Math competitions add up to impressive results

February 28, 2011 — by Brandon Judoprasetijo

The school’s math stars have been busy taking tests and bringing home prizes in recent weeks:

17 of the 79 students who took the American Math Competition (AMC) qualified for the American Invitational Mathematics Exam (AIME).

A team led by three seniors placed first overall in the Harvard-MIT Math Tournament (HMMT) on Feb. 12.

The math club’s team A in the Stanford Math Tournament (SMT) placed second overall on Feb. 19.

Sophomores and freshmen had the option of taking either the AMC 10 or 12 while juniors and seniors were required to take the more difficult AMC 12. Both tests were composed of 25 multiple choice questions and were hosted in the Small Gym on Feb. 8 and Feb. 23.

“It wasn’t super hard; it was probably normal difficulty,” freshman club member Matthew Lee said. “Most people in the club should have at least done pretty well. I think that they’d have more confidence while they’re taking it and therefore do better.”

Participants were able to qualify for the AIME by scoring at least 120 points on the AMC 10 and at least 100 points on the AMC 12. According to senior club officer Albert Gu, only around two and a half percent of AMC 10 takers and around one percent of the AMC 12 takers qualify for the AIME. Each correct answer was worth six points each, while problems left unanswered were worth one and a half points and incorrect answers were worth zero points.

Qualifiers included seniors Amol Aggarwal, Gu, David Zeng, Kevin Mu, David Wang, juniors Alissa Zhang, Brian Wai, Evan Ye, David Eng, sophomores Jackie Gu, Amanda Chow, Edward Dong, Justin Chiang, Brian Kim, Kevin Garbe and freshmen Jeffrey Chen and Lee.

The second competition to come was the HMMT. Led by Gu, Zeng and Aggarwal, the team comprised of eight bay area students beat some of the nation’s top schools including Phillip Exeter Academy, Phillips Andover, Lehigh Valley and the New York City Math Team. In order to come out on top, the team gathered points from individual testing scores, two team tests, one proof test and one speed test.

“I had always wanted to go to this because it is one of the biggest competitions,” Gu said. “To actually win this was an amazing experience.”

The last of the results came from the SMT, which is a variant of the HMMT. The competition provided a variety of tests on subjects such as advance maths, geometry, algebra and general mathematics for its participants to take.

According to sophomore club member Nessa Kim, who entered the general mathematics test individually, the test was harder than last year’s because of the competing teams from countries around the world such as Beijing and Iran.

“Everything was really hard,” Kim said. “You did really well if you got at least five out of 20 or 25. But I feel like I did better than last year. I felt good after the test.”

The team that placed second overall was the math club’s A team named after an inside joke, “Fatting Grub.”

During the power round, in which teams worked on problems revolving around this year’s topic of Coordinate Geometry, Fatting Grub came out on top taking first place. After writing up mathematical proofs together in the team round and completing other problems in the individual round, the team finished only behind “AAST,” a team from New Jersey that has won first place several times in the past already.

“We managed to work together nicely on the team rounds,” Gu said. “I don’t think we were really expecting to beat AAST. We did better on the team round, but they had many strong individuals.”

Although the club had just finished two important competitions, more have yet to come, including the Santa Clara Valley Mathematics Association Field Day which will be taking place later this month. However, regardless of the seemingly never ending competitive events that come up for the math club, the members maintain good attitudes and high spirits.

“Personally, I do it for the experience because I’m still learning and getting used to the competitions,” Kim said. “The only pressure is to get better and work on your own skills as well as trying to help others in the club. I think that’s the basic idea of the math club. The competitions are for the fun and the challenge.”

2 views this week