The UCT Mathematics Competition is an annual event which began in a local school in 1977, and moved to UCT in 1980. It currently attracts about 7500 entries from 170 schools in the Western Cape.

The objectives of the competition are:

  • to popularise mathematics
  • to raise awareness among both students and teachers that mathematics is a subject that is enjoyable and accessible to everybody
  • to identify promising students and offer them opportunities for further development of their mathematical talents
  • to attract students to study mathematics at UCT.

Entry requirements

All high schools in the Western Cape are invited to participate. Each school may enter five individuals and five pairs in each grade (8 to 12). Entries by schools is done online.

Prizes, Trophies and Awards

The top ten individuals and top three pairs in each grade win Gold Awards and calculators or watches donated by Casio.

If a school does not qualify for a Gold Award, but has entered at least ten individuals, it qualifies for a School Award, a book donated by Oxford University Press. The School Prize is awarded to the individual with the highest ranking (in any grade) in the school.

These prizes, and several trophies for individual and school achievement, are awarded at a Prize Giving in late May or early June.

Merit Awards are won by the top 200 individuals and top 100 pairs in each grade. All other contestants receive Certificates of Participation. Full results and appropriate certificates are sent to schools after the Prize Giving.

The UCT Mathematics Challenge and Olympiad

The top achievers in the Competition are invited to take part in a second round, the UCT Mathematics Challenge. This is written in two divisions, Junior (grades 8 and 9) and Senior (grades 10, 11 and 12). The papers require only numerical answers.

The top achievers in the Challenge are invited to take part in a third and final round, the UCT Mathematics Olympiad. The Junior and Senior papers consist of six problems, for which full solutions are required.

How it works

Five question papers are set, one for each grade. The papers are multiple-choice, consisting of thirty questions, ranging from very easy to rather difficult.

The papers are written on the University of Cape Town campus on an evening in April. Pairs and individuals write the same paper, but their results are graded separately.

Sponsors in 2017

The Old Mutual, Aurecon, Casio, Oxford University Press, j5 International, SAASTA.


The University of Cape Town

What does it cost

Entry is free.


Professor John Webb | Tel: 021 650 3193 |


Mrs Anthea Willis-Thomas | Tel: 021 650 3193 |