AMC 10/12: All you need to know

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What is the AMC 10 and AMC 12?

The AMC 10 and AMC 12 competitions are multiple choice math competitions held by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) for middle school and high school students (up to grade 10 and 12 respectively). They are each offered twice a year and are the first exams 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 10/12 page by clicking here.

Key Information:

  • The AMC 10 is open to students grade 10 and younger who are under 17.5 years of age and the AMC 12 is open to students grade 12 and younger who are under 19.5 years of age.
  • The exams are offered on two dates each year, referred to as AMC 10A/12A and AMC 10B/12B. Students can take both an A and a B exam, but not both the AMC 10 and 12 on the same date.
  • Each test has 25 multiple choice questions with a time limit of 75 minutes.
  • Each question is worth 6 points. 0 points are given for wrong answers, but 1.5 points are given for each question left blank/unanswered.
  • The questions test knowledge in algebra, geometry, counting and probability, and number theory. Both tests cover material typically covered in the first few years of high school math. Topics such as trigonometry, complex numbers, and logarithms are only needed for the AMC 12. Calculus is not required for either exam.
  • No calculators are allowed on the test.
  • The test is given by schools and universities. Contact your school for information on how to register.

Why take the AMC 10 and AMC 12?

The AMC 10 and 12 exams are the first in the sequence of exams used to qualify for the US Math Olympiad team. Like other math competitions, the AMC 10 and 12 provides a great way for students interested in math to learn new ways to apply their knowledge of math to more advanced problems.

Many schools organize math clubs or teams for students competing on math competitions such as the AMC 10 and 12, which give students a great extracurricular activity and the opportunity to compete against others. Top scoring students can receive awards and qualify for the American Invitational Mathematics Exam (AIME).

Qualifying for AIME:

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.

Since students get 1.5 points for leaving a question unanswered, students close to the cutoff can benefit from leaving difficult questions blank. For example, 18 correct answers, 2 incorrect, and 5 unanswered gives a score of 115.5 which is typically good enough to qualify for AIME.

How to Prepare:

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

  • Archived Exams: A full archive of every year’s AMC 10 and AMC 12 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 AMC 10 and 12 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 AMC 10 or AMC 12 exam.

ZIML Daily Magic Spells and Monthly Contests provide problems similar to the AMC 10 and 12 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 is recommended for students preparing the for the AMC 10 and 12.

Areteem provides many programs that help students build the foundation and problem solving skills to succeed on the AMC 10/12. 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 II-A and II-B are recommended for students preparing for the AMC 10 and AMC 12.
  • 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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