November vs. February

Which tournament should you attend?


The following summarizes the differences between our November and February tournaments. Detailed information is below.
NovemberFebruary
Individual RoundsGeneral, Theme (50 min each)Algebra, Geometry, Combinatorics (50 min each)
Team RoundShort Answer (60 min)Proof (60 min)
Guts Round36 problems; sets of 3 (80 min)36 problems; sets of 4 (80 min)
Team Size4-6 students6-8 students
Difficultymid-AMC to upper-AIMEmid-AIME to olympiad
EligibilityHigh school students around the worldHigh school students around the world
Recommended sample tests2009, 20112010*, 2013

*the “Team B” round has since been eliminated, as has the Calculus subject test.

As of Fall 2017, HMMT November is held at Harvard and HMMT February is held at MIT (with Friday-night events at the opposite school). The primary difference between HMMT November and HMMT February is in their difficulty. While both tournaments are intended to challenge strong math students from all around the world, the February contest demands a considerable amount of mathematical maturity and problem-solving experience. The November tournament includes problems approximately at the level of the American Mathematics Competitions tests (AMC 10 and AMC 12), as well as problems covering the range of difficulty of the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME). The February tournament includes problems similar to the more difficult November problems, as well as problems comparable to those of various national and international olympiads. Indeed, our February contest has, in previous years, attracted dozens of IMO medalists and top scorers on national olympiads.

The format of each tournament reflects the difference in their respective target audience. The November tournament includes two individual rounds, both of which feature challenging and non-standard problems from all areas of high school mathematics. The February tournament requires deeper and more specialized knowledge on the individual rounds, with subject tests in Algebra, Geometry, and Combinatorics. In addition, the November contest’s team round features short answer problems, whereas February’s is entirely proof based. As such, all students attending our February tournament should be comfortable crafting and writing rigorous proofs, while students with less proof experience may feel more comfortable competing in November.

In our application process, we are devoted to helping students find the tournament that is most appropriate for them and their teammates. As a starting point, we recommend visiting our [archive] of past problems: in particular, the November tournaments from 2009 and 2011, and the February tournaments from 2010 and 2013 are representative our target difficulties. Any students or coaches who are still unsure as to which tournament to apply to should feel free to contact us at hmmt-request@mit.edu.