Contact Us

Search Caribou FAQ


1 - Contest Results and Rankings

  • 1.1 - Can a student find out which questions they answered correctly?

    At the end of the contest day (after 8:00pm Eastern Time) a student can click Students on the side menu and enter their access code and name to view all of their results, question by question. Additionally, they can view their ranks and print certificates.

  • 1.2 - Why are results only preliminary in the few days after each contest?

    There are several reasons why the statistics and ranking need to be corrected after the contest. It is possible for our contest creators to make mistakes, so rarely questions have multiple correct solutions. We also run some tests to detect collaboration between students, which can lead to removal of some results upon further investigations.

  • 1.3 - My child/student misspelled their name today when starting the contest. Can you fix it?

    If you know how it was misspelled, you can sign in as the student, then go to their Edit My Account page, which allows them to edit their name.

    If you can't figure out how it was misspelled, you can contact your teacher to find out, or you can contact us as well (include the address and name of your school if you contact us).

  • 1.4 - Is there a prize or trophy for the best school performance?

    We will not perform a ranking of schools to encourage everyone to take part, not only the best.

  • 1.5 - How are students ranked in the contests and in the Caribou Cup?

    In contests, students are ranked according to the number of points they achieved. In the event of a tie, the student with a shorter test time will get the better rank.

    In the Caribou Cup, the points of the contests in which a student participated are added up but at most from 5 contests are considered. If a student participated in 6 contests then the points of the best 5 contests are used for the total score and a total time is determined by adding the times of these contests.

    Similar to the contest ranking, the cup ranking is based on the total score with the total time being a tie-breaker, the lower the the total time, the better.

  • 1.6 - Do you get more points for finishing the test faster?

    No, only if 2 students have the same number of points then time is a tie-breaker.

2 - Contest Rules and Content

  • 2.1 - What are the rules of the contest?

    The contest rules are as follows.
    • Students have 60 minutes to complete the test.
    • If a student idle for 30 minutes, their participation will be forfeited.
    • Calculators are not permitted. We recommend pencil and paper.
    • Students are to write the test individually, with no help from others.

  • 2.2 - Is there a penalty for an incorrect answer or a partial reward for leaving an answer blank?

    No. Incorrect answers and blank answers get both zero points.

  • 2.3 - How are games integrated into the scoring system?

    The student gets full marks for the question when winning against the computer, or for solving the puzzle in single player games.

  • 2.4 - What is the purpose of the games?

    The main purpose is for children to have fun, train logical thinking and to providing some enrichment to the contests that traditional tests can not.

  • 2.5 - In the games some luck is involved through randomized play of the computer. How would this be a fair assessment?

    Children can try as often as they want and they have time. As soon as they won, they are told to click submit and then they get full marks. If someone is good in the logic of the game then they will finish this quickly in less time than solving other 5 point questions, if not, they can finish it in much more time which then will be missing for other questions. On the other hand, before introducing interactive questions, the average use of time is about 30 minutes out of 60 (see Overall Contest Statistics, select year 2011) so plenty of time to try many times and to learn from failed attempts.

  • 2.6 - Could students not forget the contest over the game?

    When solved correctly and submitted, the games can not be retried. The interactive question also contains a warning to be aware of the passing time.

  • 2.7 - Isn't using a game like Skyscrapers unfair to students who have not played it before?

    In our contests we want to reward students who practice. Therefore we have previous contests online and we have our games page which shows games that can come up as interactive questions. We also inform all teachers before each contest which interactive question will be featured.

3 - On Contest Days

  • 3.1 - Why does the home page show 'Start the Contest' in the top right corner if the contest is tomorrow?

    In Japan (and many other parts of the world) it already is tomorrow.

  • 3.2 - Payments have been made, what now?

    A purchase can be used for two purposes:

    • to convert an access code that has already been used in a contest and that is free (usable only in the October contest) into a paid code (usable all year), or
    • to create new access codes to be given to students who have not
      participated this school year.

    Both purposes are described in the two FAQ below.

  • 3.3 - Access codes have been purchased for students who have not participated this school year. Where are the codes?


    • login as teacher,
    • click 'Manage a Payment',
    • look for a table with the right age group,
    • at the bottom of the table next to 'Create New Paid Access Codes' select the number of new access codes to be created and click 'Submit',
    • on the contest day hand out these codes to new participating students. Access codes become automatically associated to student names when they write their first contest and use the codes, not before.

  • 3.4 - A payment was made for students to participate for the rest of the year. How?


    • login as teacher,
    • click 'Manage a Payment',
    • look for a table with the right age group,
    • select name-code's on the left of a table by clicking on them and then click 'Submit'. Names and their access codes are moved to the right, i.e. the selected students can use their code for the rest of the year.

  • 3.5 - How do I assign new access codes to students?

    Access codes get associated to students automatically when students participate for the first time and use a new code.

  • 3.6 - Do students have to use the same code as in previous contests?

    Yes, students use the same code for the whole school year. They also need to keep their code to inspect their results online and print certificates.

  • 3.7 - I am a teacher and forgot my password.

    This is when the special date becomes important.

    • If you have not set a special date then click 'Contact Us' on the home
      page and send an email to Caribou Contests.
    • If you have set a special date but you forgot it, then send us an email too and later set a special date that you can remember better, like your birthday.
    • Else: when you try to sign in as teacher above the input boxes click the link 'Forgot your password? Reset it.' and use your special date.

  • 3.8 - Due to a computer crash/fire drill/power outage/... a student lost time during the contest. What can be done?

    On contest days a teacher can give a student 5 min more time by clicking 'Increase Test Time' if necessary repeatedly. A teacher can also delete a contest participation by clicking 'Remove a Test Entry' and allow the student to write the test again with the same access code and thus giving the student again 60 min.

  • 3.9 - I am a parent and purchased an access code for my child. What is the code?

    You will not get an access code. The contact person/teacher of your school got a credit assigned and is sent an email with the names of the beneficiary student(s) you specified. If your child has not participated this year, the teacher will generate a code and hand it out on the contest day or otherwise use the payment to convert the free code used previously by your child to a paid code usable for the rest of the school year.

  • 3.10 - I am a student and forgot my access code and therefore can not see results.

    When starting the contest you acknowledged that you need to keep your password. Your teacher can look it up by logging in and clicking 'Display Access Codes'.

  • 3.11 - A student can not log in and start the contest..

    Beware that 1 and I and 0 and O are all different letters. We will not issue access codes using 1,I,0,O anymore but those currently in use need to be used till the end of the 2013/14 school year. Another source of error comes from students mistyping their name either now or when participating for the first time. The name used for the first time needs to be used throughout the school year. This name can be changed by the teacher. Finally, sometimes there are schools with very similar names. Be careful to select the correct school.

4 - Participation

  • 4.1 - I am doing Home Schooling. Can I enter the competition?

    Yes you can provided you are doing Grade 3-12 Math courses. Also, you would have to be supervised by an adult in the school or Municipal Library while completing the one hour contest.

  • 4.2 - I am a home schooled student, but my local library does not want to participate. Do I have other options?

    You can ask any other public library in your area, or you can also go to any school that is registered and ask whether you can take part (see the list of registered schools).

  • 4.3 - I do not want to bug my teacher about entering the competition. Can I do the contest at home?

    No. When you are doing the contest, you will need to be supervised by a staff member at school e.g. a teacher. The teacher does not have to be your teacher, or a mathematics teacher.

  • 4.4 - I do not live in Canada. Can I still enter the competition?

    Yes. The contest is available to over 200 countries worldwide.

  • 4.5 - Can students participate in later contests if they missed the first this school year?

    Of course they can, each contest is separate. The only difference is the first contest is free to try, while later contests have a paid entry. The student will also miss out on points they may have earned towards the Caribou Cup at the end of the year when prizes are awarded according to the total number of points obtained in their best five out of six contests in the whole school year.

  • 4.6 - Can a student who is strong in math participate at a higher grade level than the grade level that (s)he attends at school?

    Yes, but each student can participate in only one grade level and the student can not switch the grade level during the school year, e.g. if it turns out to be too hard.

  • 4.7 - We have concerns about confidentiality as results pages show students' full names, school and city. What can be done?

    Students can use any name like only initials, initials with numbers etc, however:
    • the teacher has to guarantee that each name (initials or whatever) is used only once in each of the grade levels 3/4, 5/6, 7/8, 9/10, 11/12 at your school
    • only the top 50 names in each grade level are shown on results pages and it is hard to get into the top 50
    • parents and grandparents will not be happy if on the certificate that students can print for free after each contest and after the Cup not the real name is shown but some initials or a number.
    • in the case that one of the students wins a prize then a cheque is sent to the student and it might be a challenge to cash it in if it shows under 'Payable to' just initials and numbers
    • it does not seem very friendly to competitors. If a student reaches a rank among the top 50 then it would be natural that the student wants to know who was better and not just an initial or a number.

  • 4.8 - My son/daughter changes school in the middle of the school year. The new school does not participate in Caribou contests. What can we do?

    The simplest solution is that your child writes the remaining contests of this school year at the new school using the same access code that was used so far. All that is needed at the new school is 60 min of computer time during a contest day. This does not require the new school to register.

5 - Payments and Financial

  • 5.1 - Can I claim the HST?

    Yes. Schools or parents can claim the HST from the Canada Revenue Agency by referring to our business name "Caribou Contests" and business number BN 834584237RT0001.

  • 5.2 - Which contests are free?

    The October contest is free for all age groups. Grade 3/4 is free for the entire year.

  • 5.3 - We only now heard about the contest and want to start participating in February. Will our first contest be free?

    No, only the October contest is free, unless your students are in grade 3/4 then all contests are free.

  • 5.4 - The teacher is willing to run the contests but does not want to purchase access codes. What can we do?

    The teacher should sign in and change the setting to "Allow Third Party Payments" using the Edit My Account page. Upon allowing third party payments, the school and teacher will appear on the purchase access codes and school wide pass pages, allowing others to be able to pay for the contests.

  • 5.5 - I am a parent. Our school does not want to administer further contests apart from the free one, even if we parents pay.

    Maybe you can talk to the teacher and ask what the reason is and help to overcome the problem(s). For example, if the problem is the lack of computer lab time, some schools run the Caribou Contest at 7:30am before school. If the teacher simply doesn't want to run it, perhaps ask another teacher or another school.

  • 5.6 - How can one pay?

    There are several ways to pay.
    The teacher can pay from a PayPal account, with a credit card or can send one or more cheques. The teacher also can enable other people to pay with their own PayPal account or credit card. Allowing others to pay is suitable if funding comes from fund raising or a sponsor or from another organization.

    You can buy individual access codes here, or buy a school wide pass here.

  • 5.7 - How can I get a receipt for my payment?

    After payment is made, PayPal displays the receipt which you can then print for your records.

  • 5.8 - Which information do I as a teacher have to give a paying parent/institution?

    To payer needs to know:
    • the name of the school which you as teacher are registered with (you can find the exact appearance of the name when logging in as teacher and clicking "Edit my Account")
    • the registered teachers name (so your name).
    • how many access codes for which age group (5/6 and 7/8 and 9/10 and 11/12) shall be purchased or whether a school wide pass shall be purchased.
    The payer can also type in the names of the beneficiary students but this is optional. The purpose is for parents to indicate to the teacher which child is paid for.

  • 5.9 - Why can't I send money with my credit card through PayPal?

    Possible reasons are:
    • Have you reached your sending limit?
    • Have you reached the spending limit on your credit card? Contact your card issuer to find out.
    • From countries which are not listed here one can not pay with credit card through PayPal. In that case please contact us.

  • 5.10 - Have you received our school's cheque, and if so, when I can expect to be able to access the student codes?

    All cheques we received get issued the corresponding access codes right away, at least on the same day. So if you do not see the codes when you log in as a teacher and click 'Display Access Codes' then we do not have the cheque yet.

    If you have sent the cheque and if 2 days before the contest you still have not got the access codes then contact us and let us know whether the cheque you sent pays for a school wide pass or the number of access codes for each grade level which your cheque pays for. We then issue access codes temporarily so that your students do not get punished for slow mail but we will remove the codes and participation if the cheques do not arrive in the next 2 weeks.

  • 5.11 - I am a teacher. How do I know who paid for the math competitions?

    When a third party (e.g. parent) pays for access codes the buyer is asked to input the names of beneficiary students. This is an optional input. The teacher then gets an email with these names each time a third party payment was made.

6 - Questions and Solutions

  • 6.1 - Why is there an overlap of questions between different age groups?

    If one has many participants in one age group and needs to do a multiple choice test then one needs many questions so that the winner is not decided by pure luck. There is no way around that. On the other hand the contests can not take longer than 60 min due to constraints at schools to schedule them and to provide computer access. But having 20+ questions to be done in 60 min there simply is not much time per question, so a good portion of the questions needs to be solvable in short time if one knows how.

    Another aspect. If one looks at and selects any one of the grade 11/12 (or grade 9/10) contests then one sees that many of the questions from lower grades are solved by only 50% of the high grade students, so the low grade questions are already too challenging for 50% of the high grade students. Also, we can not have and do not want to run a contest only for the strongest students.

    Finally, having overlap between the age groups allows us to have 6 contests
    per group which has a chance to make a difference in the life of the students as
    now several schools opened weekly math clubs and some even a math club twice a
    week because the next contest is coming soon.

  • 6.2 - Does Caribou provide solutions to questions?

    We do not provide solutions to all questions. For some of the questions one can watch video solutions by clicking 'Practice Tests -> Video Solutions' or 'Practice Tests -> Our YouTube Channel'. To find at least the correct option of any question one can try the different options one by one in different practise tests.

7 - Running the Contest

  • 7.1 - We are having problems with our Internet connectivity today at our school and may not be able to write the contest today. Is there any possibility of an alternate date?

    Sorry, but we cannot run the contest on an alternate date. During the evening on a contest day, the test is marked, ranked etc as promised to all participating students. In the worst case, you could phone a nearby school or library to let your students write the contest. Students can start the contest right up until 3:30pm your local time, although it should be invigilated so that students do not get unfair help.

  • 7.2 - How long does the contest take to administer and does it have to be done at a specific time of day?

    When a student starts a contest, they have 60 minutes to complete it. The contest can be started anytime during the hours of 7:30am to 3:30pm. If you have a computer for each contestant then you need to be present only for a little over an hour including set up.

  • 7.3 - On the day of the next contest we have a clash with other activities. What could be done?

    To minimize such occurrences, we publish the dates of all contests at the beginning of the school year. Unfortunately we can not change the contest days because many schools already did bookings of computer labs and we can not have your school take part later because all the statistics, rankings, etc are automatically calculated immediately upon the contest's closing.

    If you are on a trip, your students may find an Internet cafe or a public library where they can sit for an hour.

  • 7.4 - Where do I go to start the contest?

    Click "Contests" on the side menu, or on a contest day, the countdown timer turns into a button which you can click to go directly to the contest sign in page.

  • 7.5 - How do I participate in the contests?

    Please see the How to Participate page.

  • 7.6 - Can our students use personal laptops to write the contest?

    Students can use any computer to write the contest (even a phone, if they really wanted to), provided it is on your school's network.

  • 7.7 - Do students need to use 60 minutes consecutively, or can they split it up?

    The contest cannot be split up. Otherwise they could look at the questions first and organize the solutions before trying again.

  • 7.8 - Can students use iPad for the contest?

    Students can use any computer to write the contest (even a phone, if they really wanted to), provided it is linked to your school's network. To be 100% sure the contact person can use one of these iPad to login and then click 'Edit my Account' and then click 'Update IP' so that these iPad are identified to have been used at school.

  • 7.9 - Why does the home page show 'START THE CONTEST' in the top right corner if the contest is tomorrow?

    In Japan it already is 'tomorrow'.

  • 7.10 - Can one cheat when pressing the "End Test" button and stopping the time?

    The JavaScript timer stops but the time spent still counts. The start time is stored on the server.

8 - Student Access Codes

  • 8.1 - How do I get access codes for paid and/or free contests?

    Only teachers can obtain access codes, free or paid.

    Paid access codes are emailed to the teacher when the payment is made (unless they need to manage the payment, where they can choose to pay for any free access codes they've acquired or create new ones).

    Free access codes (the first contest or those teachers with a school wide pass) can be obtained using the Get Free/More Access Codes page, also available on the teacher main menu.

  • 8.2 - Do I need to request new access codes for each contest or can students use the same access code for each contest?

    Each student uses the same access code that they used in the previous contests they wrote in the school year. If they haven't written any contests yet this year, then they can use any previously unused access code (which they must then use for subsequent contests).

  • 8.3 - Does it matter if I do not use all the access codes?

    Technically no, nothing bad will happen. However, if you paid for the access codes, then some student might as well write the contest.

  • 8.4 - I forgot my access code.

    Please contact your teacher, as they can see all the access codes and will be able to retrieve it for you. If you cannot get a hold of your teacher, feel free to contact us as well, giving us your full name and the name and address of your school.

  • 8.5 - Is it too late to get new access codes for the contest tomorrow?

    It is not too late. You can even get access codes on a contest day.

9 - Teacher Accounts

  • 9.1 - Please change the email address on my account.

    You can change your email address from the Edit My Account page, available once you log in.

    When you change your email, your account on Caribou will be activated until you confirm your email address. If you typo while changing your email, contact us with the details.

  • 9.2 - I've moved schools and am looking to register my new school. How can I do this?

    Go to the Edit My Account page. Scroll down to "Change Schools" at the bottom. Change the country/province if needed, then select your new school in the list and hit Submit. If the new school is not in the list, you can add it to our database on this page.

  • 9.3 - I am no longer the contact person of our school and I am not replaced. Please remove me from your email list.

    Go to the Edit My Account page and deselect the "Allow Caribou to Contact Me" checkbox and hit Submit.

  • 9.4 - I am currently registered for my school. Can another teacher at my school register too?

    Yes. The other teacher would register just as you did. Your school's two (or more) teacher accounts do not interfere with each other's ability to run the contests.
    If one teacher purchases a school wide pass, all teachers of your school will be informed and all of you will be granted an unlimited number of student access codes. Keep this in mind as you plan out the year.

  • 9.5 - Why do you need the IP address of the school?

    Previously (before 2013) each student got a new password at school before each contest. Now we have only one access code per student for the whole year. To prevent students from writing the contest at home once they got their access code we check that when writing the contest the IP address of the student's computer has the same domain as the school computer network. To know the IP address of the school network, the teacher is asked when working on a school computer after signing in once to click 'Edit my Account' and further down 'Update IP'.

  • 9.6 - I am leaving our school. How can another teacher of our school take over?

    You should log in one more time with your email address and password. Then click 'Edit My Account' and type in the name, email address, special date, new password,.. from the teacher that takes over so that the new teacher can manage that account and inherit all paid access codes and can access previous student results.

10 - Technical Problems

  • 10.1 - What happens if the computer crashes or the Internet goes down?

    Students can resume the contest if they still have time remaining. They simply sign into the contest again to resume it.

  • 10.2 - Because of a major school wide problem, my students could not complete the contest. This was not their fault. What can we do?

    As a teacher, you have access to a special contest day only tool, "Remove a Test Entry." Sign in on a contest day, and will see the link to the tool on your teacher main menu. Using the tool, you can remove individual entries of students so they can restart the test. You should contact us to let us know that you are going to use the tool being doing so. We get informed every time the tool is used, as to prevent some people from abusing it.

  • 10.3 - At least some students at our school could not run the interactive question. Can we be compensated for the lost marks?

    We are sorry but we can not compensate you or your school's participants for problems with your computers. Here are a few reasons.

    From the roughly 10,000 participants we obtained only 2 emails that there were problems with running this question, for all other participants it seems to have worked well.

    We had a similar discussion before and it brought strong complains from those students and their parents who had working computers, whether they were successful in the interactive question or not.

    On the Caribou News we already announced a week before the contest which interactive question will come up and asked to check it out on our games web page. We also informed all teachers in an email one week before the contest which interactive question will be featured to check it and let us know if there are problems.

    Finally, only the best 5 out of 6 contests are counted so the disadvantage will be limited.

    About the problem itself, we do not think it is because of the age of your computers. We test our games on old browsers back to Internet Explorer 6. The problem may be the setup, that disables javascript or prevents your computers from playing games. For example, there was once a school board which prevented all computers of their schools from loading a page that had the word 'game' on it.

    It would be very helpful if you could ask the IT department of your school board to try yesterday's contest as practice test and identify the problem and let us know what we could do to prevent it.

  • 10.4 - I am a teacher. When I want to edit student names for printing the certificates some names show only the first letter.

    Probably these student names involve french characters. Please use a different web browser as some browsers do not handle french letters well.