Several postings have concerned the International Math Olympiad which is a bold aspiration for many Math Circle participants. But there are several steps on the road to representing the US on the IMO team and each one of those steps has its own challenges and rewards.
The IMO team is selected from among the top performers on the USAMO (United States of America Math Olympiad).
The USAMO is a six question, two day, 9 hour essay/proof examination. All problems can be solved with pre-calculus methods. Approximately 500 of the top scoring AMC participants (based on a weighted average) are invited to take the USAMO.
Just sitting for the USAMO requires a distinguished performance on the AIME, AMC 12 or AMC 10 tests.
The AIME (American Invitational Mathematics Examination) is an intermediate examination between the AMC 10 or AMC 12 and the USAMO. All students who took the AMC 12 and achieved a score of 100 or more out of a possible 150 are invited to take the AIME. All students who took the AMC 10 and had a score of 120 or were in the top 1% also qualify for the AIME.
The AMC 10 and AMC 12 test are administered to hundreds of thousands of high school students. Many of the universities who routinely reject applicants with 800 SAT Math scores are requiring submission of AMC test scores.
A special purpose of the AMC 12 is to help identify those few students with truly exceptional mathematics talent. Students who are among the very best deserve some indication of how they stand relative to other students in the country and around the world .
To prepare for these challenging and potentially life altering tests, AMC offers the AMC 8 eligible to students through the 8th grade.
The AMC 8 is a 25 question, 40 minute multiple choice examination in junior high school (middle school) mathematics designed to promote the development and enhancement of problem solving skills. The examination provides an opportunity to apply the concepts taught at the junior high level to problems which not only range from easy to difficult but also cover a wide range of applications. Many problems are designed to challenge students and to offer problem solving experiences beyond those provided in most junior high school mathematics classes.
Math Circles have a great deal to offer beyond improving performance on this series of tests. However, Metroplex Math Circle is particularly fortunate to have as its Director, Dr. Titu Andreescu, the former Director of AMC and Coach of the US IMO team. He has generously shared his experience with MMC students to help them prepare for these critical steps on the road to the IMO.