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FAQs - AMC 10/12

Q. AMC 10/12 #1. What score do you have to get on the AMC 8 to be invited to take the AMC 10?
A. There is no invitation from the AMC 8 to the AMC 10 or AMC 12, Rather, with the AMC 8 Reports we send an AMC 10/12 information brochure, and an AMC 10/12 registration form to the Contest Manager of ALL schools which participate in the AMC 8. No school or student needs a special invitation, nor is any minimum score required. The AMC 10 and AMC 12 are both open competitions. Specifically, in the AMC 8 report which is sent to ALL participating schools is the following message:

"An AMC 10/AMC 12 Invitation Brochure has been included in this mailing... Any of your students may participate in the AMC 10/12. High scoring AMC 8 students should find the AMC 10 interesting and instructive."

The AMC 10 is significantly more difficult than the AMC 8. Teachers should evaluate the maturity of a specific student before suggesting participation. See FAQ AMC10/12 #9 as it would apply to young students.

Q. AMC 10/12 #2. What is the frequency of different types of problems on the AMCs?
A. In the AMC 10/12 Math Club Package, we have a chart of problem type frequency by year using the categories from the NCTM Standards

AMC 10 NCTM Standards Avg 02A 02B 03A 03B 04A 04B 05A 05B 06A 06B 07A 07B 08A 08B 09A 09B total
Algebra 6.8125 8 13 5 6 7 7 2 5 5 4 7 3 8 9 9 11 109
Connections 0.125 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Data and Probability 2.1875 1 1 3 1 2 1 2 6 4 2 0 5 1 4 1 1 35
Geometry 8.1875 9 5 6 7 9 10 8 5 6 10 9 12 9 6 10 10 131
Measurement 0.6875 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 2 4 0 0 2 1 0 0 11
Number Operations 5.25 6 6 10 9 4 6 8 5 3 2 4 4 5 4 5 3 84
Problem Solving 1.75 1 0 1 2 2 1 2 4 5 3 5 1 0 1 0 0 28
Totals 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 400
                                     
AMC 12 NCTM Standards Avg 02A 02B 03A 03B 04A 04B 05A 05B 06A 06B 07A 07B 08A 08B 09A 09B total
Algebra 6.9375 8 9 4 6 6 5 4 9 5 3 10 5 10 10 8 9 111
Connections 0.125 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Data and Probability 1.6875 1 2 2 3 1 3 2 2 1 5 0 3 0 1 0 1 27
Geometry 8.75 8 5 10 11 10 9 8 7 6 7 10 12 8 10 10 9 140
Measurement 0.5625 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 4 0 0 2 1 0 0 9
Number & Operations 5.375 7 7 7 5 7 6 6 6 4 4 2 4 5 3 7 6 86
Problem Solving 1.5625 1 2 2 0 1 2 2 1 8 2 3 1 0 0 0 0 25
Totals 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 400

Note 1: AMC problems often involve several topics. What we have labeled as Number Theory, you might consider as something else. Likewise for probability and trigonometry.
Note 2: Many problems can be worked in several ways, e.g. with trig functions and also without.

Q. AMC 10/12 #3. When will the AMC 10/12 results come back by email?
A. It takes about 3 weeks after the contest date to score and report the AMC 10 and AMC 12 contests. The AMC office will send results by email (if provided on the registration form) and first class mail as soon as the answer forms are scored. If you have not received your results from our office within 30 days after the AMC 10/AMC 12 please contact us to verify that your answer forms were in fact received. The email report is sent to the school contest manager whose email is listed on the registration form used to order the contest. The official hard copy report is postal mailed to the address on the registration form soon after the email is sent. Reports with AIME qualifiers are mailed first, followed later by school reports with no AIME Qualifiers.

Q. AMC 10/12 #4. What’s covered on the AMC 10?
A. The AMC 10 covers mathematics normally associated with grades 9 and 10. To challenge students at all
grade levels, and with varying mathematical skills, the problems range from fairly easy to extremely difficult. Approximately 12 questions are common to the AMC 10 and AMC 12. The AMC 10 assumes knowledge of elementary algebra; basic geometry knowledge including the Pythagorean Theorem, area and volume formulas; elementary number theory; and elementary probability. What are excluded are trigonometry, advanced algebra, and advanced geometry. We recommend students study prior year copies of the AMC 10 contest and solutions. You can purchase a CD from the AMC with all the previous decade's contests to see what the AMC 10 contest is like.

Q. AMC 10/12 #5. What’s covered on the AMC 12?
A. The AMC 12 covers the high school mathematics curriculum, excluding calculus. To challenge students at all grade levels, and with varying mathematical skills, the problems range from fairly easy to extremely difficult. Approximately 12 questions are common to the AMC 10 and AMC 12.

Q. AMC 10/12 #6. Are logarithms covered on the AMC 10?
A. Since logarithms are not usually considered part of the grades 9 and 10 mathematics curriculum, and are usually considered part of advanced algebra, logarithms do not appear on the AMC 10.

Q. AMC 10/12 #7. What calculators are allowed on the AMC 10 and the AMC 12?
A. Calculators are not allowed on the AMC 10 and AMC 12 contests. The 2007 AMC 10 and 12 were the last contests to allow the use of a calculator. All subsequent exams at all levels will not allow calculator usage.

Q. AMC 10/12 #8. What accommodations for students with disabilities are there?
A. For the AMC 10/12 the time limit set by the CAMC for students who are visually impaired or learning disabled is 120 minutes. A teacher or a school administrator may read the questions to the student and mark the answers as directed by the student. Braille and Large Print exams are available at an additional cost.

We only order the number of Braille and Large Print tests that we need, so orders for them must be received no later than three weeks prior to the contest date. Please see the registration form for more information on ordering Braille and Large Print tests.

Q. AMC 10/12 #9. What accommodations are there for English Language Learners?
A. Students learning “English as a Second Language” (ESL) may use a book dual-language non-technical dictionary between their native language and English. A student may use the dictionary only the first time that he/she takes the AMC 10/AMC 12. The dictionary must be given to the school contest manager to examine and retain for the 24-hour period preceding the contest. The proctor must announce to other students that the student(s) has/have been given special permission to use the dictionary during the contest. The AMC 10 and AMC 12 are also available in Spanish and French. Please see the registration and order form for more information on obtaining these materials.

Note that we offer the AMC 10 and AMC 12 Contests in Spanish and in French, see the Registration Form for details.

Q. AMC 10/12 #10. Should I take the AMC 10 or AMC 12?
A. The answer probably depends as much on the personality of the student as on the mathematical ability and training of the student. Some students can take a very difficult examination, not score as well as they had expected, and take the experience as incentive for future study. The same experience for another student could be devastating and lead to a decreased interest in mathematical problem solving, and perhaps even in the study of mathematics. The latter situation should, of course, be avoided at all cost. When advising students regarding the choice of contests, please keep in mind that the primary goal of all the American Mathematics Competitions contests is to provide students with a positive experience in mathematical problem solving. The awards that can sometimes accompany this experience are nice, but distinctly secondary.

Q. AMC 10/12 #11. Can a student take both contests?
A. Yes, as long as a student is eligible to take the appropriate contests. That is:

  • A 10th grader or below can take the AMC 10 A and the AMC 10 B
  • A 10th grader or below can take the AMC 10 A and the AMC 12 B
  • A 10th grader or below can take the AMC 12 A and the AMC 10 B
  • A 10th grader or below can take the AMC 12 A and the AMC 12 B
  • An 11th or 12th grader can take the AMC 12 A and the AMC 12 B

However, in order to do this the school would have to register for both dates and order contest bundles to have the contests on hand.

Q. AMC 10/12 #12. Who can proctor the contests?
A. The proctoring of the AMC 10 and AMC 12 contest should be by

  1. In the first preference, a math teacher at the registered school
  2. In the second preference, a teacher or administrator at the registered 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. AMC 10/12 #13. Can a school register for both dates?
A. Yes, but the school will have to pay the appropriate registration fee for each contest date, and purchase the contest bundles for each date. The problems on the A and B contest dates are different. Note that approximately 12 questions are common to the AMC 10 and AMC 12 on a single date, so a student cannot take the AMC 10 and the AMC 12 on the same date.

Q. AMC 10/12 #14. What would stop a school from registering for both contests?
A. Nothing, except the cost in registration fees and the time to administer the contest on two separate days.

Q. AMC 10/12 #15. What if a school registers for one date, then later wants to change the registration to the other date?
A. Although we discourage a change in date because of the extra handling and potential confusion, nevertheless a change in date is permitted, before the contest materials are sent, as long as time permits according to the registration schedule and as long as the corresponding change in registration fee (plus any change in bundles) is paid. Increases must be paid at the time with charge card, both to expedite changes and to eliminate billing costs.

Q. AMC 10/12 #16. What do I do in the event of school closure on the day we have registered to take the Contest A date?
A. In the event school is closed due to weather or any other insurmountable situation, you will be given the option to register your school for Contest B (registration fee plus bundles), or you may elect to give Contest A on a later date as an unofficial administration. The school contest manager MUST contact the AMC office promptly to make appropriate arrangements. We do not have access to all school closings in the country and cannot automatically roll your registration forward. Please note that unofficial participation means students will not be eligible for national awards, nor will their scores qualify them for AIME. All schools taking Contest A unofficially will still receive a school report and all intramural awards.

Q. AMC 10/12 #17. Isn’t it unfair to allow schools and students to take the contests twice within two weeks
time?
A. Not really. The contest problems for 60 years of high school contests are available in books and in copies of old contests. The problems are basically the same from contest to contest, so there is plenty of common material to study. The addition of another 25 contest problems with two more weeks to study is not a significant advantage for any student. Furthermore, it is the philosophy and purpose of the AMC to encourage students to engage in significant mathematical problem solving. If we can do this by offering more contests on additional dates, then we are better meeting our goal.

Q. AMC 10/12 #18. What if a student is sick or absent or at another school activity on the date of the A contest? Can the student take the B contest?
A. Yes, if the school has registered for the B contest date and has contest bundles available for the contest, a student can take the second contest.

Q. AMC 10/12 #19. Why do you charge registration fees for both contest dates?
A. Because we have to create, print, handle, store, ship, score, summarize and send intramural awards for an entirely distinct and new set of problems for both contests, our production and fulfillment costs are proportionately increased. In addition, in order to avoid confusion and errors in administering the two contests, we send the B contests by expedited shipping to arrive after the A contest has been given. The expedited shipping costs significantly more.

Q. AMC 10/12 #20. How can I find the answers or solutions to the questions on the current AMC 10 and
AMC 12?
A. Your contest manager has a Contest Manager's Envelope with the solutions to all the problems on the AMC 10 and AMC 12 contests. Of course, the correct letter choices are also included. Please ask your contest manager to see the printed solutions.

Q. AMC 10/12 #21. What if I believe my answer was scored incorrectly?
A. The scoring is explained in item 4 on the front cover of every AMC 10 A, AMC 10 B, AMC 12 A, and AMC 12 B contest booklet, the item that starts with "SCORING:" Your first step should be to ask the contest manager at your school. The contest manager at the school receives an e-mail from the AMC office containing a spreadsheet (a .CSV file, actually) showing every answer recorded by the AMC scanner for every participating student at the school. If the spreadsheet does not satisfy you, step two would be to ask your contest manager about the current rescoring options. In the AMC 10/12 Teachers' Manual is a rescoring request form to fill out and fax or mail to the AMC office along with a $10 rescoring fee.

Q. AMC 10/12 #22. Why does it cost to have an answer form rescored?
A. It costs the AMC office about an hour of staff time to rescore a sheet. First we have to locate your individual answer sheet from over 200,000 that we have stored on shelves in our storage area. Then we hand-score it, and compare to the records we have in the database. We examine the answer sheet very closely to determine if the scanner made an error. Then we compose an answer and send a reply to you. The fee does not cover the staff time this requires. And in our experience, we have not yet found a case where it was our mistake, a poorly erased or poorly bubbled entry is almost always the cause.

Q. AMC 10/12 #23. Has the AIME qualification level for the AMC 10 always been 120 points?
A. From 2000-2003 the AIME qualification level from the AMC 10 was set at the top 1%. After 4 years, the contest creation committee members felt that they had enough experience in setting the test that we could use a fixed level of 120 (or the top 1%, whichever is lower). In 2011, the percentage was changed to the top 2.5% on the AMC 10.

Q. AMC 10/12 #24. What is the intention, purpose, and history of development behind the AMC 10, the content
in the AMC 10, and the scoring rules used in the AMC 10?
A. Here is a "Message from the AMC 10 Chair" on page 14 of the "2008 Summary of Results and Awards", summarizing the philosophy behind the AMC 10,

"The AMC 10 test was developed to provide a better experience in mathematical problem solving for students in the lower high school grades. In years prior to 2000, students in these grades had to take a test that included problems on topics such as logarithms and trigonometry, subjects that they had not yet studied. The AMC 10 examination contains only problems based on subject material that students in ninth and tenth grade have likely seen, while still providing them with a challenging experience.

Our goal for the AMC 10 has been to design the contests so that the average student can work on between 15 and 20 problems and get at least 10 of those correct. This would give an average score of between 72.5 and 85, since a student receives 6 points for each correct problem and 1.5 points for each unanswered problem.
The AMC 10 and AMC 12 tests have common problems, which has the advantage of permitting students taking the AMC 10 to compare their solutions with the students taking the AMC 12, and allows teachers to better identify excellent problem solvers at a young age. However, we are concerned that if we predictably have a large number of common problems on the exams, it might encourage younger students to take the AMC 12 before they are ready, since a larger proportion of students taking the AMC 12 qualify for the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME). As a consequence, you will likely see an unpredictable fluctuation in the number of common problems from a minimum of about nine to a maximum of about thirteen."

Q. AMC 10/12 #25. Why is the AIME qualifying score for the AMC 10 set at 120 points (or the top 2.5%, whichever is more inclusive)?
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, as do those students scoring in the top 5% on the
AMC 12 examination. 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, skewing 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, as well as all those who score 120 or more on one of these contests. 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. AMC 10/12 #26. What is the rewards structure for the two contest dates?
A. A School Winner Pin is given to the student in a school with the highest score on a given test date. Thus, it is conceivable that a student could win two School Winner Pins, if the school elects to administer both the A and B contests. It is also conceivable that a school could have two different School Winners if it elects to give both the A and B contests.

  • A Gold Medal is given to a student who achieves the highest score in his/her school for four consecutive years. The highest score could be on either the A contest or the B contest.
  • A Silver Medal is given to a student who achieves the highest score in his/her school for three consecutive years. The highest score could be on either the A contest or the B contest.
  • A Bronze Medal is given to a student who achieves the highest score in his/her school for two consecutive years. The highest score could be on either the A contest or the B contest. However, as a national award,
    a student can only win one Bronze Medal, even if the student was high score in 2007, and took both the A contest and the B contest in 2008 and was high score on both.
  • A. Honor Roll of Distinction Pin is awarded to the top scoring one percent of the AMC 12 A and the AMC 10A and the top scoring one percent of the AMC 12 B and the AMC 10B. A Certificate of Distinction is awarded
    to all students who qualify for the AIME.
  • A Certificate of Achievement is awarded to the students in grade 10 or below with a score of 90 or above
    on the AMC 12 A or AMC 12 B.
  • A Certificate of Achievement is awarded to the students in grade 8 or below with a score of 90 or above on the AMC 10 A or AMC 10 B.
  • A Certificate of Honor is awarded to schools with a team score of at least 400 on the AMC 12 A or AMC 12 B. Thus it is conceivable that a school could receive two Certificates of Merit if it chooses to register for both
    the AMC 12 A and AMC 12 B contests.
  • A Certificate of Merit is awarded to schools with a team score of at least 300 on the AMC 12 A or AMC 12 B. Thus it is conceivable that a school could receive two Certificates of Merit, or a Certificate of Honor and a Certificate of Merit if it chooses to register for both the AMC 12 A and AMC 12 B contests.

Q. AMC 10/12 #27.  My school only offers the AMC12B. Can I go to another school and take the 12A?
A. Yes, it is true that you can take the "other-date" AMC contest at another school, but only in the circumstances that
(1) you have the express permission of the other school's AMC Contest Manager, and
(2) all local school regulations and permissions allow a student from one school to enter another school.  All responsibility for see that both conditions above are fulfilled falls on the student seeking alternate date.  It may be easier to get your school to administer the A-date, see Frequently Asked Question General #7 by clicking here.
We do our best to make sure AIME qualifiers are accounted for, but we do not forward school winner scores.  Also, usually the alternate school does not count your score at their school, so you can't be a school winner there either.

Q.  AMC 10/12 #28.  What is the difference in AMC 10A and 10B?
A. Both the AMC 10 A and the AMC 10 B have the same number of questions, the same scoring and the same rules for adminstration.  The only difference is that each has a distinct set of questions, although the two contests are designed to be equal in difficulty and distribution of topics.

For national and regional awards only one award will be issued based on the higher score from the A and B contests. For intramural awards it is possible to win an award for both the A and the B contest.

Q.  AMC 10/12 #29.  Which contest should young, advanced students take?
A. A student in 10th grade or below who wishes to qualify for the USAMO must take either the AMC 12 A or the AMC 12 B contests in order to be considered for USAMO selection. We recommend that such a student take an AMC 10 contest on one date if possible. A student in 10th grade or below wishing to take the AMC 12 and qualify for the USAMO should have a good problem solving knowledge in advanced algebra, analytic geometry, function notation, logarithms, trigonometry, and complex numbers in order to score well on the AMC 12, AIME and USAMO. The student must also be prepared to compete with 11th and 12th grade students on an equal basis since USAMO qualification is based on score only with no consideration for grade in school.

The minimum USAMO qualifying index for the last years have been:
2010, 208.5, 277 students
2009, 201.5, 514 students
2008, 204.0, 503 students
2007, 197.5, 505 students
2006, 217, 432 students

We recommend students aim for an AMC 12 based index of at least 210 in order to qualify for the USAMO.

Based on the single year experience of 2010, we recommend students aim for an AMC 10 based index of at least 200 in order to qualify for the USAJMO.

Exact invitation levels will vary each year depending on the difficulty of the contests and the pool of participating students. The historical minimum qualifying scores here are for planning purposes only and do not necessarily indicate future qualifying scores.

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