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KNOXVILLE — Pencils ready? Try this math word problem:

If 10 intelligent high school students make top scores on a math ability exam and each receives a $4,000 annual scholarship for four years to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, what is the total amount of the award? The answer: A lot of money to some smart cookies.

The UT-Pro2Serve Math Contest is an annual contest where Tennessee high school students, public, private and home-schooled, compete for awards and honors. This year’s contest will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 26, on the UT Knoxville campus.

Early registration for the competition has already begun and ends Sept. 24. The cost is $10 per student. General registration is from Sept. 27 through Oct. 12 and is $15 per student. Participants must register before the event and all fees must be received by Oct. 12.

The contest has two parts. The first is the Two-Stage FERMAT. All participants take a multiple-choice test on algebra and geometry, called the Fundamental Exams of Remarkable Mathematical Ability and Talent — FERMAT I. The top 50 students move on to the next level of testing called FERMAT II. This test has eight essay questions, requiring creative and original thinking. The 10 students with the highest scores will each receive $4,000 annual scholarships for four years to UT Knoxville. All exams are hand-graded by UT Department of Mathematics faculty.

The second part of the contest is the Math Bowl. A three-member team from each high school will face an opposing high school team in a double-elimination tournament in the style of the old GE College Bowl competitions. Sixty-four high school teams will compete head-to-head to be the fastest to answer 10 math questions correctly. It is a true battle of the brains, and the top two teams in each division receive team trophies and medals for team members.

The contest is presented by the College of Arts and Sciences mathematics department and UT alumnus Barry Goss and his company, Professional Project Services Inc. (Pro2Serve®), which provides technical and engineering services that support the infrastructures of government and private industry — and help ensure our nation’s security. The media sponsor is the Knoxville News Sentinel.

“As a Tennessee-grown business, we think it’s important to develop and retain the intellectual talent of our state,” Goss said. “We want the best and brightest math minds in Tennessee high schools to further their math education, hopefully at UT Knoxville, and live and work in Tennessee upon their graduation from college.”

Scholarships are funded by UT Knoxville and the Chancellor’s Office.

To register, visit or call 865-974-2461.


Bridget Hardy (865-974-2225,

Sandra McLean (865-607-5684,