Solution Paper Guidelines

  • The following guidelines come from Moody's as to how the paper needs to be formatted for the submission. Please be sure to review them and prepare a template to be used the day of the challenge. Feel free to run the template by me BEFORE the challenge weekend.

    No identifying marks

    Do NOT include any identifying information in your solution paper other than your team ID #.


    • Solution papers must be typed and in English.
    • Papers must be in standard 8½ x 11 document format, no longer than 20 single-sided pages in length. Please use a minimum font size (12) and minimum margins (1 inch all around).
    • Each page of the solution paper must contain the team's ID # and page number in the header at the top of the page. For example: Team # 005, page 1 of 15.
    • A solution paper must be contained in a single file upload and must be formatted in Microsoft Word 97 or newer, or submitted as a PDF. No other file types will be accepted.
    • Multiple files contained in a ZIP file or other compressed file format will not be accepted. No supplemental files should be uploaded with your solution paper.
    • Charts, tables, and other graphics must be embedded into the Word or PDF document.


    A solution paper will typically have the following elements:

    1. SUMMARY of results, clearly identified and not more than one page in length, must be the first page of your solution paper.  It should be a concise, straightforward explanation of the main results and answer the questions posed, written with minimal use of technical language.  Judges will not read past a poorly written summary.
    2. RESTATEMENT of the problem, and JUSTIFICATION of all assumptions.
    3. ANALYSIS of the problem, DESIGN of the model, and JUSTIFICATION of the modeling used.
    4. DISCUSSION of how the model can be tested for accuracy, stability and sensitivity to assumptions.

    Citations: Teams are required to provide citations to original source materials whenever they make use of a direct quote, an image or figure, basic fact, or an idea from a source. Each reference should have a citation within the solution paper, where that information is used.  No particular citation style is required, but citations should be consistent throughout.

    Code: If you write code as part of your solution paper or an appendix (not required), you should explain the methodology, but do not include the code in the solution paper. Judges will not spend time reading and interpreting code submissions.

    Organization, conciseness, and clarity of the solution paper are critical.


    You may upload your solution paper at any time from the start of the Challenge until the 9:00 p.m. (local time) deadline. Each time you upload, your most recent paper will entirely replace your previous upload. Your last upload prior to the deadline will be your entire submission of record; it must be in the form and contain all aspects of yourpaper – this is the submission on which you will be judged.

    Partial solutions are acceptable. The judges are particularly interested in each team’s approach and methods.

    No supplemental materials will be accepted once you have submitted your final solution paper before the deadline.

    By uploading a solution paper during Challenge weekend, you are guaranteeing that the work is wholly your own. All suspected instances of plagiarism will be taken seriously and investigated. Plagiarism will result in disqualification. The M3 Challenge uses to vet submission for possible plagiarism.