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How to Prepare?

How to prepare?

The best way to prepare is to practice, practice, practice. There are no real shortcuts to prepare for math competitions that involve problem solving. Solving problems from older tests can be very helpful and solving problems from Art of Problem Solving books can assist greatly as well. Most old contests can be found on the web or can be ordered from MAA websites for AMC competitions. Most of AMC contests including solutions can be found on Art of Problem Solving (AoPS) website. AoPS website has AMC 8, AMC 10, AMC 12, AIME and many many other competition problems. Practicing problems reinforces concepts. I also found that making mistakes and learning from them has helped me understand concepts much better.

Here are some basic tips:

  1. Don’t be discouraged if you cannot solve all the problems. As you practice more, over time, you will become better for sure. You have to start somewhere!
  2. There are almost always multiple ways to solve problems. You will learn the beauty of math and learn how to apply concepts better as you practice more.
  3. It is okay to get stuck. It happens to everyone. Come back the next day and try solving that problem again.
  4. There are many online courses, summer camps, classes during school years that can help you with new or advanced concepts.
  5. Most previous competitions have solutions online. Try to understand the solution when you cannot solve a problem. Even if you have solved a problem, see the solution as they may have solved it using different method.
  6. There is no shortage of problems or competitions that happen throughout the year. Start participating in one and slowly start participating in more.
  7. Check if your school has math club, math teams or other organizations that meet regularly and participate in individual or team competitions.
  8. Practice Practice Practice