M3 Judges decide which teams receive a share of up to $150,000 in scholarship prizes. After the close of Challenge weekend, applied mathematicians serving as triage judges read and score each solution paper according to the competition guidelines to identify the best submissions. Each paper is read by a minimum of two, and as many as five triage judges. During the second round of judging, a smaller group of contention judges extensively reads and discusses the remaining papers to select those worthy of semi-finalist and honorable mention awards, and tentatively ranks the top six finalist teams. During these first two rounds, all solution papers are judged blind, meaning that judges only see the team ID #. Solution papers with identifying marks other than the team ID #, such as school name or student names are disqualified from top prizes.
Judging Moody's Mega Math Challenge
The third and final phase of judging involves presentations by the six finalist teams at Moody's Corporation headquarters in Manhattan. A panel of Ph.D.-level professional mathematicians confirms the champ, runner up, and third place winner of these top six teams, with the remaining three teams receiving “Finalist” distinction. Team scholarship prizes of $5,000 to $20,000 are presented at the awards ceremony that follows.
Presentations by entire teams are a requirement for winning one of the top six prizes. Teams that are unable to present their papers or are unable to have all members present for the final event, are not eligible for one of the top six prizes. Exceptions may be made for medically-documented reasons, but are at the discretion of the organizers. An awards ceremony will immediately follow the presentations. Typically the final presentations and awards ceremony are held on a Monday in late April (check Important Dates page).
The top six teams receive funds to help pay for travel and related expenses incurred to get to and from the final event. For more information, see the M3 Challenge Team Travel and Expense Reimbursements Guidelines.
As part of the Challenge's educational process, individualized comments, if available, are emailed to coaches regardless of their team's ranking. While commentary is not required, judges are strongly encouraged to provide feedback for each paper during the judging process.
In addition, a "judge perspective" document is prepared each year by one of the participating judges following the second round of judging. Its purpose is to help teams better understand what made some papers more successful than others, with regard to that year's problem and the approaches that teams took in tackling it. The judge perspective might also contain insight regarding what the judges felt made for an outstanding paper.