Annual AMC 10 and 12 exams return to in-person testing


Catherine Wong

The classroom of upper school math teacher Gabriele Stahl. All upper school math teachers prepared their classrooms by separating desks before the AMC 10 and 12 exams on Nov. 10. The contests were administered in-person this year, though students still took the exams on their laptops.

by Catherine Wong, Reporter

More than 150 upper school students participated in the American Mathematics Competition (AMC) 10 exam and 12 A exam on Nov. 10 from 8 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. in Dobbins Hall. 

The AMC 10 was only available for those in tenth grade and lower, and the AMC 12 A exam was available for all high schoolers. 

Unlike previous years, students took the exam on their computers in Dobbins classrooms instead of on paper in Nichols Atrium. The competition was also held significantly earlier compared to past years — in November instead of the usual February — and according to Math Club advisor Dr. Anu Aiyer, more students participated this year than the usual count of around 120 students.  

“Part of it is that we’re a STEM-oriented school, so we’re going to have students interested in math and that enjoy it,” Dr. Aiyer said. “The second aspect, I think, is that it was online, so it’s about ease of use. That might have attracted more people.”

Due to testing, the Wednesday schedule for Nov. 10 changed. Teachers held office hours from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., and fifth period began at 9:35 a.m.

The AMC 10 and 12 B exams were consequently held on Nov. 16, although only active Math Club members were eligible to take the exams at Harker. More than 300,000 students from over 4,000 schools take part in AMC competitions annually.

Approximately, the top 2.5% of scorers on the AMC 10 and the top 5% of scorers on the AMC 12 will qualify to participate in the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME), which will be held on Feb. 8. The AIME can then qualify them for the United States of America Mathematics Olympiad (USAMO). 

“I would say that it’s a good starting point for competitive math because you can get feedback as to where you stand and which type of problems you want to improve on,” Math Club co-president Riya Gupta (10) said. “It’s good, especially if you want to go further in competition math, because they have all types of problems in ranging difficulty.”

Audrey Cheng (9), who has prior experience with AMC exams and took the AMC 10 this year, enjoys the challenge of the competition, as well as the chance to hone her problem-solving skills both in practice and during the exam itself.

“I think it really does help you build your problem-solving skills, which are pretty useful in a lot of situations, actually,” Audrey said. “They can help in normal math class but also in things like physics.”

A previous version of this article omitted the grade level of Riya Gupta (10). This article has been updated on Nov. 28, 2021 to to reflect the correction of this error.