Math Day at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

MATH DAY: ORIGINAL AND BRILLIANT Volunteer for Math Day 2021

Join us on Nov. 17, 2022

The 33rd Nebraska Math Day will be held on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, hosted by the Department of Mathematics. Nebraska high schools are invited to join us for a day of fast-paced mathematics. Math Day is designed for students in grades 9, 10, 11 and 12 and for exceptional students in lower grades. Teachers who would like to invite students from lower grades to participate must request and receive written permission from Nebraska Math Day. Homeschooled students are also welcome to attend but will need to contact us for a registration code. Contact us at Registration will open in September.

Schedule: In 2022, PROBE I will be taken at individual schools in advance of the in-person event on campus on Nov. 17. The date for the exam has not been determined but will likely be in October. Email us at with any dates to avoid in your district. On Nov. 17, bowl team students, PROBE 2 qualifiers, and any additional students who would like to attend hands-on activities and see faculty presentations on their research, can be registered by their teachers. Note: We will be following county health guidelines so if the event cannot exceed 500 people, we will limit participation to the bowl team members, PROBE 2 qualifiers, and teachers/chaperones.

The last time Math Day was held in person, we hosted 1,247 students at the 30th Math Day on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. The 2019 Math Day was pleased to have the support of sponsors Assurity Life Insurance Company and Mu Alpha Theta. Click here to see results from Math Day 2019. In 2014, the event celebrated its 25th anniversary and 1,506 students from 105 schools came to take the PROBE I exam. In 2013, we hosted 1,549 students from 109 Nebraska high schools, our highest record of students.

Math Day consists of one individual and two team mathematics competitions. All students participate in a multiple-choice, preliminary exam called PROBE I (Problems Requiring Original and Brilliant Effort). The top 40 students then move on to take the now famous essay exam called PROBE II. The PROBE top 10 Nebraska high school students (sum of PROBE I and II) are awarded a total of $34,000 in four-year scholarships to UNL.

Pricing:Tentatively for 2022, a Math Bowl Team of six students is a flat rate of $80. For 7 to 15 students, each student costs an additional $12. For 16 students and more, each student costs $10 each. This pricing is subject to change while a new registration system is put into place.


Math Day 2019 Poster

2019 Math Day Poster

Math Day's Purpose

  • stimulate interest in mathematics among Nebraska high school students,
  • encourage them to pursue mathematics or mathematics-based science as a career, and
  • recognize mathematical ability by awarding scholarships, certificates and trophies.


PROBE I and II: PROBE is the name of the individual competition. It is in two parts. The first part, PROBE I, is a one-hour, multiple-choice exam that is machine-graded. All participants are asked to enter this event. Plaques are awarded to the top five individuals on the PROBE I exam. The top 40 students are invited to enter the second part, PROBE II. PROBE II is a one-hour essay exam that emphasizes knowledge, depth of understanding and written expression. It is graded by faculty in the UNL Department of Mathematics. The PROBE top 10 high school students (sum of I and II) are awarded scholarships to UNL totaling $34,000 (scholarships are contingent upon students enrolling full time at Nebraska and declaring mathematics as one of their majors). All the questions assume only two years high school algebra and one year geometry. However, the answers to PROBE II questions require the creativity and originality that we expect from only the very best students. The PROBE Team Competition is based on the PROBE I exam. Schools are divided into the same six divisions as in the Math Bowl competition. In Classes I and II, the top five scores from each school are added to determine the winners, and in Class III, the top four scores, and in Classes IV, V and VI the top three scores. Plaques are awarded to the schools placing first and second in each division.

Math Bowl: Team Competition: The Math Bowl is a double-elimination tournament pitting three-member teams against each other. The team competitions are divided into six classes, according to school enrollment for grades 9 through 12, with trophies given to the top three teams in each.

Rules for Students

  1. No calculators allowed.
  2. Bring sharpened pencils with you - there are no pencil sharpeners available at Math Day.
  3. Academic dishonesty is a violation: It has been brought to our attention that some students have rearranged the order of the pre-set PROBE I exams on the tables so that students from the same school are working on the same version of the exam. This is considered academic dishonesty and will not be tolerated. If a student is caught switching an exam for this purpose, he or she will be removed from the testing area and escorted directly to their teacher/sponsor.
  4. Agreement of Expectations for students: The focus of this competition is exploring mathematics, and I will give my best effort to interact with the faculty and students who are volunteering their time to speak with me and to participate in the activities provided by UNL. For my safety, I will always be with at least one other member of the group and at least one teacher. I will treat my surroundings with the appropriate respect. I agree to follow the instructions and schedule established by Math Day. If at any time the UNL staff deems my behavior unacceptable, my teacher may be notified, and I may be asked to leave the event.

Questions from schools


Lindsay Augustyn
251 Avery Hall
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68588-0131


Registration will open after Labor Day

Questions from volunteers


Stephanie Vendetti
251 Avery Hall
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68588-0131


Volunteer Signup

UNL Faculty Adviser


Mikil Foss
Department of Mathematics
203 Avery Hall
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68588-0130