Ritangle

Ritangle is a competition designed for teams of students aged 16‌-‌18 who are currently studying either:

  • A level Mathematics
  • the International Baccalaureate
  • Scottish Highers
  • qualifications with equivalent content.

No knowledge of maths beyond A level Mathematics is required.

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Students who take part are so engaged and excited by it, every year. They live and breathe it for the duration. And they learn so much from being involved in it.

Maths teacher

How does it work?

The exact dates Ritangle takes place change a little bit every year, but generally it starts at the beginning of October and ends in mid-December - just before the end of term.

Once dates have been confirmed for the upcoming competition, they'll be available here.

Registration

October

Teams can register for this year's competition

Preliminary questions

October - November

One question released at the start of each week.

Every correct answer reveals a piece of information that helps solve the Final Task.

Daily questions

November - December

One question released every day.

Every correct answer reveals a piece of information that helps solve the Final Task.

Final Task

December

Final challenges released.

Use the information you've gained from solving the previous question to reveal new challenges and solve the Final Task.

What can we win?

The prize for the winning team is usually a maths hamper, containing a mix of prizes for individual team members and their school. It includes a free year-long subscription to Integral, and a trophy for the school or college of the winning team!

Every year we are generously supported by friends who contribute to Ritangle's maths hamper prize.

Using technology

Rule 7 of Ritangle states: “Any help with the questions is permitted, including finding information about the questions on the web and using technology.”

You may have never used technology to solve a mathematical problem before but it can be extremely helpful - it can illuminate aspects of the problem that you may not have otherwise noticed and it can be great fun.

Technology can certainly help with some of the questions in Ritangle. This can range from using spreadsheets, to using graphing software, right the way through to coding. You might also find Computer Algebra Systems useful - these can perform algebraic processes in the same way that calculators carry out arithmetic.

Approximating Roots of Equations

Using GeoGebra and Desmos to approximate roots of equations

Download

General advice about Microsoft Excel

A spreadsheet, which can be programmed with Visual Basic

Using Excel to solve a problem involving the digits of numbers

Download

Introduction to programming Excel using Visual Basic

Download

General advice about GeoGebra

Graph plotter, spreadsheet, general mathematical calculator, Computer Algebra System, programmable

General advice about Python

Programming language

General advice about Maplesoft suite of desktop, online and mobile CAS tools

Creative, challenging, innovative - Ritangle nurtured teamwork, enthusiasm, resilience. Absolutely loved it.

Maths teacher

Frequently asked questions

General

Ritangle is a free maths competition aimed at teams of sixth form/ college students running over approximately 10 weeks in the Autumn term. It’s made up of around 24 ‘first round’ questions, released daily on weekdays, which unlock information necessary to solve the final multi-part question.

The first round questions are released at 09:00 (GMT) on this webpage and the Integral Twitter feed over a period of approximately 10 weeks.

The final question is released at 16:00 (GMT) on this webpage and the Integral Twitter feed.

The dates of release for the question are available in the Information and Rules document which is published each year at the start of the competition. Teams are required to read and agree to the Information and Rules document when they register.

Students studying A level Mathematics/Further Mathematics, Scottish Highers or International Baccalaureate anywhere in the world.

Ritangle is pronounced like ‘right angle’ or ‘wry tangle’.

Registration

One student from the team must register the team. The team should agree who this will be to ensure there is only one entry per team. This student is the Team Captain. Every student can only be in one team, including the Team Captain. Once registration opens, you'll be able to do so on the Ritangle webpage and a team must be registered in order to submit answers to the preliminary round and to the main completion.

  • School/college name
  • Team Captain's name
  • Team Captain's e-mail address
  • Nominating Teacher's name
  • Nominating Teacher's e-mail address

No, all students in a team must attend the same school/college

Yes, there is no limit to the number of teams a teacher can be a Nominated Teacher for.

No, each student can only be in one team, including the Team Captain.

Taking part

An Information and Rules document will be published at the start of the competition.

One of the most important rules is about not sharing answers. Please don’t share your answers outside your team, online or anywhere else; others are having fun finding them!

Please note: anyone found leaking the answers or clues inappropriately and anyone found making intentional use of such leaks will be disqualified from the competition.

Yes! We encourage the use of technology, spreadsheets, graphing software and programming can be particularly useful. Any use of online resources/search engines is also permitted.

When we explore maths for ourselves these days, we may have a spreadsheet, a graphing program, a CAS program and a programming environment open simultaneously, and we want Ritangle to have that flavour. We think it is reasonable to expect students to be able to use a graphing program and a spreadsheet. Programming knowledge will not, however, be required for the final question.

On the other hand, we accept that when working against the clock (such as while working on the final task) methods using technology may have outpaced more traditional methods. We bear this in mind when constructing tasks.

It is possible to solve the final question even if you don’t have correct answers to all of the first 24 questions. If it is apparent that a question is too difficult, hints may be provided publicly by the Integral team. Any hints will be made available via Twitter and the Ritangle webpage.

This is tricky. We have tried 9:00 (2016–2018 inclusive) but this favours students whose schools are happy for them to go off timetable for part of the day. On the other hand, 16:00 makes life difficult for other students, who may be travelling at that time. Support for each of these start times has been about equal amongst participants.

Our solution is to make the final task harder to complete quickly, so that the winning time lies between two days and seven days. This is a delicate balancing act.

We have considered dropping the race-to-the-line element of the final task, and having a more qualitative task for those scoring fully on the final question. We have decided to shelve this alternative for now.

Yes! Judges may request to see evidence of working out. Answers to questions are also required at a later stage in the competition. We recommend that each team nominates a member as Team Archivist to keep the team’s working for the questions as they are attempted.

We ask that teachers do not help students directly, but any help with relevant theory is fine.

Winning

Every team who submits a complete set of correct answers to the final question, prior to the correct answers being published, will receive a certificate by email to a teacher in their school.

The winning team will receive a maths hamper, containing a mix of prizes for individual team members and their school. It includes a free year-long subscription to Integral, and a trophy for the school or college of the winning team. We reserve the right to substitute a prize of equivalent value but of less weight/bulk should the winning team be based abroad

Please note: the following is subject to the team providing sufficient evidence (in the opinion of the judges) of their working.

Answers for the final question will be accepted up until the date published in the Information and Rules document.

Scenario 1
The team scoring most highly on the final question will be declared the winner, subject to their working satisfying the judges.
Scenario 2
If there is more than one team with the highest score on the final question, the winner will be chosen, from such teams, as the team that submitted those answers first, subject to their working satisfying the judges.
Scenario 3
In the event that the above does not determine a winner, the winning team will be chosen at the discretion of the judges based on the answers submitted.

If there is a possibility a team has won, the judges will contact the Nominating Teacher to verify details of the team and their participation. If the answer is satisfactory to the judges then that team will be the winner. The decision of the judges is final. No discussion will be entered into regarding the decision over who is the winner. The winning team and the answers will be announced on this webpage and on the Integral Twitter feed.

Any further questions?

Please contact ritangle@mei.org.uk