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FAQs - USAMO and USJMO

Q. USAMO #1. How do I qualify for the USAMO/USAJMO?
A. The 2013 USAMO/JMO Selection Protocol is as follows:

USAMO and USA Junior Mathematical Olympiad Selection Protocol:

  1. U.S. citizens together with students residing in the United States and Canada (with qualifying scores) are eligible to take the USAMO and USAJMO.
  2. Selection to the USAMO will be based on the USAMO index which is defined as AMC 12 Score + 10 * AIME Score. Selection to the USAJMO will be based on the USAJMO index which is defined as AMC 10 Score + 10 * AIME Score.
  3. Only AMC 12 A or AMC 12 B takers who are U.S. citizens and students residing in the United States and Canada will be eligible for the USAMO.
  4. Only AMC 10 A or AMC 10 B takers who are U.S. citizens and students residing in the United States and Canada will be eligible for the USAJMO. This automatically limits Junior Math Olympiad participation to 10th graders and below. Students who take ONLY the AMC 10 test, whether AMC 10 A or AMC 10 B or both, will NOT be eligible for the USAMO regardless of their score on the AMC 10 or the AIME.
  5. The approximately 260-270 individual students with the top AMC 12 based USAMO indices will be invited to take the USAMO. These indices will be selected from the pool of AMC 12 takers with an AIME score.
  6. The approximately 230-240 individual students with the top AMC 10 based USAMO indices will be invited to take the USAJMO. These indices will be selected from the pool of AMC 10 takers with an AIME score after removing students who also took an AMC 12 test and qualified for the USAMO in rule 5. This means young students MUST take the USAMO if they qualify through an AMC 12 index.
  7. We will select the student with the numerically largest index, whether AMC 10 based USAJMO index or AMC 12 based USAMO index, from each US state not already represented in either the USAMO or the USAJMO. The student will be invited to the USAMO if the numerically highest index in the state is AMC 12 based, and invited to the USAJMO if the index is AMC 10 based.

Q. USAMO #2. What USAMO index will I need to be invited to the USAMO?
A. If you take the average of the USAMO invitation indices for 2000-2009, the result is 213. If you take the average of the USAMO invitation indices for 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005 when we invited about 250-260 participants the result is 217. Using the average like this is not perfect, but year-by-year values and the overall average are consistent with my estimate based on 2008 and 2009 results that an index of 210 will be the approximate invitation level for 2013. Of course, the precise value will depend on the variability in difficulty of the 2013 AMC 10 and AMC 12 and the AIME compared to previous years. The committees do an excellent job of calibrating the difficulty level given that there are 6 contests each year, each with new problems, but the contests do vary in overall difficulty with a standard deviation which is about one problem from an overall average.

Q. USAMO #3. What index will I need to be invited to the USAJMO?
A. In 2011 for the USAJMO, the required index on the AMC 10 and AIME I combination was 179.0. The required index on the AMC 10 and AIME II combination was 196.5.

Q. USAMO #4. When do we get our USAMO Scores?
A. Grading of the USAMO takes place about 10 days after the test with results posted on the web site soon thereafter. Note that in the Teachers' Manual in the Sample S-I letter which all USAMO and USAJMO participants receive: "USAMO winners and MOSP invitations will be telephoned after grading." About 2-3 weeks after the USAMO and USAJMO we will send a copy of the USAMO, USAMO Solutions, the USAJMO and the USJAMO solutions to your Exam Manager along with your total score. We do not report individual problem scores, only the total score. Note that the AMC does not return your USAMO papers to you. Of course, you can also obtain a copy of the USAMO problems and solutions on our website.

Q. USAMO #5. When are the solutions to the USAMO and USAJMO available?
A. We will not post any official solutions on the AMC website until after the grading which takes place about 10 days after the contest.

Q. USAMO #6. What calculators are allowed on the USAMO and USAJMO?
A. No calculators are allowed on the USAMO or USAJMO. No notes, books, headphones, cell phones, ipods, slide rules, mathematical tables, computers, calculators or calculator watches are allowed during the exam. The only instruments permitted are writing and drawing instruments (ruler, compass, protractor, graph paper, carbon paper).

Q. USAMO #7. Who can proctor the USAMO and USAJMO contest?
A. The USAMO and USAJMO must be taken on the official days under the supervision of an educator-absolutely no exceptions. It is possible, however, for a student to take the test under the supervision of a teacher at a site other than the student’s school for valid reasons. The student’s teacher must call the AMC national office for permission.

Q. USAMO #8. Where can I get past copies of the USAMO problems and solutions?
A. You can purchase from the AMC a CD that has all the AIMEs from 1984 and all the USAMOs from 1972 on it. 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 contains all the contests, AMC 8, 10, 12, AIME and USAMO from 2000 to the present.

A more specific link to the order form: http://www.maa.org/math-competitions/amc-publications see item 11 on the form.

Don't forget all the USAMO and IMO books from the MAA. Go to maa.org then click on the Bookstore link, and go to the Problem Books Series.

Q. USAMO #9. Is there a Certificate of Participation for those who participate in the USAMO or USAJMO?
A. Yes, the AMC office creates and sends a Certificate of Participation with the USAMO and USAJMO results and the solutions. This material will be sent sometime in late May, after the grading is complete and all results have been compiled.

Q.  USAMO #10.  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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