AHS Students Qualify for American Invitational Mathematics Exam


Sophia Li, Staff Writer

Sponsored by the New York Metropolitan Section of the Mathematics Association of America (MAA), the American Mathematics Competition (AMC) program first originated in 1950, where the first mathematical contest took place. The exam was given in approximately 200 schools and about 6,000 students in the New York area only. Now, over 300,000 students across 4,000 schools compete in the AMC annually. 

Of these students, only a few highly competitive students are able to score in the top 5% in the nation, as this test is extremely challenging. From here on out, these qualifying students received an invitation to compete on Feb. 8 for the next round, called the American Invitational Mathematics Exam.

This year, six Arcadia High School (AHS) students qualified in the American Invitational Mathematics Exam. These students are sophomore Hugo Fang; junior Joshua Sujo; and seniors Jeshwanth Mohan, Selena Zhang, Ruth Berkun, and Sonia Zhang. Competing in a mathematics competition, it comes with no surprise that all of these students are also in AHS’ Math Team. 

“I can’t say I was surprised to find out I placed that high because it is very easy to calculate your score and get an idea of where you are. However, during the test, I was surprised to be doing as well as I did because of my previous experiences taking the AMC,” senior Selena Zhang stated. 

“Being on the math team helped prepare me for the best, since we go over some concepts, although because of the limited time, it’s more of an introductory level, so one would need to spend more time out of meetings to really get a good understanding of those topics. Also, the math team has a lot of useful resources that are helpful. For this test, I just practiced and looked at problems. I also spent some time learning theorems,” senior Sonia Zhang stated.

However, their passion for math didn’t begin in high school, as excelling well in such a rigorous competition came with years of experience. 

“I started doing math at a young age, when my grandpa would teach us through Chinese math competition prep books, and I’d always enjoyed it. For me, doing these types of competitions was a chance to work on learning better logic and thought process, which I think helps you get better at learning things in general, and it was just really fun,” Sonia Zhang added. 

“When I was in elementary school, I went to an after school that exposed me to competitive math, and I’m incredibly grateful to have discovered this treasure at such an early age,” Selena Zhang, Sonia’s twin sister, also added. 

While it can be difficult at times, as math is very precise and usually has definite answers, many of the students have found joy in delving deeper in understanding the subject. Like anything, there are always topics that one feels more comfortable solving and ones that pose challenges. Zhang likes to solve geometry problems as well as complex number problems. 

“Solving geometry problems brings me satisfaction because there’s almost always a really elegant solution, and it is really satisfying to solve. I’ve also come to enjoy complex number problems since that’s one of the concepts I’ve been working on recently so there’s also a lot of satisfaction from getting those. I don’t really enjoy probability questions, because those can get pretty complicated with the number of cases although I might just be approaching them the wrong way,” Sonia Zhang shared.


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