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A MathCounts Experience Question

Hey guys,

This Wednesday I took the Sprint round of the School round. It was fairly hard, since many geometry concepts were not known to me. So I thought, if the School is that hard, then how about Chapter, State, and Nationals? So my question to you is, is MathCounts easy/hard and why? Do you need to know anything special? Or is it just challenging problems? Any tips? Please also tell me what type of competition (eg. Chapter), and the latest subject learnt (eg. Geometry, Linear Alg.) Any help and tips is appreciated!

Note by Kevin Mo
2 years, 9 months ago

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Agh I was typing up something and then lost it, partially because this new system means you can click outside the window and close it, and the popup means your work doesn't come back.

Background on me: I was 6th place written at national Mathcounts last year (unfortunately the countdown didn't go that well), and Oregon having two top 12's gave us 4th place (we should have done better except due to the other two individual scores). I was taking precalculus, although I don't think which class is very important. The previous year, I was 8th at state (and it wasn't really because we had good people who graduated). I improved a lot over one year through the following (mostly #3 in my opinion):

  1. Make sure you have the knowledge required. By this I mean there should be few problems such that there is a concept or theorem required that you simply do not know. If you are weak in geometry, study it. I would not recommend a standard geometry textbook, rather a competition book, like those of the Art of Problem Solving.

  2. Do a lot of problems. Mathcounts tends to repeat the same ideas many times. Doing lots of problems can help you see which ideas Mathcounts emphasizes. This will help you quickly see the correct approach to a problem, and improves both speed and accuracy.

  3. Work a step up. Do problems from competitions of a higher difficulty level than the competition you are targeting. If this is nationals, work on AIME problems. This is the main thing I think helped me do well in Mathcounts.

Daniel Chiu · 2 years, 9 months ago

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@Daniel Chiu Thank you! The School Target round is coming next week, so I will follow your tips this weekend. Thanks again! Kevin Mo · 2 years, 9 months ago

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@Daniel Chiu (Regarding the technical issue -- I hadn't thought about that problem. We will try to figure out a way to automatically save what you are typing in a comment and solution boxes...) Silas Hundt Staff · 2 years, 9 months ago

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@Silas Hundt Oops that just happened to me too .-. and I also had a long post :-( William Cui · 2 years, 9 months ago

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@William Cui Dang. We'll figure out a way to save your half-finished comment for at least a little while. Silas Hundt Staff · 2 years, 9 months ago

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@Silas Hundt Yeah, I emailed you guys about fixing that. I really don't like not having a full window for these problems. They deserve their own screen, and when you click "Open in full window", it creates a whole new window (seeing as it says "open in full window".). It's really annoying and aesthetically repulsive. Finn Hulse · 2 years, 9 months ago

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@Finn Hulse Well, when I click it a get a new tab, which is fine for me. Does it open in a new window for you? Daniel Chiu · 2 years, 9 months ago

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@Daniel Chiu Yeah... It sucks. I crashed my computer twice. Finn Hulse · 2 years, 9 months ago

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@Finn Hulse Please email me at silas@brilliant.org.

(The reason we built it was so that people didn't lose their place in a feed.) Silas Hundt Staff · 2 years, 9 months ago

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Definitely go on Art of Problem Solving. Do it. Watch their Mathcounts Minis. Something I've found helpful is whenever you see a problem and you say "Aw crap, I'll never solve this! This is so hard!" don't say that. Your outlook on these problems should be "Eh, let's do some math", not hyperventilating about how hard they are! Finn Hulse · 2 years, 9 months ago

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Just Practice a lot Xuanyi Wang · 2 years, 9 months ago

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MathCounts is definitely not a competition like the AMCs. For most questions, especially for sprint, time is key. Last year, I prepared a lot on speed, and I did really well on Sprint Round. However, my target round scores were...not as good as the sprint round. So, I've been focusing more on harder problems to do better on target, along with more preparation for AMCs and other competition of sorts.

But to me, MathCounts is basically all about speed (you still need to get the problems right, though, not just do it fast). After this, you could work on polishing up on hard math techniques/skills/etc. Hahn Lheem · 2 years, 9 months ago

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