How anyone, anywhere, can take part in a CMSA Honorary Mental Math Challenge

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May 6 update:

Thanks and congratulations to all 364 participants of the 2022 Honorary Mental Math Challenge and the 2022 Honorary Memory Challenge!

Links to the full results can (finally) be found on the front page of this website.

Prepare for the 2022 CMSA Honorary Mental Math Challenge!

Important update: For various reasons, including an unexpectedly large number of people being interested in trying out our mental math challenges, we’ve decided to extend the previously announced deadline by 2 more weeks, until Monday April 11.

  • Location: Anywhere you happen to be in the Universe
  • Date: Anytime you want from now until April 11, 2022.
  • Cost: Nothing
  • Rewards: Nothing (except eternal admiration by all current and future generations)
  • Skills requirement: You need to be the legitimate owner of a human brain.

Our events are open to people of all ages and all skill levels. No matter how good or how bad you are at mental calculations, we have something to offer that should be well adapted to your skill level.

If you already know everything you need to know, you can click here to directly access all the necessary documents to complete the 2022 CMSA Honorary Mental Math Challenge

All the answers to all the questions you might have:

Question:  How will it work?

Answer: We’ve tried to make it extremely easy to participate even if you’re a beginner, you’re stuck in Antarctica and/or you’re dealing with a busy schedule. Any day of your choice from now until April 11, you will simply come to this page, download all the challenges and test yourself wherever and whenever will be most convenient for you. You will then send us your results. Soon after April 11, we’ll publish a pretty scoreboard with all the results we’ve received. If you want, you can also send us some comments (“I messed up the divisions because the dog kept bothering me…”) for us to publish along with all the results.

Just like our Honorary Memory Challenge, the Honorary Mental Math Challenge will be unofficial and self-regulated. You will need to self-regulate everything related to timing and scoring. Overall it will be mostly just a game and a way for some of us to motivate ourselves to start training more regularly again.

Question: How will you know that people didn’t cheat?

Answer: We won’t. It’s an honorary and unofficial challenge and there are no titles or rewards or anything real at stake. If we have very good reasons to think some results aren’t legit, we might refuse to publish them or add a small cautionary note next to their scores. Somehow we don’t think that this will be necessary.

Question: How much of a time commitment should I expect?

Answer: Can be a lot if you want to train seriously for everything and try to improve as much as possible. Can be very little if you only want to skip some of the challenges and not worry too much about your scores.

Question: Isn’t the whole thing just like practicing by myself?

Answer: Not quite. If you pretend that it’s a real competition, it will feel real. Also just having a deadline and knowing that your results will be published and compared with others can serve as a powerful form of motivation.

Question: What if I’m not good enough or not well prepared enough?

Answer:  We’ve done our best to try to design a format that works well for people of all skill levels, including experts and complete beginners and everyone in between. We also provided links to plenty of free or cheap resources to learn to spectacularly improve your skills at mental calculations. But even without any further training, you should know that almost everyone can deal with the problems from the Beginner section. And most high school students and adults are fully capable of solving the problems presented in the Regular section. What’s most difficult is to try to solve as many problems as possible while being fast and accurate.

What will be most difficult or impossible will be to try to be more efficient than some of the other experts who will be participating. Should you care about whether or not you will look “bad” compared to them? In theory we all know that we shouldn’t, but in real life that kind of sentiment happens to be extremely common. We can’t magically make it disappear, but we can at least remind everyone that they should see this as a game and that taking on this kind of challenge by itself is an excellent way to improve their skills. All that being said, if you don’t want your name to be published, it’s completely ok to just use a pseudonym instead of your real name.

Bottom line is that no matter who or where you are, if you have a little bit of time and energy and you’re somewhat interested in the idea of training for that kind of mental challenge, we’re very sorry but it won’t be easy to find a good excuse for not participating.

Question: Ok you’ve managed to persuade me. How can I prepare adequately?

Answer: First of all congratulations for the infinitely wise and infinitely brave decision you just took. There’s nothing that you absolutely need to do before attempting everything. But if you want to prepare in advance, there’s a lot that you can do:

  • If you’re unfamiliar with them, first make sure to learn about the different rules and events here
  • If you want to practice in advance, you can use some of the sample disciplines on this page.
  • If you’re curious, you can click here to check out all the results we had received after the 2021 Honorary Mental Math Challenge.
  • You can click here if you want to learn more about how it’s possible to become much, much faster with mental calculations.
  • If you want to be a little more hardcore about the whole thing, as soon as your decision to participate is taken, you’re encouraged to either leave a Facebook comment next to a relevant post or e-mail us directly at and declare your intention to go through all the events during week or day X. This is a commitment device to make sure you don’t procrastinate everything indefinitely.

Question: Can I start now?

  • Whenever you want! You can attempt the various disciplines whenever is most convenient for you, once a while during your lunch breaks for example. You can spread out all the different challenges over many different days. Or you can choose to do everything on the same day and follow a strict schedule as if you had been competing in a real championship.
  • You can choose to print everything in advance, or you can use nothing but your computer and answer directly on the different documents.
  • When you’re done you’ll (hopefully) calculate and e-mail us all your results. You’re welcome to include any comments you might want to add (“I messed up the divisions because…”). 
  • Soon after April 11, we’ll publish every results and comments we’ve received along with a pretty scoreboard.

As usual, we’re hoping to see plenty of complete beginners, newcomers, casual hobbyists and experts participating and showing us what they can do!

Click here for everything you need to complete the 2022 CMSA Honorary Mental Math Challenge

(To be clear: You don’t need to wait until you’re ready to start before you open that page. You can start exploring it now if you want. You can make sure you understand the format and instructions and so on. You can also print some documents in advance if you’re choosing to use papers.)

Friendly reminders: This is not an official championship. Our job here is to provide the tests and the instructions and to organize and publish the self-reported results that we receive. It is the responsibility of participants – or in some cases of whoever is supervising them – to read the rules, download the different challenges, try them out and accurately calculate and report the results. Just click the link above, read the instructions and start whenever you’re ready. Good luck!