematicians.

The Significance of the CEMC Hypatia Contest

1. Promoting Mathematics: 

The contest encourages a deep interest in mathematics among high school students. It provides an opportunity for participants to explore mathematical concepts beyond their regular curriculum.

2. Recognition of Talent: 

The CEMC Hypatia Contest recognizes and celebrates the mathematical talents of young students. It acknowledges their dedication to the subject and their ability to excel in mathematical problem-solving.

3. Challenge and Growth: 

The contest offers challenging problems that require creative thinking and problem-solving skills. This challenge fosters intellectual growth and resilience in participants.

4. Inspiration: 

Participation in the contest can inspire students to pursue further studies and careers in mathematics, science, engineering, and related fields. It introduces them to the world of mathematical exploration and discovery.

Contest Format

The CEMC Hypatia Contest typically follows this format:

- Duration: 

The contest is typically a 2.5-hour written exam.

- Grade Levels: 

It is open to students in grades 11 and 12.

- Problem Types: 

The contest includes a variety of mathematical problems, including multiple-choice questions, short-answer questions, and proof-based questions. These questions cover a wide range of mathematical topics, including algebra, geometry, number theory, and combinatorics.

- Scoring: 

The contest is scored out of a total of 70 points. Each question is worth a specific number of points, and the difficulty of questions varies.

- Recognition: 

Top-performing students receive certificates of distinction and recognition. Their achievements are celebrated and shared with their schools and communities.

Preparation and Empowerment

Participating in the CEMC Hypatia Contest can be a rewarding experience for high school students, but it also requires preparation. Here are some tips for preparing for the contest and making the most of this empowering opportunity:

1. Review Mathematical Concepts: 

Brush up on key mathematical concepts that may be covered in the contest, including algebra, geometry, number theory, and combinatorics.

2. Practice Problem-Solving: 

Solve practice problems from previous Hypatia Contests and other mathematical competitions. This helps you get familiar with the types of questions that may appear.

3. Work on Your Proof-Writing Skills: 

For proof-based questions, practice writing clear and concise mathematical proofs. Effective communication is crucial in mathematics.

4. Time Management: 

During the contest, manage your time wisely. Allocate a specific amount of time to each section or question, and stick to your schedule.

5. Stay Calm and Focused: 

On the day of the contest, stay calm and focused. Read each question carefully, and don't let challenging problems discourage you.

6. Reflect and Learn: 

After the contest, review your answers and reflect on areas where you can improve. Use the contest as a learning experience.


The CEMC Hypatia Contest is an empowering opportunity for high school students to showcase their mathematical talents, challenge themselves, and deepen their interest in mathematics. By participating in the contest, students not only gain recognition for their achievements but also develop valuable problem-solving and critical-thinking skills that will serve them well in their academic and future careers. It's a celebration of mathematics and a platform for young mathematicians to shine.