What is the American Mathematics Contest (AMC)?

What is the American Mathematics Contest (AMC)?

AMC is an acronym for American Mathematics Contest, formerly known as American High School Mathematics Examination (AHSME), which was established in 1950 by MAA (Mathematics Association of America). It’s a competition developed for all mathematics enthusiasts, suitable for 3rd to 12th grade students.

The American Mathematics Contest (AMC) broadens students’ horizons and stimulates their interests in learning through progressive competitions and team learning. Through the competitions, students get a reality check and know where they stand when compared with other students of the same grade. This gives students international exposure and learning, which serves as a very valuable opportunity to challenge oneself.

Participation in the American Mathematics Contest (AMC) provides students with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to challenge themselves and improve their problem-solving abilities. The AMC competitions are not only a fun and exciting method for kids to engage with mathematics, but they can also help pupils achieve admission to prestigious institutions and universities. Many colleges and universities, including the Ivy League, use AMC scores as part of their admissions criteria, and a great performance on the AMC contests can help students stand out from the crowd.

The American Mathematics Contest (AMC) includes three levels of competition:

  1. AMC 8: For students in grades 8 and below.
  2. AMC 10: For students in grades 10 and below.
  3. AMC 12: For students in grades 12 and below.

For students who want to apply for an undergraduate Mathematics-related degree in the United States, participating in the American Mathematics Contest (AMC) is a good choice. The contest provides students opportunity to earn recognition on an international level. For example, students who get a perfect score will have their names and photos published in a special awards book. They may also receive a prize and an invitation to MathPath, a summer program for high school students. So, for students who want to participate in this competition, how should they prepare to stand out in the competition?

American Mathematics Contest (AMC) Categories

AMC can be categorized into AMC8, AMC10&12, AIME, USAMO and IMOAMC. AMC is targeted at 8th grader and below; AMC10 for 10th grader and below, and AMC12 is aimed at 12th grader and below. Students who score well in AMC10 and AMC 12 are invited to participate in American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME).

How to study for the American Mathematics Contest (AMC) Syllabus?

The content of the American Mathematics Contest (AMC) exam corresponds to the American 7 Mathematics syllabus. The examination content includes integers, fractions, decimals, percentages, proportions, number theory, daily geometry, area, volume, probability and statistics, logical reasoning, etc. The competition content is international school mathematics except calculus.

The AMC8 consists of 25 multiple-choice questions, with a 40 minutes time limit. The AMC10 and AMC12 consist of 25 questions each, and students have 75 minutes to complete the test. To participate in AIME, typically only the top 2.5% from AMC10 and top 5% of AMC12 students qualify for it. Compared with AMC10 and AMC12, AIME exam questions are more difficult and provide further challenges.

The AMC mathematical concepts:

Algebra: Solving equations and inequalities, manipulating algebraic expressions, and working with functions are all examples of this.

Geometry: This comprises line, angle, and polygon properties, as well as basic trigonometry.

Number theory: Integer characteristics, divisibility, prime numbers, and modular arithmetic are all included.

Counting and probability: Counting techniques such as permutations and combinations are included, as are probability notions such as independent and dependent occurrences.

Logic: This includes applying deductive and inductive reasoning to solve issues and comprehending the structure of mathematical proofs.

When is the American Mathematics Contest (AMC) held?

The American Mathematics Contest (AMC) is held in mid-November each year, and registration is in early September. AMC10 and AMC12 are held in mid-February every year. With this in mind, students study for it in the summer or winter break. Pre-calculus is important in these competitions and the questions are often trickier than your typical mathematics assignments in class.

Where can I practice American Mathematics Contest (AMC) questions?

The official AMC website: Past AMC tests, answer keys, and solutions are available on the MAA website as practice tools.

Art of Problem Solving (AoPS): For students preparing for AMC, the AoPS website offers a multitude of materials, including AMC practice problems with solutions, video tutorials, and community forums.

MathCounts: MathCounts is a national middle school math competition that also provides free resources and practice problems for students preparing for the AMC.

Math Olympiad Training: Math Olympiad Training is a website that offers free tools and practice problems to students who are preparing for math competitions such as the AMC.

Books: There are several books available that offer practice problems and strategies for the AMC, such as “The Art of Problem Solving Volume 1” and “Competition Math for Middle School.”

Practice Contests: Numerous math clubs, schools, and others have AMC-style practice contests. These can be excellent opportunities to gain hands-on experience in a simulated testing environment.

How can I apply my knowledge to American Mathematics Contest (AMC) questions?

The ability to apply your knowledge to difficult problems is a necessary skill for success in the American Mathematical Challenge (AMC). Here are some pointers to help you approach difficult problems:

  • Take your time reading the problem: Make sure to properly study the problem and grasp what is being asked. Find any essential terms or phrases that will assist you in understanding what the problem is requesting.
  • Create a diagram: A diagram can help you visualize the situation during your exam and find any significant linkages or trends.
  • Break the problem down: Attempt to divide the problem into smaller, more manageable chunks. Look for patterns or relationships that can assist you in solving the situation.
  • Employ a variety of approaches: There is frequently more than one method to tackle a problem in AMC questions. If you become stuck, consider a new method or technique. Don’t be hesitant to experiment with alternative ways.
  • Remove incorrect responses: If the problem includes multiple-choice answers, remove any that are clearly incorrect. This can assist you in narrowing your alternatives and increasing your chances of selecting the correct answer.
  • Practice, practice, practice: The more you solve difficult tasks, the better you will get. Choose difficult problems from previous AMC examinations, textbooks, or other resources and practice using your knowledge and problem-solving skills.

American Mathematics Contest (AMC) Exam Difficulty

Questions 1-10 are typically easy even for students with weak mathematical foundation. Questions 11-15 are more difficult in comparison and they are created with lower-intermediate level skills. Questions 16-20 are difficult, and only students with upper-intermediate skills can solve them. Finally, questions 21-25 are very difficult, and these are the questions that set students apart from the rest.

To prepare for the American Mathematics Contest (AMC), focus on the areas you are weak at. Take note of the problems you can’t solve and ask a teacher for advice. Be careful about careless mistakes especially since calculators are not allowed in the tests, you wouldn’t want to lose points on your own carelessness. Join a Math club in school and learn from other peers. Seek advice on strategy to ace the tests.


Remember, you don’t need a perfect score to qualify for AIME. You just need to beat most other students to clinch the top spots. Strategize strategize and strategize!

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