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Advice on AMC competitions

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Hello all,

Can anyone tell me more about the AMC 8 competition?  What math do you think they need to have completed to do this?  Do they need to have completed Algebra I?  Or beyond?


Also, if a student does not do the AMC 8, do you think they can do okay just starting with the AMC 10?  (I mean, of course, if they are ready for that one.)


Thanks for any advice!

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You don't need algebra for AMC 8 from what I understand.  You need just good logic and problem solving skills.  There might be some probability, things like divisibility tricks, Pythagoras's theorem etc.  I think if you go to their website, you'll find it lists all the possible topics.


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So frustrating------the MAA website has changed and I can't find anything specific about the AMCs! There used to be a huge FAQ with charts showing the frequency of topics on each of the 8/10/12.


OP have you looked at past exams? There is a nice collection at Art of Problem Solving http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/Wiki/index.php/AMC_Problems_and_Solutions Take a look and see how your student is prepared.


Having algebra before taking an AMC8 would be a definite plus. There is a good deal of geometry on the AMC8, like 5-6 problems each year. There will be a few problems on probability, usually one or two involving percents, one on interpreting graphs, one using rates, some spatial reasoning problems, definitely several number theory problems, some involving logic, etc.


The first ten problems (ish) are at one level of difficulty, the second ten at a higher level, and the last five are doozies!


The AMC10 would be very difficult and frustrating for a student who hasn't been exposed to math above algebra 1. Dd will be sitting the 10 this year after studying algebra 1 and 2, geometry and two beginning discrete math courses (counting and probability and number theory). She is hopeful of scoring 10/25.

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To get the best idea of what's expected on the AMC 8 test, take a look at several of the past exams posted on the AoPS website.


While lots advanced mathematics coursework isn't absolutely necessary for AMC 8 participation, some algebra and geometry will definitely help, along with an introduction to beginning concepts in number theory and counting/probability. The ability to reason well, think outside the box, and tackle new problems you've never seen before is even more beneficial.


One of my kids took it for the first time in grade 8, after having completed alg 1 and geometry. The other started earlier in late elementary school, and was happy to try her best even though she hadn't been exposed to all the math involved until later in middle school.


If you wish, your student can prepare by working through past tests & solutions, take an AoPS class, or use various AoPS texts (especially the Classic Problem Solving Vol 1 and the Intro series of textbooks).


And yes, you can start at the AMC 10 level later without taking AMC 8 first.

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I agree with Kathy - look at old tests to see what kind of problems are on the tests. They are listed in the AoPS wiki as well as other places.


The AMC 8 was a big hassle for me to arrange - must find a proctor, etc. You might be able to take it at a local school. We did it because it was good practice heading into state/national mathcounts exams.


Some benefits to taking the AMC 8 if READY mathematically are:

-test taking practice

-able to see where you rank among other top middle school math students

-practice for mathcounts

-commendations to high scoring students

-for some students, it will inspire them to learn more math


Some cons to taking the AMC 8 are:

-time, cost, and hassle factor

-even with a perfect score, there is no "reward" other than a certificate


The AMC 10 can be taken starting any year up to 10th grade. It is more widely given by schools so potentially easier to schedule (much easier for me). Students that do well on the AMC 10 are then invited to the AIME as the AMC exams are the first in a series of exams.


Take a look at some old exams and then make a decision.

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