Math 194, Autumn 2017

Karl Rubin


Practice exam:

Find a quiet spot where you can work on these problems uninterrupted for 80 minutes. Write your solutions as carefully and completely as you can. Work by yourself. No books, notes, calculators, internet, or other help allowed.

Your performance on this practice test will not affect your final grade (pass/no pass) in Math 194.

Do as many problems as you can, and return your completed exam by 7pm on Tuesday, November 14. You can either bring it to class, or leave it under the door of RH 510L, or email it to If you don't make progress on any of the problems, there is no need to turn anything in.

When you are ready to start, the practice exam is available here.

And here are brief solutions/hints to the practice exam.

The Putnam exam will be given on Saturday December 2, 2017, 8-11 am and 1-4 pm, in RH 101 (not the usual Math 194 classroom!). Students enrolled in Math 194 must attend both the morning and afternoon sessions.

More practice material courtesy of Dennis Eichhorn:

    Problems A1 and B1 (the easiest Putnam problems) 1985-2006, with solutions,
    some mock Putnam exams with solutions from the University of Illinois, and some general Putnam problem-solving tools

Important dates:

Putnam exam: Saturday December 2, 2017, 8-11 am and 1-4 pm, in RH 101.

You can take the Putnam Exam even if you don't take Math 194, but you must sign up by noon on Friday, October 13. (If you are enrolled in Math 194, I will sign you up automatically.) To sign up, send me an e-mail at All email signup requests will be acknowledged. Because of the early deadline, you should sign up if there's any chance at all you'll want to take the exam. If you're not enrolled in Math 194 and you change your mind later and don't take the exam, that's OK.


The seminar meets Tuesdays 7:00-8:20 pm in RH 306. Each week there will be a discussion and presentations of homework solutions, a short lecture, and some time to work on new problems.

Everyone is welcome, whether or not you are enrolled for credit. If you like solving problems it should be fun. If you want to take the Putnam exam (and who wouldn't?) this will be good practice.


The grading is pass/not pass only. To pass, attendance, participation in class, and taking the Putnam Exam (both the morning and the afternoon session) are required.


Problem solving through problems, by Loren Larson.

General information about the Putnam exam:

Official site
Harvey Mudd Putnam page
Kiran Kedlaya's Putnam archive

Syllabus (tentative)

date Chapter from Larson problems to do for next week some solutions, courtesy
of Dennis Eichhorn
in-class problems
Oct. 3 1    problem set 1  solutions    class 1
Oct. 10 2    problem set 2  solutions    class 2
Oct. 17 3    problem set 3    solutions    class 3
Oct. 24 CLASS CANCELLED            
Oct. 31 4    problem set 4    solutions    class 4
Nov. 7 5    problem set 5    solutions    class 5
Nov. 14 6    problem set 6    solutions    class 6
Nov. 21 7    problem set 7    solutions    class 7
Nov. 28 8    problem set 8        class 8
Dec. 5 go over Putnam exam