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MBM

AIME advice? And, a little summer math camp info.

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My son (14 and a freshman) took his first practice AIME test today and scored a 9 -- that is, 9 out of 15 correct. He finished in two hours, and after that, his brain stopped working. I think the score is good enough to understand some of the WOOT classes (AoPS), which he'd like to take next year, but is it a good score? I am not familiar with AIME scores. Comments? Suggestions?

 

He still has to do well enough on the AMC 10 this winter. Hopefully he will, but he sometimes makes little computation errors that throw him off. AMC 12 just seems too difficult at this point, but I don't know.

 

Ds's goal is to someday make USAMO, or maybe even USAJMO. A question about that: what is the difference? Do USAJMO participants not go on to IMO, I'm guessing?

 

Anyone else have a kid getting ready for this? Anyone who's BTDT have advice? (cough, cough, Kathy?)

 

TIA! :)

 

PS: I am gathering info about summer math camps and plan to post it here. Some camps have not listed dates, costs, etc. yet, so I might not have it done until November. I also have a handy-dandy chart that allows you to see all the camps' dates at once and will try to post that as a PDF at some point.

 

PROMYS summer camp in Boston is supposed to offer decent scholarships for those who don't have the funds. Young Scholars Program at U of Chicago is free, but it might be available only to Illinois-ances. Not sure. I will try to list all that info, too.

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My son (14 and a freshman) took his first practice AIME test today and scored a 9 -- that is, 9 out of 15 correct. He finished in two hours, and after that, his brain stopped working. I think the score is good enough to understand some of the WOOT classes (AoPS), which he'd like to take next year, but is it a good score? I am not familiar with AIME scores. Comments? Suggestions?

 

He still has to do well enough on the AMC 10 this winter. Hopefully he will, but he sometimes makes little computation errors that throw him off. AMC 12 just seems too difficult at this point, but I don't know.

 

Ds's goal is to someday make USAMO, or maybe even USAJMO. A question about that: what is the difference? Do USAJMO participants not go on to IMO, I'm guessing?

 

Anyone else have a kid getting ready for this? Anyone who's BTDT have advice? (cough, cough, Kathy?)

 

Well, I'll jump in, although I'm sure the thread title will catch Kathy's eye :001_smile: just as it caught mine. My 14yo son took the AIME last year and scored a 3. When I expressed mock dismay (I loved telling my friends that my son got a "3" on a test!), my son said plenty of people don't get any points at all. That seems to be borne out by this table, showing the score distributions for the 2011 AIME. I think a 9 sounds like a fantastic score. And depending on your son's AMC 10 or 12 score(s), a 9 certainly might qualify him for USAMO or USAJMO (my son missed USAJMO last year by 3 AIME points -- i.e., if he'd gotten a 6 instead of a 3, he would've qualified for USAJMO).

 

OK, looking at the table, it isn't "plenty of people" scoring zero -- just about 40. But then quite a few scored only a 1.

 

My son got widely different scores on practice AIME tests, depending on the questions, his mood, level of alertness, etc. (the local high-school math club did several 5-question practice AIMEs, which were WAY over the heads of most of the kids, so I didn't see the point. But I digress ...)

 

I *think* it's only the USAMO participants who are chosen for MOSP (summer program) and then IMO -- there have been threads about this at the AoPS boards and Q&A at the AMC site. BUT I also know they are constantly tweaking the program. Also, the USAJMO is only a year or two old. And, I think from now on, there is a new procedure whereby MOSP/IMO qualification is no longer solely by AMC 10/12/AIME ... I don't recall the details, but it's to give the kids longer than just a few months to train for IMO. Again, the details are at AoPS and AMC sites.

 

I would think (again, I would love to be corrected by Kathy!) that if your son can do so well on AIME, he should train for and take the AMC 12. My advice is for your son to take both the AMC 10 and the AMC 12 (or, if he doesn't feel ready for the 12, to take both the AMC 10A and 10B) -- this gives better odds of qualifying for AIME and USA(J)MO. They will compute the USA(J)MO qualifying score using both AMC 10/12 tests taken and use the higher score. Also, far more students used to qualify for AIME from the AMC 12 (5%) than from the AMC 10 (1%), but just last year they started taking 2.5% of AMC 10 test-takers for AIME, so there is no longer such an advantage to taking the AMC 12 (I think).

 

Anyway, it was worth it for me to find two different testing locations so my son could take both the AMC 12A and the 10B (or was it the 10A and 12B?). He qualified for AIME on both tests, so we had the choice of taking the AIME at either site, and he chose the one (at a local *middle school*!) at which 12 students qualified -- the teacher is a gem and very professional, and the other students were very serious but also fun. It was a great experience, and worth the half-hour drive to that city, and the legwork arranging it. If you can't locate test centers for both the A and B dates, you can offer the test yourself. I've done this, as has Kathy; they are very homeschool-friendly. My son did find he performed better when in a large group of serious, focused kids, so it was worth it for me to find local testing sites.

 

HTH! and I'll be checking back to see what Kathy says :001_smile:.

 

~Laura

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An AIME score of 9 is very good. Even considering he didn't take it under the stress of exam conditions, it's a really solid score. I suspect he'd do fine in WOOT, but you might also consider Mr. Rusczyk's AIME prep class. It's really useful both for the math but also the test-taking strategies.

 

What you might do regarding AMCs is have your son take both the AMC10 and the AMC12 this year (there are two testing dates, and students are permitted to test on both). Doing well on either will qualify for AIME, and a good score will also help the index that can get him to USA(J)MO.

 

USAJMO winners don't make the IMO team, as far as I understand it, but the JMO winners do go to the summer training camp (MOSP) and study with the best, including the USAMO winners and honorable mentions, from whom the eventual IMO team will be picked (again, as I understand it; they've recently changed the team selection process, and it's kind of byzantine).

 

And just to complicate matters, kids can also qualify for AIME through USAMTS. I'm not sure how they work the index for USA(J)MO qualification, though.

 

Clear as mud? :)

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For what it is worth, Laura, a 3 on the last AIME would be higher on pretty much any other year's exam. The 2011 AIME was commonly described as a "bloodbath," and the index was abnormally low. So you can be darned proud of that 3!

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For what it is worth, Laura, a 3 on the last AIME would be higher on pretty much any other year's exam. The 2011 AIME was commonly described as a "bloodbath," and the index was abnormally low. So you can be darned proud of that 3!

 

Thanks -- I'll tell my son! It was his first AIME, so we didn't have any perspective. (But as I implied above, he wasn't worried about it ... low self-esteem is not one of his problems :tongue_smilie:).

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Hi all!

 

MBM - a score of 9 on a practice AIME is a fantastic score for your son! Wow, he's in a very good place for the AMC's this year already. :)

 

My own kids' AIME scores varied from test to test and practice to practice. Ds was more slow and steady, working his way up over the years till he had a very lucky 11th grade year when he qualified for MOSP. Dd, on the other hand, started out strong, but had ups and downs over the years, and the careless error bug kept her from ever making it as far as her brother.

 

Btw, you can find the AIME statistics for any year from 2001 to the present archived online here. The average score on the AIME ranged anywhere between 2.1 and 5.8 points out of 15 points during that time span.

 

Is there any way that your son can sign up for both an AMC-10 and an AMC-12 this year? I agree with Laura and Belacqua that that would be the best way to maximize his chances of moving forward. If he's scoring that high on practice AIME's, he's certainly ready to write the AMC-12. My daughter took both tests most years & had a funky habit of qualifying for AIME through the -12 but not through the -10 almost every year.

 

The rules for USAJMO and USAMO qualifications have really changed a lot since the last time one of mine competed! The JMO didn't exist for my kids. From what I understand, though, you can get to MOSP with a good enough score on either test. If you take the AMC-10, AMC-12, and the AIME, they'll calculate a qualification index for USAMO based on the -12 & AIME, and for USAJMO based on the -10 & AIME scores. If his index makes the cutoff for USAMO, then that's what he'll take. If not, they'll next look to see if his other index makes the cutoff for USAJMO. So it can only help a kid to try to qualify both ways.

 

IMO participants are chosen now through a combination of their MOSP performance the previous summer (writing the Team Selection Test - it's not clear to me who writes the TST any more; in the old days it was the 'black' MOSP group only), their participation in olympiad practice tests during the next school year, and their USAMO score the following spring. It's become very complicated, but they put the new system in place so that teams could be selected by early May each year, allowing them more practice time and also time to arrange IMO travel plans.

 

If your school only offers one AMC date, I'd first look at the AMC site to see whether any colleges near you are on the list offering open testing on the second date. If not, you could either try to contact another local school offering the second AMC date, or you could set up a proctor and a public testing site as per their homeschool administration rules. You just have to set everything up first before you register & pay for the test, and they'll mail the testing materials directly to your proctor. I've done it both ways over the years, from having a retired teacher friend proctor at the local library, to taking my kids to the local math/sci magnet public school, to hopping up I-95 to TJHSST in northern VA (now, that was an experience for ds!)

 

I'll also echo what Belacqua said about the AoPS prep classes for AMC-12 and AIME - fantastic! Mine have done both problem series and learned lots. But I think you've mentioned that your kiddo is already pretty booked this year with classes. Richard R also offers a 5-hour AIME intensive the weekend before the first AIME test date each spring. That's worthwhile, too - my kids took that seminar a few years and always felt it helped them focus and get their minds thinking the right way beforehand. He does a quick tour through algebra, number theory, counting & probability, and geometry problem-solving, and also gives them cool organizational and strategic tips.

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Thank you, ladies, for such wonderful, helpful advice! It is much appreciated, and I see I am going to have to do some research and possibly rethink this year. I'm in the middle of a crazy week -- trying to put together material for a *hearing* about putting up a simple garage on our property that two neighbors (who live a block away) are fighting. Urgh. Don't need that this week. Am looking forward to a large pitcher of sangria and tapas after that is over!

 

Anyway, ds has taken only this AIME -- to see how he stands with WOOT which he hopes to take next year -- and one AMC 10 last September, which he did well enough on. I think in a week or two, I'll have him try another AIME to see how he does. He's definitely inconsistent and very prone to the error bug (love that name), so we'll just see what happens.

 

I am also going to have to see if his school offers the two testing dates in February. I know they offer the AMC 10 and pretty sure the 12, but I'm not sure if they're on two different days.

 

In the meantime, he wants to sign up for AoPS's AIME problem series on Wednesdays (his one free day :tongue_smilie:) and see how that goes. He does have the problem sets to do that Titu Andreescu & Friends send out for Awesome Math Year-round (another AMY), but since my son cannot do many of those, he should have free time for the AoPS class. We also had to opt out of Young Scholars Program at U of Chicago because it conflicted with a jazz class. That was a bummer because I think he would have really enjoyed meeting Paul Sally, the beloved Pirate Prof. Next year's schedule should slow down, so I'm hoping that he can do YSP then if just to meet Paul Sally and some of the other people there.

 

Once again, thanks so much for your advice, and good luck to your kiddos! I marvel at how they are blazing through math in so many interesting ways. It's helpful for a big dummy like me to hear the BTDT advice. :)

 

PS, Kathy, did your daughter take an AMC at Thomas Jefferson High School? I bet that was interesting!

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Anyway, ds has taken only this AIME -- to see how he stands with WOOT which he hopes to take next year -- and one AMC 10 last September, which he did well enough on. I think in a week or two, I'll have him try another AIME to see how he does. He's definitely inconsistent and very prone to the error bug (love that name), so we'll just see what happens.

 

I am also going to have to see if his school offers the two testing dates in February. I know they offer the AMC 10 and pretty sure the 12, but I'm not sure if they're on two different days.

 

Sounds like a good plan for him. I didn't catch that he was interested in WOOT. My ds took the old Olympiad Problem Solving class as an 11th grader. Then that course evolved into WOOT by the next year, and several instructors shared the teaching - I think it was too much for one instructor alone! So ds took the initial year of WOOT as a senior. Judging from what you've shared, I bet your son will be more than ready for it next year.

 

In the meantime, he wants to sign up for AoPS's AIME problem series on Wednesdays (his one free day :tongue_smilie:) and see how that goes.

Gotta love a kid who'd fill up his one free day for AoPS math.:D

 

He does have the problem sets to do that Titu Andreescu & Friends send out for Awesome Math Year-round (another AMY), but since my son cannot do many of those, he should have free time for the AoPS class. We also had to opt out of Young Scholars Program at U of Chicago because it conflicted with a jazz class. That was a bummer because I think he would have really enjoyed meeting Paul Sally, the beloved Pirate Prof. Next year's schedule should slow down, so I'm hoping that he can do YSP then if just to meet Paul Sally and some of the other people there.

 

I hope that the YSP works out for him eventually. Having the resources of U Chicago within commuting distance sounds amazing to me.

 

PS, Kathy, did your daughter take an AMC at Thomas Jefferson High School? I bet that was interesting!

 

Nah, she never had the chance. She did tag along when we took ds to TJ for a USAMO one year. Man, the brainpower in the classroom was something physical! And what nice people, too. I still credit his trip to MOSP that year to the extra boost he received from taking the olympiad test up there. Like Laura said above about her son, mine also seemed more energized around fellow math lovers who were just as excited about working some tough problems.

 

Thank you, ladies, for such wonderful, helpful advice! It is much appreciated, and I see I am going to have to do some research and possibly rethink this year. I'm in the middle of a crazy week -- trying to put together material for a *hearing* about putting up a simple garage on our property that two neighbors (who live a block away) are fighting. Urgh. Don't need that this week. Am looking forward to a large pitcher of sangria and tapas after that is over!

 

Sorry you're having the garage problems, and I hope it all works out OK. I'm sitting here waiting for the foundation repair people to show up. Cracks in the foundation due to shrink-swell soil (our home should never have been built on this site)...ugh! Just what I want to spend $$$ on this week! I'd join you for that pitcher of sangria if I were a little closer.:001_smile:

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Btw, you can find the AIME statistics for any year from 2001 to the present archived online here. The average score on the AIME ranged anywhere between 2.1 and 5.8 points out of 15 points during that time span.

 

 

 

Kathy, I'm wondering if that 5.8 for last year's AIME is a typo (horrors!). I'm confused :confused: (love that emoticon! and I feel like that a lot ...). Belacqua said last year's AIME was a "bloodbath," and that 3 was a respectable score ... and if I click on various mathy states in the 2011 archives, each state average is around 3. For example, CA avg is 3.25 for 917 test-takers; TX 4.12 for 240 kids; MA 3.68 for 311; NJ 3.14 for 271, etc. Maybe the international kids raised the average? but the total number of test-takers was 2703, and the four states I just quoted total far more than half that. :confused:

 

I'll also echo what Belacqua said about the AoPS prep classes for AMC-12 and AIME - fantastic! Mine have done both problem series and learned lots. But I think you've mentioned that your kiddo is already pretty booked this year with classes. Richard R also offers a 5-hour AIME intensive the weekend before the first AIME test date each spring. That's worthwhile, too - my kids took that seminar a few years and always felt it helped them focus and get their minds thinking the right way beforehand. He does a quick tour through algebra, number theory, counting & probability, and geometry problem-solving, and also gives them cool organizational and strategic tips.

 

Oh wow, I just showed that paragraph to my son and he's excited about the 5-hour AIME prep class by Richard R. I guess it fell off my radar last year. I'll make a note on the calendar for this year, in case my son qualifies again.

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Oh wow, I just showed that paragraph to my son and he's excited about the 5-hour AIME prep class by Richard R. I guess it fell off my radar last year. I'll make a note on the calendar for this year, in case my son qualifies again.

 

The weekend boot camp is really useful. It's also kind of hilarious. I peeked in while they were discussing the optimal length of a bathroom break during the test (taking into consideration what they had to do in there, how far away the bathroom was, and whether they were more than halfway through the exam questions).

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Kathy, I'm wondering if that 5.8 for last year's AIME is a typo (horrors!). I'm confused :confused: (love that emoticon! and I feel like that a lot ...). Belacqua said last year's AIME was a "bloodbath," and that 3 was a respectable score ... and if I click on various mathy states in the 2011 archives, each state average is around 3. For example, CA avg is 3.25 for 917 test-takers; TX 4.12 for 240 kids; MA 3.68 for 311; NJ 3.14 for 271, etc. Maybe the international kids raised the average? but the total number of test-takers was 2703, and the four states I just quoted total far more than half that. :confused:

 

Hmmm....that's weird! I know that the AMC-12 has been hugely difficult in the last year or two. I don't have any personal knowledge of last year's AIME; it was the first year when I didn't have a student participating. But I think that you're right. When I checked the 'international' results, it showed 5.8 for the AIME average. I think they might have incorrectly used that figure for the overall average. I don't see any US states with an average that high, either.

 

Oh wow, I just showed that paragraph to my son and he's excited about the 5-hour AIME prep class by Richard R. I guess it fell off my radar last year. I'll make a note on the calendar for this year, in case my son qualifies again.

I hope he continues to offer the prep class! The class is split up over Sat and Sun with 2.5 hours each day (5 hours total). Most years (ahem...) that's the total of what my kids did for prep.:)

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Hmmm....that's weird! I know that the AMC-12 has been hugely difficult in the last year or two. I don't have any personal knowledge of last year's AIME; it was the first year when I didn't have a student participating. But I think that you're right. When I checked the 'international' results, it showed 5.8 for the AIME average. I think they might have incorrectly used that figure for the overall average. I don't see any US states with an average that high, either.

 

OK, maybe they're right after all, haha. (I had actually deleted that part from my previous post, b/c I figured I must be wrong and would embarrass myself ... but if you're confused, too, I feel a lot better! :001_smile: I put it back in my post, since you quoted that part :D). Anyway, I was staring at the data, and had figured out that the mode was 4 (adding up male/female/other in the columns to the right of the scores in the 2011 table), with 692 kids below 4 and 1642 kids above 4, and 381 kids with a score of 4. So that started to look like the average would be higher than 3-something. My son came wandering in and, for fun (yes, we're nerds, but I figure this is a nerdy thread!), calculated the average using all the scores from 0-15. And ... he got 5.8. (Well, first he got 10 LOL, but he knew he must've made a mistake.)

 

We still don't understand why the state averages are nowhere near 5.8. Are we missing something?? :confused: If I have time later I may calculate the CA state average, and see if it's 3.25. But I really must not neglect the stuff I'm supposed to be doing around the house, heehee.

 

I hope he continues to offer the prep class! The class is split up over Sat and Sun with 2.5 hours each day (5 hours total). Most years (ahem...) that's the total of what my kids did for prep.:)

 

That's good to know :001_smile:. My son still acts like a typical 14yo boy a lot of the time (endearingly, for the most part). And has his ups and downs on math tests. Last year he easily qualified for the state math tournament at the first local (October) meet; this year, perplexingly, he didn't qualify in October. He said he felt 'rusty.' I'm still prodding him to finish AoPS Vol. 2 ...

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Are they factoring in the scores from the second testing date, maybe? The AIME2 was supposed to have been easier than the AIME1. I don't think that many students take the second exam, though, so...

 

Heck. I don't know. I'll leave it to the mathy folk to figure out. :)

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Ummm...it's making less sense the more that I look at it! The overall national chart does appear to have an average of 5 point something, but the individual states sure don't. I checked Virginia's scores, and the average did come out to be 2.6 as reported. There's a mistake somewhere in their reporting...

 

Reminds me of the time that I got my son's AMC score report back, and it said he had a score of 144. Well, we knew he had missed more than one question from the AMC's own answer sheets. It was really, really hard to convince them that they were wrong (let alone make them understand that you are asking for a *lower* score for your student). Turned out that there was an error in their computer code that year, and they eventually went back and had to adjust a few kids' scores for that particular contest.

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Yesterday I read the MAA site (Mathmatical Association of America) regarding the contests, and I finally managed to get most of the main points down. I don't think his school offers the second testing date in February. Not sure, so I'll have to check. In that case, we'll have to find a nearby testing center. I was hoping Northwestern would offer it, but they don't.

 

Thanks for linking the stats because I think he might consider taking the AMC-12 now. He feels less intimidated knowing the average scores.

 

Gotta love a kid who'd fill up his one free day for AoPS math.:D

 

He :001_wub: AoPS. AoPS is the best thing since cookies were invented.

 

I hope that the YSP works out for him eventually. Having the resources of U Chicago within commuting distance sounds amazing to me.

 

And they are such nice people there! The math department truly is a family that extends from the profs all the way down to local students in junior high. Everyone interacts with one another. Very cool. Unlike the business school which can be cut-throat and has a few, ahem, not nice people.

 

Nah, she never had the chance. She did tag along when we took ds to TJ for a USAMO one year. Man, the brainpower in the classroom was something physical! And what nice people, too. I still credit his trip to MOSP that year to the extra boost he received from taking the olympiad test up there. Like Laura said above about her son, mine also seemed more energized around fellow math lovers who were just as excited about working some tough problems.

 

Duh. I knew it was your son. My brain was starting to shut down when I wrote that. My son became friends with a girl from TJ at IdeaMath this summer. She was so smart and such a nice kid!

 

Sorry you're having the garage problems, and I hope it all works out OK. I'm sitting here waiting for the foundation repair people to show up. Cracks in the foundation due to shrink-swell soil (our home should never have been built on this site)...ugh! Just what I want to spend $$$ on this week! I'd join you for that pitcher of sangria if I were a little closer.:001_smile:

 

Oh, no. I hope they are just injecting goop and not trenching. We had a few major cracks that Perma Seal fixed, and luckily, it's still working. Must knock on wood.

 

We talked with our lawyer yesterday, who is going to be at the hearing, and he reassured us that our neighbors' complaints are unfounded, so we *should* get approved. I will be very happy when the whole ordeal is over.

 

The weekend boot camp is really useful. It's also kind of hilarious. I peeked in while they were discussing the optimal length of a bathroom break during the test (taking into consideration what they had to do in there, how far away the bathroom was, and whether they were more than halfway through the exam questions).

 

LOL. Who else but AoPSers? I should see if some of them would be willing to create travel itineraries for me. I bet they'd be fabulous.

 

My son still acts like a typical 14yo boy a lot of the time (endearingly, for the most part). And has his ups and downs on math tests. Last year he easily qualified for the state math tournament at the first local (October) meet; this year, perplexingly, he didn't qualify in October. He said he felt 'rusty.' I'm still prodding him to finish AoPS Vol. 2 ...

 

This is my son, too. He has good days and not so good days. Sometimes one little error can throw a test score way off. That happened to him at State Math Counts last year, and at his first ARML meet this month, he misread the problem and got it wrong. It was still fun to be with all the kids who like math, though! I think that is what he likes most about the contests. :)

 

Well, cheers, everyone! I'll toast a glass of sangria to all of you this weekend.

 

:cheers2:

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You can find a public place (library, church, etc) and a proctor willing to administer the exam according to the AMC's homeschool administration rules and set it up yourself. This involves calling the AMC office to get approval of your arrangements before paying to register for one of the contests. They'll mail all exam materials directly to your proctor.

 

If you'd rather, you can also look for a nearby school willing to let your student sit in on their administration of the AMC exam. If you call their office (1-800-527-3690), they'll be happy to assist you in finding contact info for the Contest Managers at such schools. Then it's up to you to call those contacts and see whether they're willing to let your student join, how much they'll charge you, etc. It's a lot like trying to find PSAT or AP sites - there's no guarantee. Some kids find it's more fun to take the contests in a group setting, and it's certainly less costly. The downside is that some schools don't provide good testing conditions. We've done it both ways over the years.

 

If you're really lucky, you might live near one of the university sites providing free testing for the AMC-10/12 exams. The current list is posted online here. Then it's simply a matter of calling or emailing the contact on that list.

 

This year's contests must be given on specific dates: AMC-8 on Nov 15, 2011, & AMC-10/12 on Feb 7 and/or Feb 22, 2012. You can register for either or both of the February dates, and your student can take any combination of -10 or -12 tests on those two dates, as long as he's age-eligible.

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