Winners named for 2023 Mock Putnam and 2023 Freshman Math Contest

In late October, students gathered to compete in two local math contests at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign: the Paul Erdős Mock Putnam Exam and the Paul Erdős Freshman Math Contest.

The Department of Mathematics has sponsored local contests in mathematics for decades. In 2023, each of these contests were renamed in honor of Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdős, who famously offered monetary prizes for the resolution of notoriously open problems in mathematics.


Paul Erdős Mock Putnam Exam

The Mock Putnam Exam is a longstanding local version of the William Lowell Putnam Exam, open to University of Illinois undergraduates and local high school students. The Mock Putnam consists of six challenging problems similar in nature to those that appear on the Putnam Exam.

For the second year in a row, Adrian Calinescu took first place in the Paul Erdős Mock Putnam Exam exam. Adrian is a junior mathematics major at Illinois.

Senior mathematics major Uyen Nguyen placed second in the contest. Freshman mathematics major Andrey Vlasov placed third.

Paul Erdős Freshman Math Contest

When this contest debuted in 2011, it was called the UI Freshman Math Contest, and it offered incoming students an opportunity to showcase their problem-solving skills in direct competition with their peers. Today, the competition welcomes those in their first year at the University of Illinois and students from local high schools to participate.

Yuuki Sawanoi is the first-place winner of the 2023 Paul Erdős Freshman Math Contest. Yuuki is a freshman mathematics & computer science major at Illinois.

Chenning Xu, freshman mathematics major, placed second. Third-place winner Jaewoo Park is currently a high school sophomore.

Upcoming contests

The next UIUC math contest—the Paul Erdős Undergraduate Math Contest—will be held during the spring 2024 semester. Interested students can find more details at

Undergraduate students at Illinois may also participate in the Putnam Exam, to be held this year on December 2, 2023. The registration deadline is December 1.