Computational and Algorithmic Thinking

What teachers and students think

Are your students ready for a new perspective?

Try the Computational and Algorithmic Thinking (CAT) competition

When: Tuesday 2 May to Thursday 4 May 2023

Cost per student: A$8.00 (Australia and New Zealand)

Entry closing dates: Paper: Friday 7 April / Online: Friday 1 May 2023

This year we are allowing a three-day window, to give you more flexible scheduling in your classes. While you can choose any day in this range, it’s ideal to have your students sit CAT on the same day. 

The Computational and Algorithmic Thinking (CAT) competition is a one-hour problem-solving competition designed to encourage student curiosity and promote multiple modes of thinking.

Neither teachers nor students need computer programming ability, but the competition helps identify students’ computer programming potential. 

The competition is an ideal activity to encourage students to solve real-world problems. It is suitable for any mathematics class and the process helps students become more confident as they take on interesting new challenges. 

The competition has a mixture of multiple-choice and integer answers and incorporates unique ‘three-stage tasks’ that encourage students to develop informal algorithms and apply them to test data of increasing size or complexity. The original problems are designed to be quick to solve and highly approachable, and range in difficulty from very easy to challenging. Some questions test the ability to perform procedures, others require logical thought, while the more challenging problems require the identification and application of algorithms.

The CAT has four divisions: Upper Primary (years 5–6), Junior (years 7–8), Intermediate (years 9–10) and Senior (years 11–12). 

Paper and online versions are available.

New answer sheets process

We will continue to send CAT question booklets in the mail. However, schools will now conveniently print their own CAT answer sheets. And instead of mailing them, they will simply scan and upload them to the competition portal for us to process. Many schools have found this new way of submitting answer sheets to be quicker and easier to manage.

Key benefits of this new system:

  • Get results quicker: We will start processing answer sheets as soon as they are uploaded, meaning a much faster turnaround for students’ results.
  • Manage student names: Schools will now have complete control of student names and changes. This removes the need to check reports and update us via email before certificates can be printed.
  • Keep the answers: Schools can retain the answer sheets for future use and review with students post competition.
  • Reduce costs and delays: Uploading answer sheets means there are now no postage costs and removes the worry of potential postal delays.

Registered home schools

Teachers in home schools are eligible to register as school coordinators and run our competitions. If you would like to do so, please download, fill out and return this registration form to this email address with proof of your home school registration in your state or territory.

How to run the CAT at your school

Download the 2022 competition posters for your school

Share key competition and programs dates with our 2022 school posters. 

Build on CAT with the Oxford University Computing Challenge (OUCC)

The Oxford University Computing Challenge (OUCC) which is available for students who are talented in computer programming. The OUCC builds on the principles used in the CAT competition and helps students develop their skills further to produce programmed solutions to computational thinking problems. The first round is open to all students who have competed in the CATFind out more information about the OUCC here.

Register for competitions now!

All Australian and New Zealand schools

All Australian and New Zealand schools including registered home schools

Coaching clinics and businesses

All Australian and New Zealand coaching clinics and businesses

International organisations

Schools, businesses and coaching clinics outside Australia and New Zealand