AIME: All you need to know

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What is the American Invitational Mathematics Exam (AIME)?

The AIME competition is a integer answer math competition held by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) for middle school and high school students who do well on the AMC 10 and 12 competitions. It is offered twice a year and is the first invitational exam for students wishing to qualify for the US Math Olympiad Team. See our competition calendar by clicking here for this year’s dates. You can visit the official MAA AMC Invitational Exam page by clicking here.

Key Information:

  • Students who do well on the AMC 10 and/or 12 exam are invited to participate in that year’s AIME.
  • The exam is offered on two dates each year, a main date and an alternate date. Unlike the AMC 10/12 A and B dates, a student is typically only allowed to participate in a single AIME per year.
  • The test has 15 numerical questions with a time limit of 3 hours.
  • The answer to each question is a three-digit integer, written as 000, 001, etc., up to 999.
  • Each question is worth 1 point. No partial credit is given.
  • The questions test knowledge in algebra, geometry, counting and probability, and number theory. The test covers material typically covered in high school math, including concepts in trigonometry, complex numbers, and logarithms.
  • Questions are meant to be challenging and test students on advanced topics and problem solving. Calculus is not required for the exam, but sometimes methods in calculus can be used to solve problems.
  • No calculators are allowed on the test.
  • The test is given by schools, universities, and other educational institutions. Contact your local institution for information on how to register.

Qualifying for AIME:

See our AMC 10/12: All You Need to Know post for more information on the AMC 10 and 12 exams and qualifying for AIME.

To summarize, students taking either AMC 10 or AMC 12 can qualify for the AIME:

  • On the AMC 10A and 10B at least the top 2.5% qualify for the AIME. Typically scores of 115+ will qualify for AIME, but these vary by year and exam.
  • On the AMC 12A and 12B at least the top 5% qualify for the AIME. Typically scores of 100+ will qualify for AIME, but these vary by year and exam.

Why take the AIME?

Students who qualify for and participate in AIME stand out on college applications, especially to top colleges. Getting a good score on the AMC 10/12 exams shows dedication and hard work, and the AIME allows students to further push themselves and improve their math and problem solving skills.

For many students, qualifying for the AIME and doing their best during the competition is a great goal. For others, the AIME is just the next hurdle to overcome, hoping to qualify for the USA Mathematical Olympiad or Junior Math Olympiad (USA(J)MO) and be in contention for the US International Math Team.

Qualifying for USA(J)MO:

Scores from both the AMC 10/12 and AIME are used for qualification for the USA(J)MO.

  • A USAJMO Index Score is equal to (AMC 10 Score) + 10 * (AIME Score). This score is used for USAJMO qualification.
  • A USAMO Index Score is equal to (AMC 12 Score) + 10 * (AIME Score). This score is used for USAMO qualification.
  • For example, a hypothetical student who scores 120 on the AMC 10A, 100 on the AMC 12B, and then 8 on the AIME will have a USAJMO Index score of 200 and a USAMO Index score of 180.

Cutoffs for USA(J)MO qualification vary by year. Typical cutoffs in recent years have ranged from index scores of 210 to 230 for both USAJMO and USAMO. Note: A student who take multiple exams (and thus has multiple index scores) only needs to qualify with one score to participate in the USA(J)MO.

How to Prepare:

The easiest way to prepare is to practice solving old AMC 10/12 and AIME problems. Click the links below to visit the ZIML Practice Page for:

  • Archived Exams: A full archive of every year’s AIME exams. Students can take a practice exam that includes the real questions, timing, and scoring of each exam.
  • Mock Exams: Practice exams are also available with random real AIME questions from previous years, this allows students to practice the feel of the exam without having the exact questions from a specific year. The Mock Exams also include the timing and scoring of a real AIME exam.

ZIML Daily Magic Spells and Monthly Contests provide problems similar to the AMC 10/12 and AIME that test their mathematical problem solving skills. Click the links below to visit the ZIML site for:

  • Daily Magic Spells: Practice everyday with a free math problem!
  • Online Monthly Contests: Compete against other students from around the world in a timed monthly test. ZIML Division JV and V are recommended for students preparing the for the AIME.

Areteem provides many programs that help students build the foundation and problem solving skills to succeed on the AIME. Click the links below to visit Areteem’s classes site for:

  • Intensive AMC Prep: Preparation courses and private lessons for students willing to work hard for quick improvement.
  • Live Online Classes and Self-Paced Online Classes: Year-round courses that systematically build knowledge and problem solving skills in Algebra, Geometry, Counting & Probability, and Number Theory. Math Challenge III is recommended for students preparing for the AIME.
  • Summer Camps and Winter Camps: Onsite camps that provide intensive training that is both fun and challenging for students. Camps are a great way to make new friends, learn new math, and have fun over summer and winter breaks!

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