Student Scores Big on Tough Exam

Colin Clark one of top four math students in Washington and Oregon

By: Kristi Spurgeon

The William Lowell Putnam Mathematics Competition is one of the most difficult mathematics exams any math student will face. Out of the 120 points on the optional test, individuals who scored just two points placed in the 70th percentile, and 62 percent of the contestants scored 0.

But not Walla Walla College student Colin Clark.

Clark scored 20 points on this year’s exam, which landed him in the 89th percentile. That’s the second highest percentile any WWC student has reached since the school began offering the test in 1979. In addition, the score places him among the top four students at any college or university in Washington and Oregon.

“I thought the test was quite difficult,” says the senior math major. “I only attempted two problems and each took about two and a half hours to complete. Although I felt fairly confident about both problems, I was quite surprised that I got full credit for both.”

More than 3,600 students at more than 500 colleges and universities in the United States took the six-hour test in December.

Learn more about the unique challenges WWC students face in the Putnam Exam in a recent Westwind article.

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