ORU Students Take the World’s Hardest Math Exam

Students Taking Math Exam

Tulsa Okla.— Oral Roberts University’s (ORU) undergrad math students competed in the 82nd William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, known as the most complex math test in the world. The challenging six-hour test was administered by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and is considered the world’s most prestigious university-level math competition. This year’s median score was 4 out of 120, with ORU students scoring as high as 10, and ranking within the top 50% of students nationally who took the test. 

“I am so proud of all our students,” said Dr. Andrew Lang, ORU Senior Professor of Mathematics. “Having five students score this well is amazing. One of my students, Caleb Alons, scored a ten, which is truly a great achievement, especially as a freshman. The eagerness of our student competitors, our faculty advisors' commitment, and our institution's recognition demonstrate how much our University values student-faculty engagement in mathematics.”

The Putnam Competition is geared toward undergrad students enrolled at U.S. and Canadian universities regardless of nationality. At ORU, the exam was administered to a select group of students by Dr. Lang and Dr. Enrique Valderrama-Araya, ORU Associate Professor of Mathematics. A total of 2,975 students at 427 institutions participated in the Putnam this year. This included ORU students Caleb Alons, who scored a ten, Aidan Wright, Andrew Chapuis, and Payton Blankenship, who scored a four, and Andrew Westland, who scored a three.

“I've had my eyes on the Putnam ever since I fell in love with math,” said Caleb. “My goal was to achieve a nonzero score before finishing my undergrad. In the test room, I remember hearing the Holy Spirit tell me which problem to solve, and it gave me peace of mind, creative insight, and great clarity. After receiving my score, it confirmed the Holy Spirit was speaking to me in the testing room that day. Breaking zero on my first Putnam attempt has been by far the highlight of my studies at ORU.”

ORU’s Bachelor of Science in Mathematics program equips students to become highly skilled mathematicians. The program gives students the knowledge and skills to address applied mathematical problems in business, engineering, science, and other fields. It also prepares students to pursue advanced studies in pure or applied mathematics. More than this, the unique mission at ORU is to develop Holy Spirit-empowered leaders who will stand apart and impact the world through whole-person education.

“We are so pleased to have the opportunity to prepare our students to tackle the new problems of the world,” said Dr. Valderrama-Araya. “A strong mathematics foundation will be key to understanding and solving new challenges, where critical thinking and creativity make a difference in our broken world. Even more, our students are equipped to understand that with God’s help, everything is possible."



ORU is a Christian, Spirit-empowered, interdenominational university in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with over a decade of consecutive enrollment growth. Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, ORU offers over 150 majors, minors, concentrations, and pre-professional programs at the bachelor’s level, ranging from business and engineering to nursing, ministry, and more. Under the leadership of President Dr. William Wilson, ORU is preparing students from all 50 states and 126 nations to be whole leaders for the whole world.

The Wall Street Journal ranked ORU as the #4 university in the nation for student engagement. This ranking is based upon faculty interactions, collaborative learning, critical thinking, real-world applications of student learning, the extent to which classes challenge students, and whether students would recommend a university to others. Niche ranked ORU as one of the top 25 most diverse colleges in America.

ORU is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as: 

  • #1 in Undergraduate Teaching
    #2 in Most International Students
    #3 in Best Value
    #6 in Best College for Veterans
    #7 in Best Regional Colleges in the West 

For more information, visit www.oru.edu.

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