Math Club continues success

March 27, 2009 — by Albert Gu

Critics of the United States’ education have long cited American students’ failure to compete in mathematics on the international level. Saratoga High’s math club, however, seems to have no problem in this arena.

Since the beginning of February, the math club has been busy with several math contests and competitions. The most recent competition was on Feb. 28 when the club sent two teams of eight people to participate in the Stanford Math Tournament held at Stanford.

The competition consisted of two team rounds, the Power Question and Team Event, and two individual rounds, in which contestants chose to take either the Algebra or Advanced Topics test and then the Geometry or Calculus test. Saratoga’s teams placed first and 12th out of a total of 28 participating teams, beating rival schools such as Gunn, Lynbrook, Mission San Jose and Palo Alto.

In addition to their stellar team performance, several students placed individually. Sophomore Albert Gu placed third in Algebra, losing to the second place competitor in the tiebreaker round and freshman Brian Wai placed first in Advanced Topics and third in Geometry with perfect scores in both.

“This competition wasn’t the most important to me,” said Wai, “but I feel good that I contributed a lot to the team.”

Saratoga High also held two other math contests, the AMC A and AMC B. Each of the contests had two divisions, the AMC 10 and AMC 12. Underclassmen had the option to take either test, while upperclassmen were required to take the more-difficult AMC 12. Both tests gave 75 minutes to solve 25 problems on pre-calculus topics.

Among top scorers were sophomores Amol Aggarwal and Logan Short with perfect scores of 150 on the AMC 10A, Wai with a perfect score on the AMC 10A, senior Andy Tsao with a score of 138 out of 150 on the AMC 12A and sophomore David Wang with a perfect score on the AMC 10B.
“Ever since seventh grade, I’ve been trying really hard to get the perfect [score],” said Aggarwal. “I was really happy to see that I finally got one.”

The contest is also used to qualify for the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME), a three-hour, 15-question contest held on March 17. Saratoga High had a total of 20 AIME qualifiers.

Aggarwal, Gu and sophomore David Zeng were also invited to participate in the Asian Pacific Mathematics Olympiad (APMO) on Feb. 9, an international contest offered to countries around the pacific rim, including the US. Each country allows up to 30 students to participate, and since Aggarwal, Gu, and Zeng qualified as three of the top 25 freshmen in the country last year, they were selected to take the APMO. The test is a four-hour, five-question test with proof questions.

Several students also participated in the Bay Area Math Olympiad (BAMO), which was held on Feb. 24. The BAMO is another four-hour, five-question test, offered exclusively to Bay Area schools. Saratoga High placed first in the team division. In the 9th and 10th grade divisions, Aggarwal placed first, Gu placed second and Wai received an Honorable Mention.

In the next few weeks, several members of the math club are preparing to participate in the USAMO on April 28-29, a two-day contest with four and a half hours for three questions per day.

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