Last week, nine 9th and 10th grade students from Uniontown Area High School chose to challenge themselves by taking the American Mathematics Competition test, a 25-question, 75-minute multiple choice exam designed by the Mathematical Association of America. Uniontown participants included 9th graders Grant Barcheck, Colton May, Gabrielle Hostetler, and Malcolm Patton as well as 10th graders Brody Ludy, Summer Hawk, Xander Shaw, Maddie King, and Gavin O’Brian. These students were selected by recommendation from past and present math teachers. The exam mainly tested on students’ problem solving abilities, more than their raw mathematical scores, so many of the problems involved topics not necessarily taught in the traditional classroom setting. The top 2.5% of participants in the country will receive the AIME, another math exam designed to qualify students for the USA(J)MO, or the USA Junior Mathematics Olympiad.
The test was administered by Mrs. Caruso, who chose to offer the test this year per request of a student. When asked what she thought was the hardest problem on the test, she mentioned #19, a problem about ways to navigate a 12-sided object, and #21, a problem about finding a certain value given certain properties of a sequence of numbers.
We asked five of the participants some questions about their experiences with the test. (Gabrielle Hostetler = H, Grant Barcheck = B, Gavin O’Brian = O, Maddie King = K, Xander Shaw = S)
What was the hardest part of the test?
B: All of it.
H: I thought it was difficult to figure out how to do each problem.
O: Probably the hardest part were the problems with probability with geometric shapes.
K: The hardest part was the time limit.
S: The probability problems were the hardest.
Would you take it again, given the opportunity?
B: Yes, now that I know what to expect as far as the problems go.
H: Yes, now that I will know what to do.
How did it compare to what you expected?
B: It was harder than I expected.
H: I expected the problems to be more about things we directly learned in class.
O: I expected it to be hard, so it was about on par with what I expected.
K: I didn’t really have expectations about it.
S: I had seen the practice problems and they seemed relatively easy, so I thought it would be easier.
Mrs. Caruso plans on offering the test again next year, on both the 10th grade level and the 12th grade level.
Featured image from the Mathematical Association of America’s website