The Hardest Math Problem Student Contest


An Annual Math Competition for Grades 6-8

The Hardest Math Problem Student Contest is an annual competition presented by The Actuarial Foundation, the Institute of Competition Sciences and the New York Life Foundation that challenges grades 6-8 students to solve multistep, grade-specific math problems with real-world situations and engaging characters. Plus, 5th graders are eligible to participate by reaching to a higher grade level!

Energize students’ perceptions of math with fun, challenging story problems that combine math reasoning skills with writing.


Try Math Problem Student Contest

This annual competition gives middle school students a chance to show off their math and writing skills and gives them exposure to real-world math problems.

lesson and activity

Practice Math Arguments

Sharpen students’ skills with resources about writing clear, concise explanations of math reasoning. Access free lessons and activities to help prepare your middle schoolers for the contest.

Digital Math Tool

Your students can practice percentages, decimals, area and equations with our Ecosystem Emergency digital tool in Scholastic's Math Workshop.

Puzzle It Out

The Hardest Math Problem Student Contest Winners


Past Questions and Answer Keys

Check your students’ work from this year’s contest or assign past contest questions to practice for the future!

Get Involved with the Hardest Math Problem Student Contest



The 2024-2025 contest opens on 9/16! This year’s theme is healthcare technology. Learn more and submit your entries to Challenge 1 by December 8.



Visit the contest site to download the entry packet for the 2024-2025 contest. Use the free practice questions and answers to prepare your class. 


Actuaries | Volunteers

While there are no current opportunities for the middle school contest, the Modeling the Future Challenge for high school students is in need of judges and mentors. Sign up today!


Partners | Donors

If your organization is interested in partnering with us on The Hardest Math Problem Student Contest, contact us today.


The Hardest Math Problem Student Contest Is Presented By