Math Olympiad Advice Please (I will be 13 years old next year in 9th grade)

In summary, for a 13-year-old in 9th grade looking to participate in Math Olympiad, it is important to have a strong foundation in mathematics, practice regularly, and challenge oneself with difficult problems. It is also beneficial to work with a team and seek guidance from experienced coaches and mentors. Additionally, time management and critical thinking skills are crucial for success in Math Olympiad competitions. Remember to stay focused, confident, and determined in your pursuit of excellence in mathematics.
  • #1
JadeRabbit
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Hi! I am 12, and will be a 13 in 9th grade ( I skipped 6th grade). I have a curiosity for mathematics and have started preparing to take the AMC 10 and 12 exams. I enjoy solving the ingeniously crafted problems, as I share the sentiment of many math competitors of not being challenged by the school math curriculum.

As I go deeper into this current passion, I am amused and frustrated by the solution, yet I appreciate the cleverness of it. I wish to go deeper into higher mathematics, and will study lots of math this summer. I want to at least make MOP in perhaps 11th ( yes , I am aware of the difficulty and time I will need to invest) , but I feel I started competition math too late.

I started in the last few months, is it wise to continue on this path? I might do so for my own enjoyment, but because of my late start it might not be wise to compete with kids that have started at 10. What you do at a young age is influential, and can be a variable in the trajectory of your life.

Going forward, what alternative paths are there? I will most likely try and qualify for ISEF in the coming year with a research project on a currently undecided topic. I also know of physics olympiad, and while no means easier it might be more reasonable to prepare for the higher levels of this competition; I heard from a participant of the USAPHO that physics is more forgiving, meaning with intense and focused practice you can start later and achieve a more advanced level as it is a subject often explored more in depth later in life. It is heavily based in math, and I loved physics early in life. I suspect I could become found of it again rather quickly.

I will probably start by casually doing an overview on the topic(physics), and once I get a basic grasp on presumably before the start of next year- start studying one variable calculus based physics and work my way up from there. Thank you for the guidance in advance!
 
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  • #2
It's 100% not too late to get into math. Contrary to popular belief, most professional mathematicians weren't entering Olympiads and what not at 10 years old. I'd say most probably never entered them at all. Don't compare yourself to what others did, 12 is super early to start getting into serious math, and don't worry about actually doing well in Olympiads, it doesn't matter that much in the long run. Learning is what matters.
 
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  • #3
It's not all-or-nothing, even if you don't make it to MOP, making it to USA(J)MO is a great achievement that's likely to bring you in contact with other mathletes like yourself. Don't think of those other kids as competition, but as potential friends.

I'm assuming you know about the AoPS books (volumes 1 and 2); for physics read this: https://knzhou.github.io/writing/Advice.pdf
 
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