Q. #1. I don't know about the American Mathematics Competitions (AMC). What are they? What are the different contests?
A. The mission of the MAA's American Mathematics Competitions is to increase interest in mathematics and to develop problem solving through a fun competition. Teachers and schools benefit from the chance to challenge students with interesting mathematical questions that are aligned with curriculum standards at all levels of difficulty. In addition, students gain the opportunity to learn and achieve through competition with students in their school and around the world.
Q. #2. All the problems seem really difficult. What should I do to learn how to solve them?
A. We recommend studying the problems and solutions from previous tests. These previous tests are available on the AMC Publications page. You can also prepare through AMC Advantage™ at amc.edfinity.com.
Q. #3. What books should I buy to study from or to improve my scores?
A.There are many fine books to study. We suggest you start by looking through the Problem Books Section at the MAA Bookstore. Currently, the Contest Problem Books Volumes I - IX catalog all the AMC contest problems from 1950 to 2007 and these books are a good place to start. Another suggestion is to use the search and recommendation features of amazon.com.
Q. #4. Who can take the AMC contests?
A. Any student in any registered school who meets the respective age/grade restrictions for the AMC 8, AMC 10 and AMC 12 may take the respective contests. Students may take the AIME after qualification by being in the (approximately) top 2.5% of scorers on the AMC 10 and the (approximately) top 5% of scorers on the AMC 12. The USAMO is restricted by invitation to students attending school in the United States or Canada and citizens of the United States living abroad. The only requirement for participation in the AMC 8, AMC 10 and AMC 12 is registration by the participating school.
Q. #5. How young can a person start in the AMC program?
A. Students can begin at any age that they and their parent/teacher/mentor believes them to be ready respectively for the AMC 8, AMC 10, or AMC 12. Students as young as 8 have participated in the AMC contests.
Q. #6. What are the tests that lead to the United States of America Mathematics Olympiad (USAMO) and USA Junior Mathematical Olympiad (USAJMO)?
A. The AMC 8 is a standalone contest with benefits of its own (listed in the AMC 8 section of the FAQ). The path to the USAMO and USAJMO begins with either the AMC 10 or AMC 12. Approximately the top 2.5% of AMC 10 students and top 5% of AMC 12 students qualify to take the American Invitation Mathematics Examination (AIME). Students with the top 270 10*AIME + AMC 12 scores are then invited to take the USAMO. The 230 students with the 10*AIME + AMC 10 scores are then invited to take the USAJMO.
Q. #7. What if my school does not offer the AMC tests?
A. Urge your principal, math teacher, gifted education coordinator or anyone else you can think of at your school to help your school register for the contest. If your school doesn’t offer the AMC tests, then one option would be to offer the tests to your school. You could offer to pay for the registration and material cost for the school, making it hard for them to refuse. Organize a math club, or get the existing Math Club to sponsor and fund the registration for the contest. Please make arrangements for your school to register as we must send the contest materials to the school directly. Some colleges and universities also host the contests, particularly the “B” date of the AMC 10/12. Check our web pages for a list of participating Institutions of Higher Learning.
Q. #8. How can I get all my scores from past years if our school didn't keep everything?
A. Write a letter or an email to the AMC office with your request. Our postal address and our email address are on all of our literature.
Q. #9. Where can I get past AMC papers and solutions?
A. You can order copies of problem papers and solutions directly from the AMC office. See AMC Publications.
You can also order CDs that have all the AHSMEs from 1950 - 1974 (the AHSME Volume I CD, item 9) and the AHSMEs from 1975-1999 (the AHSME Volume II, item 10) and a CD that has all the AIMEs from 1984 and all the USAMOs from 1972 on, item 11. 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 2009. We have not yet added the 2009 -2010 contests.
Q. #10. How do we get our organization (home schools, learning centers, testing center, etc.) involved in the AMC contests?
A. We prefer to offer our contest to public schools, a few government accredited private schools, colleges and universities. Before allowing other organizations to register for the contests, we would like to do further research about your academic structure. In order for us to do the required research, please provide American Math Competitions with complete information about your organization, including:
Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for the research to be complete and a decision or determination to be made. You will be contacted by email.
Q. #11. Could you please clarify how the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals (Intramural school awards) are awarded?
In this way it is possible for one person to earn top honors in a school every year they take a specific contest.