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A Guide to Math Olympiad (AMC)

What is the AMC?

The American Mathematics Competition (AMC) is the first in a series of competitions to determine the US representative team for the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). The MAA’s American Mathematics Competitions program leads the nation in strengthening the mathematical capabilities of the next generation of problem-solvers.

  • The AMC 8 is for students in grades 8 and below

  • The AMC 10 is for students in grades 10 and below

  • The AMC 12 is for students in grades 12 and below

So high school students would be focused on AMC 10 and 12. However, most of the students who score well tend to start in the 6th grade with the AMC 8.

If you score well, you make it to the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME). To catch the eyes of admissions officers at MIT and Caltech, you’ll need to make it this far and score well on the AIME.

For real math superstars, a top score on both the AMC and AIME will lead to an qualification status for the United States of America Mathematical Olympiad (USAMO). If you are an International student, you cannot participate on the US team, but you can still get the USAMO qualification, which will really set you apart on your college applications.

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Who can take the AMC contests?

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.

How young can a person start in the AMC program?

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.

How to prepare for the AMC

The hard part of preparing for the AMC your first time is that it’s not really a math test. It’s not the type of stuff you see in school. The actual math you need to do well on the test is rudimentary. Not super advanced stuff. However, AMC questions are more like problem-solving tests that will stretch your imagination and skills to the limit.

The best site for preparing for the test are 1. 2.

Buy the resources and practice, practice, practice. A better way is to for a Math Competition Team at school, ask your math teacher to coach you and work together.

Arguably, the best option is to train 1-on-1 with a tutor who has been there before and excelled on the tests. At Genesis, we have the best math tutors to guide and help our students succeed! Contact us for more information.


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