Winners of The Hardest Math Problem $5,000 Award Prize Announced

May 25, 2022

SCHAUMBURG, IL (May 31, 2022) – The Actuarial Foundation is proud to announce the winners in this year’s Hardest Math Problem Student Contest, a national middle school math competition designed to help students practice critical thinking and accurate computation, supported by detailed steps taken. The annual contest serves to challenge students in grades 6–8 to solve multistep, grade-specific math problems with real-world situations and engaging characters. It also aims to build confidence with math and establish important foundational math skills for students.

Competing for a chance to win a $5,000 grand prize, students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades completed extra challenging story problems combining reasoning skills with math. While aimed at middle school students, fifth graders can also compete, and students can challenge themselves by completing problems in grades above them. Grand prize winners receive a $5,000 deposit to a 529 savings plan and a laptop. Three runner-up winners receive a tablet computer. Winning teachers from each grade receive a $500 gift card. The contest is just one in a series of free middle school math resources produced in collaboration with The Actuarial Foundation, the New York Life Foundation, and Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company.

Winners were required to complete an initial challenge to qualify for Challenge Two and the grand prize. This year, over 6,100 students participated in Challenge 1 of the contest, and 53% of the entries were correct and eligible for the second part of the contest. 1,867 entries were received for Challenge 2, 78% of which were answered correctly. From the correct submissions for the sixth-grade question, Abhinav N. of Fort Settlement Middle School in Sugar Land, Texas, was selected as the grand prize winner of the question. Claire W. of Laurel School in Shaker Heights, Ohio, won the tablet. Ibrahim A., a sixth grader from McGlynn Middle School in Medford, Massachusetts was the seventh-grade grand prize winner. Andrew C., a seventh grader from Crossroads Christian School in Tyrone, Georgia won the seventh-grade first place prize. The winner of the grand prize for the eighth-grade question was Hannah C. of Crossroads Christian School in Tyrone, Georgia, and the first prize winner was Katie F., also of Crossroads Christian School in Tyrone, Georgia. It is notable that a sixth grader won the seventh-grade grand prize.

Generously sponsored by the New York Life Foundation, the Contest highlights the dexterity and talents of American middle school students. This year’s Hardest Math Problem Student Contest, which focused on helping to resolve questions surrounding global climate change due to greenhouse gases and CO2 emissions from cars, was judged by a team of actuaries who evaluated students’ answers on how well they communicated their mathematical argument, their mathematical precision and their attention to detail.

Abhinav N., the sixth-grade grand prize winner, said, “I feel very honored for being recognized as one of the winners of the Hardest Math Problem. It made my year! …I take part in several math and science competitions, but the Hardest Math Problem contest was unique in that it focuses not only on the math but also gave importance to my reasoning. I really would like to thank you for your encouragement, recognition, the scholarship and of course the computer! It is an amazing feeling to be able to win something while doing math, which is a subject that I love.”

“The Actuarial Foundation’s The Hardest Math Problem contest is an excellent way to help middle school students establish important foundational skills,” said Marlyn Torres, senior program officer, New York Life Foundation. “Our two-year $200,000 grant enables the organization to help students build their confidence with math while establishing important problem solving skills that will prepare them for real world work challenges and position them for a successful transition to high school.”

About The Actuarial Foundation

The Actuarial Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, is the philanthropic institution for the actuarial industry in the United States. The mission of the Foundation is to enhance math education and financial literacy through the talents and resources of actuaries. The Foundation’s vision is an educated public in pursuit of a secure financial future. Further information is available at:


Holly Monahan
The Actuarial Foundation
(847) 706-3659