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FAQs - AIME

Q. AIME #1. Do I have to go through precalc before I take AIME?
A. No, you do not have to go through precalc before AIME. You can see from prior years' AIME contests that a
few questions with

  • complex numbers
  • trigonometric functions, graphs and identities
  • sequences and series
  • function notation occur on the AIME. A student who wishes to solve these problems or understand the published solutions needs to be familiar with these mathematical concepts. These topics are typically, but
    not always or exclusively, covered in a "precalc" course. Of course, it does not matter where or when or
    how the student learns the concepts. You should find your best learning plan and follow that.

Remember too, AMC 10, AMC 12 and AIME questions often cross course and curricular boundaries, combining ideas that occur in several courses so a particular course is neither necessary nor sufficient.

Q. AIME #2. If you take both A-date and B-date AMC tests, but one score is higher than the other, do you get to choose which score to use with your AIME score?
A. We use the higher numerical score, wherever it came from, whatever test it was achieved on. We match both AMC scores with the AIME score, assuming we are able to locate both AMC scores. This means that the student spelled his/her name the same way on all exams and took both AMC contests at the same school. If one or both of these important criteria are not met we need timely notification in order to match results. The AIME certification form, filled out by the AIME contest administrator, has a section for students who qualified at multiple testing sites. Please give this important information to the AIME Contest administrator, so that we can use this important information.

Q. AIME #3. Can a student take both the AIME and the Alternate AIME (AIME II)?
A. No. Students are only allowed to take one. AIME. There are no circumstances in which this may be waived.
See the AIME Teacher's Manual, Section VIII.

Q. AIME #4. What calculators are allowed?
A. No calculators are allowed on the AIME. No aids other than scratch paper, graph paper, ruler, compass, and protractor are permitted. In particular, calculators and computers are not permitted.

Q. AIME #5. How do I qualify for the AIME?
A. Students who score 100 or above or finish in the top 5% (whichever is more inclusive) on an AMC 12 or students who score 120 or above or finish in the top 2.5% (whichever is more inclusive) on the AMC 10 are eligible to take the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME). The AMC will automatically send a copy of the first date AIME contest to the school contest manager for each student achieving a qualifying score.

Q. AIME #6. Why is it only 2.5% (120) to qualify for AIME on the AMC 10?
A. A new policy for AIME qualifying was introduced beginning with the 2000 AMC examinations. Those students taking the AMC 12 and scoring over 100 qualify, as usual, (or the students scoring in the top 5% on the AMC 12 examination, whichever is more inclusive). This new policy is more equitable since it guards against the
possibility of a particularly difficult examination, one on which the scores are uniformly lower than normal, reducing the number of AIME qualifiers. Beginning with the 2004 contest we instituted a similar qualifying
system for the students taking the AMC 10 contests. Students scoring in the top 2.5% of either AMC10 qualify for the AIME, or those who score 120 or more on one of these contests (whichever is more inclusive). The requirement is set higher for AMC 10 qualifiers for two reasons:

  • First, the AIME can be quite intimidating, and we do not want young students to be discouraged by poor performance on this examination.
  • Second, we would like to ensure that any student qualifying for the AIME by virtue of placement on the
    AMC 10 would likely also qualify for the AIME in subsequent years when taking the AMC 12. It could be very disappointing for a student to be an AIME qualifier in grade 10 but not in subsequent high school years.

By restricting the number of AIME qualifiers from the AMC 10 to about the top 2.5%, we hope not to exclude any very good young students for whom the AIME would be an appropriate experience, but also not put students
in a situation where they do not have much opportunity to succeed.

Q. AIME #7. Who can proctor the contest?
A. The proctoring of the AIME contest should be by:

  1. In the first preference, a math teacher at the school
  2. In the second preference, a teacher or administrator at the school
  3. In the third preference, a college or university teacher of mathematics or a responsible adult not
    associated with or related to any of the participants who is a math club or team coach for the group of participants.
  4. In the fourth preference, a responsible adult not associated with or related to any of the participants such as librarian, clergy, etc.
  5. The proctoring of the contest must take place in a public building, (e.g. school, library, college or
    university, church).
  6. The proctor should not be related to any of the participants.

Q. AIME #8. Where can I get copies of the previous AIME contests?
A. You can order a CD that has all the AIMEs from 1984 and all the USAMOs from 1972. Furthermore, the problems and solutions are reproduced from the original source, so there are no typos, no edits, and the original solutions. The CD that comes with the Math Club Package currently contains all the contests, AMC 8, 10, 12, AIME and USAMO from 2000 to the current year.

Q. AIME #9. When will the school get the AIME results?
A. We first need to receive the envelopes with answer forms from the schools. In spite of asking schools to return the envelopes quickly, some schools mail them and it still takes a week to 10 days after the AIME contest to receive answer forms. After that, we need to check the envelopes in as being received, count the answer sheets inside against the number we sent out, then scan, record, match students' AMC and AIME scores, tabulate and do the statistical analysis. After that we do a preliminary analysis of USAMO indices. By that point, it is time for AIME II, and we do everything all over again for the AIME II results. Finally, we make the USAMO selection, and include the results in the AIME report. Therefore, you can expect that the AIME results will not be available until about 3 to 4 weeks after the AIME date.

Q. AIME #10. What is the deadline for ordering the AIME II, also known as the AIME Alternate, contest?
A. As soon as possible after administration of the AMC 10 and AMC 12 contests. Read the AIME Teacher's
Manual, Section VII for the exact deadline date each year. It is approximately one week before the AIME II date, but varies with the calendar, weekends, holidays, etc.

Q. AIME #11. What is the procedure for taking the AIME II or alternate test date if my school only offers the first one?
A. Most schools offer the contest on the AIME-I date, because it's the simplest, least expensive, and most straightforward solution. If your school offers you the contest on the AIME-I date, the AMC office strongly suggests that you take it then unless you have a very compelling reason to do otherwise.

Q. AIME #12. What score do you need on USAMTS to qualify for AIME?
A. The minimum score required to qualify for AIME from USAMTS is a score of 54 out of 60 possible points (90% of the possible points) after 2 rounds of USAMTS. In computing the USAMO index, we use the percent on the USAMTS (after two rounds) plus 10 times the AIME score. For example, if you scored 54 on the USAMTS, (90\% of a possible 60 points after two rounds), and get a score of 11 on the AIME, then your index would be 90 + 10*11 = 200. If you took both the AMC 10 or AMC 12, and the USAMTS your index is the maximum of the two ways calculating the index.

Q. AIME #13. How many people qualify for USAMO and AIME each year?
A. Detailed statistics for each year are available in the Archives section of our website. Go to the AMC page,
then click AIME, then click Archive, then chose a year to look at the General Statistics.

Q. AIME #14. What are some good books to study from for the AIME?
A. Consider purchasing the AIME and USAMO CD from the AMC. See the answer to Frequently Asked Question AIME #10. Consider the Contest Problem Books I-IX and all the other books in the Problem Books category available from the MAA on-line bookstore and major on-line book retailers.

Q. AIME #15. I took the AMC 10 or AMC 12 test at a college, not at my school, and i qualified. where should I go to take the AIME?
A. The AMC office mails a sealed envelope with the AIME and the procedures for registering for the AIME II (also known as the AIME Alternate) to each location (or locations) where you qualified for the AIME. With the active knowledge and cooperation of the administering location and your regular high school and teacher (where you have daily attendance) you can take the AIME at your school. Have the college (or other administering location) send the sealed AIME envelope to your high school teacher after you have made the arrangements. Also send an email to amcinfo@maa.org to inform our office that you will be taking the AIME at the high school, not at the qualifying location. Of course, you can also take the AIME at the qualifying location, we ask that locations administering the AMC 10 and AMC 12 also accept the possibility that they may be asked to administer the AIME, should the location have qualifiers. If you qualified on the AMC 10 or AMC 12 at a different location than where you want to take the AIME, then the responsibility is yours to make sure that all involved parties (college, high school, teacher, and AMC, as well as you) know this, and cooperate to make it happen.

Q. AIME #16. If I qualified with both the 12A at my own high school and the 10B at another high school, but wish to put my 10B score on the AIME I'm taking at my own school, what do I need to do?
A. If you are taking the AIME at the school you attend daily on the basis of the AMC 12 A that you took at the school, then the important thing is that the certification form, filled out by your AIME administrator, includes your name and the other school name and CEEB where you took the AMC 10B. Make sure that the other school where you qualified knows that you will NOT be taking the AIME at that school. Please make sure that the other school contest manager knows, and that your own school contest manager knows what you intend
doing. What AMC score you write on the AIME answer form is definitely of lesser importance. We only use that score as a weak first check on your identity. For every other purpose, we rely on our internal record-keeping.

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