In this article, you will learn about:

**1. Why the AMC is more important than the SAT**

**2. How the AMC can help you get into the Ivy Leagues**

**3. What is the AMC**

**1. Why the AMC is more important than the SAT**

If you’re serious about the Ivy Leagues/top US colleges, esp. top STEM schools such as MIT, Caltech and Stanford, you should be focused as much on the AMCs as you are on the SATs. If fact, we think the AMC is more important.

The SAT doesn’t differentiate students very well. It behooves college board to increase the number of students who take the SAT, there is already an inflationary bias built in. Let’s look at the numbers:

The number of students who took the SAT in 2019: 8.3 million students – a 10% increase from the previous year. The class of 2020 is the largest cohort in SAT history. So, if you scored in the top 1% of test-takers last year, you would 1 of 83,000 students. And the numbers are likely to continue going up.

However, the AMC is run by the **Mathematical Association of America**; a non-profit managed by volunteer mathematicians. They care about preserving the integrity and quality of the test, seeking to challenge students. So, there is a strong deflationary bias built in. Let’s look at the numbers:

The number of students who took the AMC 12 this past year: 44,915. In 2019, the AMC 12 had 57,939 test-takers. And in 2018, there were 55,833 test-takers for the AMC 12. Not many and they’re not increasing. The MAA also regularly increases the difficulty of the tests some years to keep the passing threshold tight. So, if you make it to the AIME, you’re in the top 5% or 1 of only 2,245 students.

So, what will demonstrate academic excellence to the admissions officers at MIT more, being 1 of 73,000 students or 1 or 2,245? MIT usually has about 20,000 applicants a year, so you can bet that having the best SAT score will NOT make you stand out.

**2. How the AMC can help you get into the Ivy Leagues**

Another reason the AMC is so important is that the top schools now explicitly ask for AMC scores (not required).

Here are screen shots of the Caltech application:

The second image is a screen shot of the entire page where they have a section for AIME scores as well.

Here is the MIT application form:

In addition, you can highlight your AMC accomplishments in the Activities section of the application and also include them in your essays. And there are lots of essays to write!

**3. What is the AMC?**

The American Mathematics Competition (AMC) is the first in a series of competitions to determine the US representative team for the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO).

The AMC 8 is for students in grades 8 and below

The AMC 10 is for students in grades 10 and below

The AMC 12 is for students in grades 12 and below

So high school students would be focused on AMC 10 and 12. However, most of the students who score well tend to start in the 6th grade with the AMC 8.

If you score well, you make it to the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME). To catch the eyes of admissions officers at MIT and Caltech, you’ll need to make it this far and score well on the AIME.

For real math superstars, a top score on both the AMC and AIME will lead to an qualification status for the United States of America Mathematical Olympiad (USAMO). If you are an International student, you cannot participate on the US team, but you can still get the USAMO qualification, which will really set you apart on your college applications.

**References:**

- The Big Value of Middle School Math Competitions
- Great Benefits of Math Competitions
- A Little Competition can Inspire Students to Greater Achievement
- Why Math Competitions are so Important to Girls?
- Mathematics competitions are NOT mysterious, and every student can attend them! — 数学竞赛绝非神秘，每个学生都可参加！
- Girls should attend math competitions — 女生更应参加数学竞赛
- 2020 AIME Qualifiers Announced — 82 Students Qualified for the AIME
- Warmest congratulations to Isabella Z. and Zipeng L. for being accepted into the Math Olympiad Program!
- 365-hour Project to Qualify for the AIME through the AMC 10/12 Contests
- American Mathematics Contest 10 (AMC 10)
- American Mathematics Contest 12 — AMC 12
- Every Student Should Take Both the AMC 10A/12A and 10 B/12B!
- List of Mathematics Competitions
- Math Competitions
- Math Kangaroo Contest
- Mathcounts — Challenging Students to Achieve in Math!
- Notable Achievements of Our Students
- Premier National Mathematics Competition — AMC 8
- Students Can Easily Qualify for the AIME Through the AMC 12 During 11th and 12th Grade
- This Year It Was Much Easier to Qualify for the AIME Through the AMC 12A Than Through the AMC 10A

Click ** HERE** find out more about Math Competitions!

Click ** HERE** to find out more about SAT Prep!