AMC to take place; math club looks forward to foster interest

January 29, 2017 — by Jay Kim and Michael Zhang

With changes to the American Mathematics Competition (AMC), qualification for the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME) will be more challenging this year.

With changes to the American Mathematics Competition (AMC), qualification for the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME) will be more challenging this year.

Previously, students had to score above 120 points on the AMC 10 or 100 points on the AMC 12 in order to qualify. But now, only the top 5 percent of scores will be invited to take the AIME.

With the competitions coming up on Feb. 7 and Feb 15, juniors Aayush Gupta and Andrew Zheng said they feel confident in their preparation. Both agree that practice and development of key skills is key to doing well on such an exam.

“It turns out that a persistent attitude and decent intuition is more important than [memorizing formulas],” Gupta said. He said  that this is what makes the AMC a fairly unusual problem-solving contest.

While Gupta has his sights set high, Zheng also values the experience of participating in such a contest.

“I feel that these competitions are not just something I do for college, but also a way for me to gauge how well I am able to perform in mathematics,” Gupta said. “For me, it’s not as much a number of how competitions I can go up to but rather what I can learn from the experience.”

The AMC 10/12 is a 25-question, 75-minute test held in February. Among the nationwide participants, the top 5 percent are invited to take the more challenging 3-hour and 15-question American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME) in March.

Last year, Gupta and Zheng, junior Anthony Ding, sophomore Catherine Wu and freshman Nevin Liang and Brandon Wang advanced from the AIME to the United States of America Junior Mathematical Olympiad (USAJMO), a highly competitive test that only 198 students were invited to take.

All six USAJMO qualifiers are taking the AMC 10/12 once again. “It’s one of our goals to do well in the contest because it’s really a good way to see different problems using creative applications,” Math Club secretary junior Rahul Kumar said. “Our primary goal is to allow people to enjoy math by taking the contest.”

Unlike the math courses typically taught in school, the AMC contests force students to be creative in their problem solving strategies. Club members say that the key to doing well on these competitions is knowing which equations and techniques can be used to handle various scenarios.

As the contest approaches, the club is helping students prepare by supplying them with practice problems and tests, as well as giving them a chance to go over questions.

“Generally the club’s goal is to foster people’s interest in math,” Kumar said. “By taking these contests, people can show off what they learned and try it on different problems.”

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