## Saturday, December 04, 2004

This morning, I took the first half of the Putnam exam. The Putnam is a competition consisting of two three-hour sessions, where you get six problems in each session. Each problem is some kind of difficult proof, and if you prove it flawlessly, you get a 10. If you do lots of good work towards a solution, you get a 1. Otherwise, you get a 0. So scores range from 0 to 120, with a median score of 0.

I worked on two of the six problems, and got a relatively satisfactory proof for one, with a not as good pseudo-proof for the other. But it was fun. I don't think I'll go back for the second half, though, because it's probably not worth it. I was told this morning, "don't even go -- you'll get a zero no matter what." Ha. Nonetheless, I went to the first half, because it is better to earn your zero than to... oh wait, no it's not.

I also found it funny that if you are female, you put a red dot sticker on your exam to indicate that you want to be elgible for the prize that goes to the highest female scorer. A red dot, indeed.