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There are several steps and tests that a student has to complete before finally qualifying for the Math Olympiad. Here are some of them:
- Take the AMC 10 or AMC 12
The AMC 10 and AMC 12 are national tests administered by the Mathematical Association of America. They are designed to evaluate the students’ analytical thinking, mathematical and problem-solving skills
The AMC 10 is for students in the 9th and 10th grades who are under 17.5 years old on the day of the competition. It covers the high school math curriculum up to the 10th grade only.
The AMC 12 is for students in the 11th and 12th grades who are under 19.5 years old on the day of the competition. It covers the entire math high school curriculum which includes trigonometry, advanced algebra, and advanced geometry. It does not include calculus.
Both tests are comprised of 25 multiple-choice questions and last for 75 minutes. The use of a calculator is not allowed for either exam.
- Take the AIME
The AIME (American Invitational Mathematics Examination) is an intermediate examination given to students who took the AMC 10 and were in the top 2.5% and to those who took the AMC 12 and placed in the top 5%.
This is a very difficult exam with 15-question which competitors have to complete within 3 hours.
- Qualify for the US Math Olympiad (USAMO)
The AIME score is multiplied by ten and added to the AMC score. An index of 210 or higher qualifies a student for the USAMO which is the third test in a series where the top scorers will have the opportunity to represent the country in the International Math Olympiad (IMO).
The USAMO is a two-day, 9-hour exam, two 4.5-hour sessions where participants are given six questions to answer without using calculators. The responses are assessed for the correctness and given a score between 0 to 7 points.
The top 12 students are invited to Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony. Six of them are later selected to form the United States IMO team. Along with other top scorers, they will also be invited to participate in the Math Olympiad Summer Program (MOSP), a 3-4 week math program for students who are considered to be the brightest in the country.
Why join math competitions?
If you want to get an early start and be in a better position in your child’s college applications, participating in math competitions will be an advantage because this can demonstrate intellectual capacity and commitment to the subject matter. High GPA, SAT, and ACT scores are sometimes not enough to give leverage. Participating in a national or international scholastic competition will give the differentiation that will make admissions officers consider your child’s application.
Since nearly all math competitions are team-oriented, they provide a great sense of camaraderie and sportsmanship as students prepare to compete as part of a group. They also provide opportunities to develop and hone leadership skills, which are highly valued by admissions officers in colleges and universities. Competitions are also good for developing social skills as students can interact with people from other schools, districts, states, and even countries when they get to qualify for international contests.
What is the difference between AMC 10 and AMC 12?
The only differences between the two are the set of questions and examination dates. They both have the same number of questions, rules for administration, and scoring. In terms of qualifying for the AIME, students that are in the top 2.5% with at least 120 points in the AMC 10 contest are invited to take the AIME. Students that score over 100 points or are in the top 5% of the AMC 12 contest are invited to take the AIME.
When is the registration deadline for AMC 10/12?
You may visit the MAA website for the updated registration dates for AMC 1-/12 and other important dates for the AMC competitions.
How are AMC Competitions administered?
AMC competitions are school-based. If your school is not registered to hold the contests, you may look for nearby schools or institutions of higher education that can accept you at their location. Otherwise, you talk to your math teacher or school principal and request that your school be registered for the contests.