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Firstly, I couldn't find a thread on my exact question elsewhere on these forums even after using the search feature, so if there is one that was previously posted please point me in the right direction.

Secondly, I want to say that I am not against having math competitions in any way, in fact I find them fun and can occasionally do well in them.

My question stems from the fact that in high school (at least mine) math competitions are used as one of the primary ways to judge a student's mathematical ability. I find this a bit strange, especially since much of the emphasis seems to be on tricks, memorization, and speed in these competitions but not on reasoning, proof, and precision. I've also seen posted elsewhere on these forums that the competitions are the exact opposite of what mathematical research is like.

So my question is: why are these competitions so heavily emphasized in high school?