Record-breaking 120 students take national math contest

After taking countless practice tests to refine their skills, a record-breaking 120 students braved the American Mathematics Competition test on Tuesday.

“The test is very competitive and challenging. It requires you to take different concepts and apply them to solve the problem,” junior Mark Guevara said.

Unlike the past three years, this year was the first time SCHS paid for the test, which resulted in a higher number of people taking the test.

There are two separate tests for high schoolers, AMC 12, which is taken by upperclassmen and AMC 10, which is taken by underclassmen. Both tests are rigorous and require students to rely on all concepts of math, varying from algebra to precalculus.  This year’s test, for instance, included a question which asked for the area of a triangle, excluding the three circles inside it.

“Taking the test is fun because you are supposed to figure out how to do the questions rather than having everything given to you like math at school,” senior and AMC Club president Kentaro Tanaka said.

Tanaka started the AMC Club to give students a chance to do practice tests and learn how to take the test.  

For the last two years, Tanaka has qualified for the American Invitational Math Competition. The requirement to qualify for AIME is a score above 120 of 150 on the AMC 10 and above 100 on the AMC 12. He is confident that he will again qualify for AIME, which takes place on March 3.

Those who get a high enough score on their AMC and AIME combined qualify for the United States of America Mathematical Olympiad, and those who pass the AMC for four consecutive years receive a gold medal.   

“There a lot of hard working students, so there are many potential AMC winners such as sophomore Yifan You and freshman Ryota Inagaki,” said math teacher and AMC club advisor Francine Kong.

This test is recreational but some colleges, like Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford, recommend or even require students to take it. Kong advises students to take this test because it distinguishes their college applications from others.

“It is important to learn the small tricks, because even though you have 75 minutes for 25 questions, you will find yourself running out of time,” Guevara said.