access_time Updated January 11, 2020
While students can refer to our archive to review or practice various topics, the following resources are also recommended for AMC preparation:
- Mr. Plotnick’s links for AMC 10 and 12:
- Past AMC problems
- List of many AoPS Mock AMCs
- BCA Math Team Archive, with lectures and problem sets
- AoPS Alcumus (change the topic/difficulty!)
- AoPS FTW!
- MAA’s old "AMC Advantage" problem sets
- AMC Formula Sheet
- Mr. Plotnick's Math Team CD (ask for a copy)
The following resources are recommended for AIME preparation:
- Mr. Plotnick's link for AIME
- BOGTRO's AIME syllabus
- "Preolympiad Math" handout, with AIME problems sorted by subject
- Past AIME problems
- AIME test-taking strategies
- djmathman’s compilation of AIME-like problems
American Mathematics Competitions
access_time Updated January 11, 2020
The American Mathematics Competitions, more commonly known as the AMC, is a highly prestigious mathematical examination taken by students not only in the US, but all over the world. It is sponsored by the Mathematical Association of America. If a student does well on the AMC (more details in the Structure section), he or she is then eligible to take the AIME, or American Invitational Mathematics Examination, which is the second round of the MAA series of contests.
Colleges such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Brown University, and Yale University reserve a separate optional space on their applications for AMC or AIME scores.
The examination consists of 25 questions to be solved in 75 minutes. It is multiple choice, with 5 choices per question. Correct answers receive 6 points, blank answers receive 1.5 points, and incorrect answers receive 0 points (there is a penalty for guessing!). The AMC is scored out of 150 points.
There are two types of AMCs: the AMC 10 and the AMC 12. The AMC 10 is for 10th graders and below, while the AMC 12 is for 12th graders and below. As a BCA rule, if you are in 10th grade or below, you must take the AMC 10. If you are in 11th or 12th grade, you must take the AMC 12.
There are two of each AMC, called the "A" and "B" versions. The AMC 10A and AMC 12A will take place on Thursday, January 30th. The AMC 10B and AMC 12B will take place on Wednesday, February 5th. You can take both the A and B versions, and you are encouraged to! In fact, taking both exams increases your chance of qualifying for the AIME, the next round of math contests.
To qualify for the AIME, you must receive a score in the top 2.5% of AMC 10 takers, or the top 5% of AMC 12 takers. This roughly translates to a score of 120 on the AMC 10 and a score of 100 on the AMC 12, though the cutoff varies by year.
To sign-up, check Dr. Abramson’s email for our 1/11 meeting. If you are in 10th grade or below, sign-up for the AMC 10A and the AMC 10B. If you are in 11th or 12th grade, sign-up for the AMC 12A and the AMC 12B. Do this ASAP!
With the format of the AMCs out of the way, let’s discuss strategies.
- Use general test-taking skills: don’t rush, but don’t get stuck either. Keep moving, and come back to problems you’ve skipped. Feel free to jump around; sometimes there are easy problems late in the test!
- If it helps, bring a watch to keep track of time. (Don’t bring a smartwatch!)
- Allot some time at the end of the test to check your work.
- Pace yourself based on your target score. If you’ve solved 19 problems with 30 minutes left and your goal is to make AIME, prioritize checking over attempting new problems.
- If you can use process of elimination to get the answer choices down to 2 or 3 possibilities, guess! If you can’t eliminate many answers, leave it blank and claim your 1.5 points.
- Bring geometry tools! Only rulers and protractors are allowed.
- If you’re stuck on a geometry problem, try drawing a diagram and measuring the distances involved. Then you can estimate the answer. (If a diagram is provided, measure the lengths on their diagram!)
book How to Prepare
We still have a few weeks until the AMCs, so let’s discuss how to prepare. First of all, ask for help! The Math Team Coaches and senior members can provide individual training advice. Here are some essential tips:
- Study your weakest subjects with the books in the resources above (especially Mr. Plotnick’s links and the AoPS books). You can find books online or by asking the Math Team Coaches and senior members.
- Practice problem-solving with the resources above.
- Take timed tests to gain test-taking experience.
- After taking a practice test, go over your mistakes and study the problems you didn’t get to attempt. Keep a notebook of your mistakes and review it daily.
Keep in mind that you have been preparing all this time! We’ve covered a lot in Math Team since the start of the year. So it’s just a matter of doing a little more for this specific contest.
American Invitational Mathematics Examination
access_time Updated March 9, 2020
The American Invitational Mathematics Examination, commonly referred to as the AIME, is the next round of contests in the MAA contest math sequence.