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Regarding Math Competitions

  1. Oct 30, 2013 #1
    I'm honestly curious regarding this.

    Now i don't mean to take away from these kids accomplishments, but i had a different idea of math competitions,this feels...very mechanical, almost as though they know the answers before even fully reading them, giving of a vibe of a machine processing commands.

    Now granted, i haven't ever done a math competition before, but i was given the impression that they were about tricks,yes, but also about problem solving, i see nothing of the latter here.

    It really discourages me from attempting one, given that one of the draws (for me atleast) was the problem solving that was entailed in these competitions seems not to exist here.

    Are all math competitions like this or do they differ?
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 2, 2013 #2
    In short; they differ.

    MATHCOUNTS is a more of a childish competition.
    See this video for an international competition :
    Basically, anyone can take the AMC test which is the first step of the process. It is 25 questions, 75 minutes, and you need ~20 to move on.
    Next, is the 15 question 3 hour AIME exam. Adding AMC+10*AIME gives your index, which may or may not qualify you for the proof based USAMO. The USAMO helps select people for the MOSP camp, which narrows down a team of 6 americans to compete.
    Very hard competition.

    About mathcounts: yes, many questions involve tricks. I don't know what you mean by replying fast, since there were many easy questions which the contestants took a while to answer. I competed in 2012 and can tell you that the countdown round is more about being calm and thinking straight. When you're sitting there with 10000000000 people watching you-it's quite nerve racking. Unfortunately, I didn't win, but came very close.
    You are right in the sense that it's very mechanical. I trained for 3 hours each day for the past 3 years before I could make it up on stage. After that training, you can easily spot the tricks in the questions. However that doesn't mean there's no problem solving!

    If you're looking for a problem solving competition, try the USAMO. That's very difficult and draws the best mathletes in the country.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
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