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.
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.
For students who want to apply for an undergraduate Mathematics-related degree in the United States, participating in the AMC is a good choice. AMC 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?
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).
Scope of investigation
The content of the 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.
When are the AMC held?
The 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.
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 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!