# MathCounts

Hey, guys. I'm a seventh grader who has competed in MC in both sixth and seventh grade. In sixth grade, I finished with a 37/46 in chapter. In 7th grade, I got a 38/46 in chapter, but our school team got first place, so I was able to go to states. At states I finished with a 27/46. I had a 17 on sprint and a 10 on target. I find that on Sprint, I can almost never get through more than 20 problems, mostly because there isn't enough time. I do practice tests and the same thing happens. If I was given unlimited time, I would be able to correctly answer anywhere from 25-28 problems, but time is killing me. How can I get faster? I try and manage my time well, but never seem to answer enough problems.

Note by Varun Gupta
7 months, 1 week ago

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As a former MathCounts competitor, I can definitely relate with not having enough time to answer all the questions. Often times, it really just comes down to having seen similar problems during practice. So, my advice to you is to practice as much as you can. Do as many Sprint rounds as possible, and when you've exhausted them, look for problems from AMC 8, MOEMS, Math Kangaroo, Purple Comet, etc. You can also look at websites like Art of Problem Solving or even Brilliant for more practice and help. The goal, as I've mentioned, is to be able to identify common problem formats and how to approach each one.

Memorizing basic numerical facts (e.g. perfect squares, common Pythagorean triples) can also help you greatly, especially for the earlier Sprint round problems and the Countdown round (if you manage to get there). I'd advise against using all your prep time for memorization, though, since problem solving is still a core component of the competition.

If you have any other questions or concerns, feel free to let me know! $$\ddot \smile$$

- 7 months ago

I feel like I know how to do a lot more math than is necessary for the first 20. It just takes me FOREVER to figure out how to approach a problem. And on Target, I made two silly mistakes this year. I could've easily gotten a 14, had I just been more careful.

- 7 months ago

That's why you do more and more problems. You're training yourself to recognize how to approach these kinds of problems, what tricks can be used, shortcuts that can be taken, etc. It doesn't matter how much you know if you can't apply it to solve the problem.

Regarding the "silly mistakes," do you mean mistakes in your working out, mistakes in writing the answer, or some other mistakes?

- 7 months ago

I just make careless mistakes, in the sense that I fail to notice key details in solving these problems (in under 3 min), as well as making errors that are caused due to pure error in the computation/execution.

- 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Well, one of the mistakes was a pure mistake that I just missed. I forgot that the test was without replacement, so when I calculated the probability, I was wrong (#2). On #6, the question was along the lines of "Two lines have slopes m and n and intersect at the origin. The line y = mx bisects the angle created by these two lines. M + n = 2√65. What is m - n?" It didn't ask for a form, meaning that it had to be an integer. Seeing as 2√65 is less than 17, but more than 16, and one of the slopes had to be less than 1, the answer was 16.

- 6 months, 3 weeks ago