Free Competitions Help High School Students Prepare for AP Exams

Mar 1, 2010

     Talented local high school students are invited to test their knowledge of physics, math and computer programming - and prepare for Advanced Placement tests - in three separate competitions at The University of Scranton.

     On March 30, the University will host its seventh annual Kane Competition. The contest functions as a way to encourage students to pursue careers in physics and engineering.  

     “This competition serves to provide a level of excitement about physics. It gives students the opportunity to learn but is also an enjoyable experience,” said competition organizer Jeremy Sepinsky, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics at The University of Scranton.

     The timely theme of this year’s competition is “No Brakes,” where students in teams of five to seven will look at physics laws and determine how to use friction to stop a moving cart. Students will use a weighted pulley system to propel a cart across the Byron Recreational Complex with the proper initial velocity such that it rolls to a stop a specified distance from its launch point. 

     Students will also compete individually for a $2,000 scholarship award to The University of Scranton in tests that include a Jeopardy-style quiz that focuses on general knowledge of mechanics, waves, optics and fluids. Questions on the quiz will be similar to those found on the Advanced Placement physics test.

     The 17th annual Computer Programming Contest will take place on April 16 at the University. The competition lasts four hours, during which each team tries to solve six computer programming problems using any of a number of programming languages. The greater the number of problems a team solves, the higher its ranking in the final standings.

     At an awards banquet immediately following the competition, plaques will be presented to the first-, second-, and third-place teams. In addition, each member of the winning team will be awarded a $500 scholarship to the Jesuit university.

     The University of Scranton’s Mathematics Department will hold its third annual Integration Bee on April 27. According to the department, an Integration Bee is like a spelling bee but contestants must calculate integrals instead of spelling words. Questions in the bee will help students hone their skills for Advanced Placement mathematics tests.

     In the first round of the bee, participants will complete 20 definite integrals. For each correct answer, contestants will receive one raffle ticket to be entered for prizes to be drawn. Five participants in each category will move onto the final round, which tests their aptitude with indefinite integrals.

     For more information about the Kane Competition, contact Dr. Sepinsky at or the department secretary at 941-7509. 

     For information about the Computer Programming Contest, contact Robert McCloskey, Ph.D., assistant professor of computing sciences, at or 941-7774. 

     For the Integration Bee, visit or contact Stacey Muir, Ph.D., assistant professor of mathematics, at 941-6580.

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