Poly Students Qualify For Competitive Math Invitational

The Upper School Math department is thrilled to share that three students, William W. '22, Jacob S. '22, and Jeffrey L. '24, recently qualified for the American Invitational Math Exam (AIME). Poly administered the American Math Competitions (AMC 10 and 12) in November with roughly the top 5% of scores nationally qualifying for the AIME.

“Having our students qualify for the AIME is like having a sports team qualify for CIF,” said Ye Dam Alicea, Upper School math teacher who supported the students in the testing process. “To me, it feels like it means something, that they are being recognized at a national level.”

The test is not aligned to any curriculum. It is considered competition math, which Ye Dam considers “its own beast.” One does not need to understand any kind of high level math to take the test, anyone knowing Algebra 1 or 2 could complete the questions, but one needs to use math to problem solve in really creative ways.

The AMC is a 25-question multiple choice exam for 75 minutes. One receives six points for every right answer, one and half points for blank answers, and no points for wrong answers. Very few students can solve all the questions and 10 correct answers is considered very impressive.

“The AIME is 15 problems and three hours. I told the students if you get one right that’s an accomplishment, and it is not multiple choice,” said Ye Dam.

Though extremely challenging, the AMC and AIME allows students to think about math in creative ways. The Poly Math department looks forward to administering the test in future years to challenge and excite students.