Dozens participate in prestigious math competition

February 14, 2019 — by Howard Tang

Approximately 70 students took Mathematics Association of America’s (MAA) American Mathematics Competition (AMC) on Feb. 7 and 13 in the school library for a chance to qualify for the American Invitational Mathematics Exam (AIME).

In the AMC, students are given 75 minutes to solve 25 challenging problems. Each correctly answered question is worth six points, each unanswered question is worth 1.5 points and each wrongly answered question is worth no points. Those who score in the top 5 percent are invited to take the AIME, which will occur on March 13.

Two tests were administered on each day, and test-takers chose one depending their grade level. The AMC 10 was available to freshmen and sophomores, while the AMC 12 was available to all grade levels. The AMC 12 is generally harder than the AMC 10.

The problems are of various topics and difficulties. They can cover number theory, combinatorics and anything taught in high school, except for calculus.

“It has very original problems compared to the problems given out in school because you need more creativity to solve the problems,” said math club vice president Brandon Wang, who has excelled at the test in the past and has attended the prestigious Mathematical Olympiad Program (MOP) twice. “You need to connect ideas from across various areas of math.”

Those who have a high enough combined AMC 10 or AMC 12 and AIME score will be eligible for the USA Junior Math Olympiad (USAJMO) or the USA Math Olympiad (USAMO). Those who score high in the USA(J)MO are invited to MOP.

SHS traditionally ranks high among all schools in the U.S. Last year, 34 students qualified for the AIME. Results for this year’s two tests will come out in approximately three weeks.

After taking the AMC 12A, the first of the two tests, on Feb. 7, junior Shivam Verma said that the overall difficulty of the AMC 12 was much harder than the AMC 10’s he took in previous years.

“The problems were easier to get stuck on and were more prone to silly mistakes,” Verma said.

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