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UMTYMP Testing Q & A

This page has answers for frequently asked questions about the UMTYMP program and registration process. If you received a brochure about UMTYMP from a school and are trying to find out more about the program, this is a good place to start.

Students who wish to join the program in 2016-17 must register to take the UMTYMP Qualifying exam this spring. The priority registration deadline for the UMTYMP Algebra Qualifying Exam is March 17, 2017 for the Twin Cities and April 21, 2017 for Rochester and Duluth. However, some of the test sessions might fill up so we still recommend registering as early as possible.

If you still have questions after reading this page, feel free to email us. There is also much more information available on the UMTYMP Home Page; look under the “Prospective Students” sections.

Jump to: General Information about UMTYMP
Admissions and Eligibility
Registering for the Qualifying Exam

General Information about UMTYMP

What is UMTYMP?

UMTYMP stands for the University of Minnesota Talented Youth Mathematics Program. Pronounced “um-tee-ump”, it is an accelerated program for students who are highly talented in mathematics. Although there are many math programs throughout the country, UMTYMP is unique in terms of the number of students, length of the program, scope of the curriculum, and the granting of honors level college credit to students in middle- and high-school.

What are the UMTYMP Courses?

  • High School Component. In the first two years of UMTYMP students cover all four years of the standard high school Precalculus curriculum: Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, and Math Analysis. The courses are taught by excellent secondary teachers from throughout the metro area, and Minnesota state law ensures that districts count them as satisfying high school graduation requirements.
  • Calculus Component. During the final three years of the program, students earn up to 12 honors University credits in a sequence of Calculus courses. UMTYMP Calculus I covers single variable calculus more rigorously than a typical Advanced Placement (AP) or college level course. Students in UMTYMP Calculus II and III learn linear algebra, differential equations, set theory, methods of proof, and multivariable calculus. We also offer an Advanced Topics course which stresses the reading and writing of mathematical proofs. Calculus component courses are taught by University faculty members with a great deal of experience teaching students of this age.

When and where are the courses taught?

UMTYMP courses are taught at the University of Minnesota Minneapolis campus. They meet from 4:00pm-6:00pm, typically once per week throughout the University's fall and spring semesters. You can get more information about next year's schedule by calling our office.

Who should take UMTYMP?

We are not a program for students who are very good at math and can be accelerated to take Calculus as a senior or even a junior in high school. Rather, we are a program for students who can succeed in Calculus as a ninth or tenth grader (or earlier!) and are mathematically advanced enough to handle a more rigorous Calculus course than the normal offering.

What happens after UMTYMP?

Students who complete the entire UMTYMP sequence typically move on to take advanced undergraduate level courses at the University or another college through the Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program.

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Admissions and Eligibility

How can a student enroll in UMTYMP?

Students currently in grades 5-7 who wish to enter UMTYMP at the Algebra level (High School Component) must take the UMTYMP Algebra Qualifying Exam. (See below for more information.)

Occasionally students in grades 7-10 who are not enrolled in the UMTYMP High School component are able to test directly into the Calculus component. Contact our office for details on this qualifying exam.

Who is eligible for the UMTYMP Algebra Qualifying exam?

Any student in a public or private school who is currently in grades 5-7 and either (a) has scored at or above the 95th percentile on a standardized mathematics achievement test in the past two years or (b) has been recommended by a school teacher or counselor to take the UMTYMP exam. Students who have already taken a course in Algebra I are still eligible to take the exam.

Can my third or fourth grade student take the Qualifying Exam?

Unfortunately, no. Our testing age requirements are based on actual age, not the grade level of mathematics your student is currently doing. Students in UMTYMP must not only be ready for advanced mathematics courses, but also be mature enough to sit in a two-hour long class, staying focused and taking notes. Experience has taught us that this is very difficult for students younger than sixth grade.

What if a student does not speak English fluently?

Many students new to the United States have taken the UMTYMP qualifying exam without problems. With prior permission, students may use selected dictionaries.

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Registering for the Qualifying Exam

What are the testing options?

Most students register for the regular UMTYMP Algebra Qualifying Exam, which is given over a series of days in late March and early April. We also offer a training session for the exam in February. At this session students will learn more about the testing process, practice problem solving skills, and learn test-taking strategies. Experience has shown us that this kind of information makes the UMTYMP Qualifying Exam much less intimidating for students, and can significantly raise their scores. Furthermore, the students involved in the UMTYMP Exam Prep take a special early Qualifying Exam. Students who pass this early exam are accepted for admission in UMTYMP. Students who do not pass the early exam are given an opportunity to register for the regular exam, described above.

If you register for UMTYMP Exam Prep & Early Test, you should not register for the regular exam. You will be given a chance chance in March to register for the regular exam, if needed.

What is on the UMTYMP Algebra Qualifying exam?

It is a specialized aptitude examination built on pre-algebra mathematics knowledge. A good mastery of elementary and junior high school mathematics is expected and innate problem-solving skills and strategies are essential. The exam stresses accuracy, understanding, and speed.

Two sample questions are shown below. In each problem, students are given two quantities, labeled (a) and (b), and are asked to determine whether:

  • (a) is greater than (b),
  • (b) is greater than (a),
  • they are equal, or
  • there is not enough information to say.

Speed is important on the exam; students would have an average of about 24 seconds to solve each of these questions.

Sample Questions


How can I study for the Qualifying Exam?

It would be very difficult to study for the exam, since it measures speed and reasoning skills more than any particular area of mathematics. The most we can offer is the UMTYMP Opportunities program described above, in which students learn about the testing process and work with University faculty members to develop their reasoning skills and test taking strategies. Experience has shown that this kind of information can greatly reduce students' anxiety about the test and can increase their scores.

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