What Is The AMC Math Test? (11 Things To Know)


If you are a junior high or high school student who enjoys math and problem solving, then the AMC Math tests might be for you.  These exams give you a chance to show your knowledge and provide a challenge that can also result in rewards and recognition.

So, what is the AMC Math test?  The AMC Math Test is a competition designed to encourage an interest in mathematics, develop problem solving abilities, and identify talented students.  The AMC 8 is for students up to 8th grade, the AMC 10 is for students up to 10th grade, and the AMC 12 is for students up to 12th grade.

Of course, there are ways to prepare for these exams if you want to do well and compete at the national level.  If you score well on the AMC 10 or AMC 12, you will be invited to participate in the AIME (more on this later).

In this article, we’ll talk about the AMC Math tests, what it is, and how it is scored.  We’ll also take a look at some ways to prepare for the AMC Math tests.

Let’s get started.

What Is The AMC Math Test?

The AMC Math tests are multiple choice exams that test mathematics, logic, and problem solving ability.  There are three different levels of the AMC Math tests:

  • AMC 8: for students up to 8th grade (under 14.5 years of age)
  • AMC 10: for students up to 10th grade (under 17.5 years of age)
  • AMC 12: for students up to 12th grade (under 19.5 years of age)

The AMC Math tests cover concepts covered in high school, including trigonometry, algebra, and geometry (but no calculus).

You can learn more about which math courses to take in high school in my article here.

multiple choice test
The AMC 8, 10, and 12 exams all involve 25 multiple choice questions that test concepts from high school mathematics.

If you score well enough on the AMC 10 (top 2.5%) or the AMC 12 (top 5%), you will receive an invitation to take the AIME (more on this later).

What Does AMC 8 Stand For?

AMC 8 stands for “American Mathematics Contest 8”.  This is a mathematics contest for students in grades 8 and below who are 14.5 years of age or younger.

The Mathematical Association of America (MAA) produces the AMC 8 exam questions every year and distributes the exam to schools and organizations.

These organizations administer the exam to qualified students who have registered by the deadline.

There are also two other grade levels besides the AMC 8:

  • AMC 10: for students in grades 10 or below who are 17.5 years of age or younger
  • AMC 12: for students in grades 12 or below who are 19.5 years of age or younger

Why Take The AMC Test?

The AMC test is meant to get students interested in mathematics and encourage the development of strong problem solving ability.  It also provides an opportunity to compete with other students in the U.S. and around the world.

You can also stay on top of the curriculum and meet classmates who are interested in mathematics.

algebra 2
Studying for the AMC Math Tests is a great way to brush up on your math knowledge and make your college application more attractive.

Many colleges will look favorably on participation and high scores on the AMC tests.  So, taking the AMC can help with college admissions, especially for competitive schools.

Can I Use A Calculator On AMC?

You cannot use a calculator on any of the AMC Math exams.  The AMC 8, AMC 10, and AMC 12 exams all forbid the use of any type of calculator during the entire exam.

calculator
No calculators are allowed on any of the AMC exams.

Is The AMC Test Free?

The AMC Test is free if your host does not charge any fee.  Often, public schools will not charge a fee to register for the AMC test.

In some cases, you may need to pay a registration fee to your host.

For a host, the AMC Test price is $2.70 per participant (packaged in bundles of 10).

Is The AMC Test Hard?

The AMC Test is hard because it challenges you to solve problems that you are not accustomed to seeing.

Although you will learn the necessary concepts in high school, you must apply them in new ways to solve the more difficult AMC exam problems.

The AMC 12 is the most challenging test, followed by the AMC 10.  Consider this: you only need a top 5% score on the AMC 12 to qualify for AIME, but you need a top 2.5% score on the AMC 10 to qualify.

Of course, the AMC 8 is the most approachable of the 3 exams.

How Do I Study For AMC?

The best ways to study for the AMC are to:

  • Study hard in your math classes and master the material.
  • Take timed practice tests from prior years and review the answers.
  • Join a math club or league at your school or in your town to learn with other students.
math test
Taking practice tests is one of the best ways to prepare for any exam, and the AMC Math Tests are no exception.

How To Study For AMC 8

To study for the AMC 8, learn the following topics:

  • Counting (combinatorics)
  • Probability
  • Estimation
  • Proportional reasoning
  • Elementary geometry (such as the Pythagorean Theorem for right triangles)
  • Spatial visualization
  • Applications of Mathematics (such as word problems)
  • Reading and interpreting graphs and tables
  • Linear functions
  • Linear equations
  • Quadratic functions
  • Quadratic equations
  • Coordinate geometry
studying math
It will take careful study of several math topics to prepare for the AMC Math tests.

You can find some AMC 8 practice problems on the MAA website.

You can find released exams from the AMC here.

You can also purchase AMC 8 preparation materials from the MAA website.

How To Study For AMC 10

To study for the AMC 10, study the topics listed above for the AMC 8, and study past exams.

You can find some AMC 10 practice problems on the MAA website.

You can find released exams from the AMC here.

You can also purchase AMC 10 preparation materials from the MAA website.

How To Study For AMC 12

To study for the AMC 12, study the topics listed above for the AMC 8, in addition to the following topics:

The best way to practice as you learn the material is to study past exams.

You can find some AMC 12 practice problems on the MAA website.

You can find released exams from the AMC here.

You can also purchase AMC 12 preparation materials from the MAA website.

How Long Is The AMC Test?

The AMC 8 test is 40 minutes long.  There are 25 questions, so you have 96 seconds (1.6 minutes) per question.

The AMC 10 and AMC 12 are both 75 minutes long.  There are 25 questions, so you have 180 seconds (3 minutes) per question.

math practice problems
The AMC Math Tests are fast-paced, giving you only a few minutes per question.

These tests are fast-paced, so you need to know the material well to succeed!

How Is AMC Scored?

The AMC 8 is scored differently from the AMC 10 and AMC 12.  See below for more detailed information on exam scoring.

How Is AMC 8 Scored?

The AMC 8 is scored as the number of questions answered correctly.  Each question has equal weight, and there is no penalty for incorrect answers.

There are 25 multiple choice questions, to be completed in 40 minutes.  So, the maximum score is 25, and the lowest possible score is 0.

For example, if a student answers 12 out of 25 questions correctly, 8 incorrectly, and leaves 5 blank, he would score a 12: one point for each of the correct 12 questions (regardless of whether the other 13 questions were incorrect or left blank).

How Is AMC 10 Scored?

The AMC 10 is scored as follows:

  • 6 points for a correct answer
  • 1.5 points for a blank answer
  • 0 points for an incorrect answer

The points awarded for blank answers are meant to discourage students from guessing if they have no idea how to solve a problem.

There are 25 multiple choice questions, to be completed in 75 minutes.  So, the maximum score is 150, and the lowest possible score is 0.

For example, if a student answers 12 questions correctly, 8 incorrectly, and left 5 blank, he would score 12(6) + 8(0) + 5(1.5) = 79.5.

How Is AMC 12 Scored?

The AMC 12 is scored the same way as the AMC 10 (see above).

What Is A Good Score On The AMC?

A good score on the AMC puts you in the top 5% of test takers for that year.  Since the exam scoring and level of competition varies between AMC 8 and AMC 10/12, a good score is different for each test.

What Is A Good Score On The AMC 8?

A good score on the AMC is 18 or higher out of 25 possible points.  This score would put you in the top 5% of test takers (this can vary by year).

A score of 21 or higher out of 25 possible points is an excellent score, and it would put you in the top 1% of test takers (this can vary by year).

What Is A Good Score On The AMC 10?

A good score on the AMC is 100 to 115 or higher out of 150 possible points.  This score would put you in the top 2.5% of test takers (this can vary by year).

What Is A Good Score On The AMC 12?

A good score on the AMC is 85 to 95 or higher out of 150 possible points.  This score would put you in the top 5% of test takers (this can vary by year).

What Happens If You Do Well On The AMC?

If you do well on the AMC 8, you can receive awards and certificates.  If you score in the top 5%, you are on the Honor Roll, and if you score in the top 1%, you are on the Distinguished Honor Roll.

A high score on the AMC 8 should also encourage you to prepare for the AMC 10 (and later the AMC 12.)

If you do well on the AMC 10 or AMC 12, you will be invited to sit for the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME).

Generally, this invitation requires you to score in the top 2.5% score on the AMC 10 or the top 5% score on the AMC 12.

The AIME has 12 questions, to be completed in 3 hours.  Each question is worth one point for a correct answer, and 0 for an incorrect or blank answer.

If you do well on the AIME, you qualify for the United States Mathematical Olympiad.

Do Colleges Ask For AMC Scores?

Some colleges will ask if you have AMC scores to report.  However, the AMC is not required for application or admission.

college library
Colleges do not require AMC scores to apply or for admission, but a good score can help your application.

Still, taking the AMC test and logging a good score can make your application more attractive to colleges.  This is especially true if you are applying to STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

If you take the AMC but don’t score well, it is up to you whether to submit your score to colleges or not.

Conclusion

Now you know all about the AMC Math tests and how they are scored.  You also know about how to prepare for the exams during junior high and high school.

You might also consider joining a local (or virtual) math circle to hone your mathematical abilities – learn more in my article here.

If you are interested in online schools in Massachusetts, check out my article here.

If you would like to hire a math tutor, check out this article first.

I hope you found this article helpful.  If so, please share it with someone who can use the information.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel & get updates on new math videos!

~Jonathon

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