My maiden experience with USA(J)MO

The United States of America Mathematical Olympiad (USAMO) is a proof based competition that is held annually in the United States. This competition has served as the final round of the AMC series of contests and the scores are used to determine further qualifications leading up to selection of USA team for the International Math Olympiad.

First, the qualification scores for USAMO were very high this time (relatively) and were split based on A and B exams as well as two AIME exams. Only 500 students qualified across the country for USAMO and USAJMO. The scores imply that one has to score high both on AMCs (120-130) and AIME (10+) to qualify for USA(J)MO exams. It is tough to determine how many girls qualified as gender data is not available, however, historically the number has been 7-10% of the total qualifiers.

AIME I based Qualifications

  • USAMO cutoff: 225(AMC 12A), 235(AMC 12B)
  • USAJMO cutoff: 224.5(AMC 10A), 233(AMC 10B)

AIME II based Qualifications

  • USAMO cutoff: 221(AMC 12A), 230.5(AMC 12B)
  • USAJMO cutoff: 219(AMC 10A), 225(AMC 10B)

This exam was intense for me. It is a  two day, 9 hours exam (split in two individual 4.5 hour sessions) that is organized at a particular time across the country which means you end up missing most of your school classes. You get 3 questions each day and it took me more than two hours to solve the first problem on Day 1 and 3 hours to solve 5th problem on the second day. I had very little experience preparing for such an exam but have heard that taking courses offered by AoPS definitely help out.

Each problem is worth 6 points and maximum score is 42. The average for JMO was 13.3 and for AMO was 11.8 with some students scoring zero.

There are many different ways to prepare for this test. This is a good link for more information. Overall, it was a great experience for me to do proofs which is helpful for some other college math competitions as well.


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