Last week I participated in Math Prize for Girls at MIT in Cambridge, MA for the first time. 280 girls from US and Canada participate in this annual competition which is organized by the Advantage Testing Foundation. The qualification is based on the scores of the AMC10/AMC12 competitions offered by MAA and qualification typically requires that you score a few points more than the score required for AIME qualification.
It was a very well-organized event. Girls traveled from all over the country and Canada, and there was a session hosted by the MIT Admissions Office on the day before the contest, which was very informative. This was followed by a fun game night full of activities and food.
The contest was in the morning, and the registration process was very smooth. It is nice to look around the room and see so many amazing girls whose heads are down trying to solve math problems. There are 20 problems and you get 150 minutes to solve them. The problems are very hard and challenging. I found them harder than the AIME exam I took in March this year.
There are scores of volunteers and many students from MIT who help put this event together. After the exam in the morning, lunch is provided to all the contestants. The award ceremony was very inspirational. There were fun and inspirational talks from the alumnae who are now studying at MIT. Dr. Radhika Nagpal gave a talk on collective artificial intelligence, which was brilliant and something I have never thought of. She is currently a professor of Computer Science at the Harvard school of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
Overall, the contest was fun, informational, and inspirational. There have been some articles about the effectiveness of such competitions. However, I can tell you that there is nothing more amazing than being surrounded by girls who share the same interests and passions who encourage each other. I also made so many new friends by being part of this competition.