10 Math Competitions for High Schoolers
- Math Competitions for High Schoolers
- How do Math Competitions Impact Your College Admissions Chances?
For students striving to excel in the field of mathematics, math competitions offer an easy avenue for highlighting your skills and talent. Many students don’t know, though, just how many options there are out there for math contests.
In this post, we outline some of the best math competitions and provide all the information you need to register.
10 Math Competitions for High Schoolers
Dates: November 10th and 16th
Type: Regional, state, and national
These multiple-choice exams are 75 minutes long and composed of 25 questions. They are administered in November of each year and cover advanced course material appropriate to the grade level and are designed to enhance and test problem-solving abilities.
Students in 10th grade and below are eligible for the AMC 10, while students in 12th grade or below are eligible for the AMC 12. Top-scoring participants may be invited to the American Invitational Mathematics Examination, a higher-level competition, and beyond.
Check with your school and see if the AMC is already offered – while students can’t individually register, they can look to their teachers or guidance counselors to organize the school to register and offer the examination to any interested students.
Date: June 4th
Unlike many other competitive exams, the American Regions Math League competition is held in person. Each year, teams of 15 students gather to participate in a team round, a power question (in which a team solves proof-oriented questions), an individual round, two relay rounds, and a super relay.
Since the teams are made up of 15 students, you will need to find a Coach to register and organize your team for the actual in-person competition. Additionally, the ARML requires a $400 registration fee for any participating team.
Date: November, January-May
The Caribou Mathematics Competition sets itself apart by taking place online and being offered in eight languages. This worldwide examination is held six times per year, and students who take all exams qualify for consideration for the Caribou Cup.
Although entirely online, Caribou competitions are similarly offered through a school facilitator such as a teacher or librarian and are known as Caribou Contacts. If your school does not already have a Caribou Contact, talk with your teacher about having them help you get an access code for competitions.
Date: November (Harvard), February (MIT)
Organized entirely by Harvard, MIT, and other nearby college students, this event features social events along with one of the most prestigious math contests in the country. Teams of students compete in multiple rounds including individual tests, the team round, and the guts round during a weekend-long competition held onsite in Boston twice a year.
The February competition is one of the most difficult math competitions in the United States for students who can comfortably and confidently solve at least 6 to 8 problems correctly on the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME) and write mathematical proofs.
Adults must register teams for the HMMT by submitting an application through the website’s online portal, and then teams will have to be selected through a lottery system in order to participate.
5. Math League
Over one million students in grades 4-12 participate in Math League exam contests each year. High school contests are administered six times per year and students compete both as individuals and as school-wide teams.
Problems draw on knowledge of the following areas: geometry, algebra, trigonometry, logarithms, series, sequences, exponents, roots, integers, real numbers, combinations, probability, coordinate geometry, and more. Calculus is not necessary to solve any problems.
If your school is not yet registered, you can encourage your school to purchase and administer exams on the competition date.
Date: June 1st (deadline)
Type: Local, state, and national
Trig-Star is a national competition that recognizes and awards students who excel in mathematics, specifically in the subject of trigonometry. Participants can compete in a local-level competition and the highest-scoring participants have the opportunity to be selected by the state to compete for the National Trig-Star title, for which they can receive monetary awards.
To participate, your school will need to have a Local Sponsor who can organize the examination on the competition date. If your school does not already have one, see if any school official will help get you involved.
Date: March 14th-27th
High school students grades 9th-12th are eligible for the Gauss competition held annually in March. Participants will complete a 75-minute examination with 25 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as algebra, counting, geometry, and number theory. Students can participate as individuals and can receive national recognition for their participation.
Unlike many of the other competitions on this list, the Pi Math Contests allows you to register outside of your school and allows parents/guardians to register their student as an individual on their website.
Dates: January 18th, 2023 – March 10th, 2023 (1st Round), May 13th, 2023 (Final Round)
Open for any student grades 4th-12th, MathCON is a nationwide nonprofit that has had over 250k students participate since being founded in 2008. It involves an online initial round, from which 628 finalists are selected to compete in-person in Chicago, IL for a final round examination.
Students can either register as individuals or with their schools, both done through their website.
Dates: December 2nd (deadline)
For students looking to apply their math skills to the real world, this nonprofit organization tasks 11th and 12th-grade students with designing their own mathematical model in response to a selected challenge or topic.
Top applicants will have a shot to compete for numerous scholarships by furthering their research project, culminating in one final project report for consideration. Students may compete as individuals or in teams of up to five students.
To register, teams just need an official Coach who can organize logistics and conduct the competition with them – coaches can be any adult above the age of 18. Once you have your team, coaches can register teams through the online portal.
Dates: February 11th, 2023 – March 3rd, 2023
Type: State, National
This competition offers high school students the chance to use their STEM skills to learn about the difference-making potential of engineering in a competitive format. The competition asks students to use their creative, problem-solving, and teamwork skills in a single-day, three-part contest where students will have to complete a 90-minute multiple-choice examination, write an essay, and design and build a solution to a real-world engineering challenge.
Similarly, each team must have an official team coach who can register the team and administer the competition on the official date.
How Do Math Competitions Affect My Admissions Chances?
While grades are of course a core part of any application, colleges are looking to see how a student applies their interests and skills – and math competitions such as those listed above are a great opportunity to do so.If you win an award or assume a leadership role, that will boost your admissions profile even further.
Extracurricular activities can be generally broken up into four tiers, with the highest tiers referring to a high amount of prestige and lower tiers falling into more general categories of extracurricular involvement.
Tier 1: This tier is reserved for extracurricular achievements at the highest level, such as receiving a national art award or national academic distinction.
Tier 2: This tier also encompasses major successes, but on a more regional, local, or school level. Examples include being student body president or making it to states with your debate team.
Tier 3: This tier refers to more common achievements or leadership roles, such as being JV soccer captain or making the most selective choir in your school.
Tier 4: General commitment in an extracurricular activity without any major achievements or distinctions would be recognized under this tier. Examples include being a member of a club or volunteering.
Generally, the higher the prestige of the math competition, the higher tier it would be considered in the eyes of an admissions committee. For instance, participating in the Americans Mathematics Competitions would fall under Tier 4, but winning a state title would qualify as Tier 1 or 2.
If you’re wondering where your extracurriculars fall in terms of the four tiers, check out CollegeVine’s free admissions calculator. You’ll be able to rank your extracurriculars and input your grades and test scores to see your odds of acceptance at over 1,500 schools. Your application ultimately doesn’t come down to which math competition you choose, as there are multiple sides to every applicant. That’s why it’s important to figure out how to emphasize your strengths and passions, which we help you do for free!