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# Self-improvement on MAA Tests.

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Note by Finn Hulse
2 years, 5 months ago

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MAA plays with my feelings so hard. What you don't want to do is plow through all the past AMC tests on AoPS. I basically got really confident with scores of 130-40 ish region and got really excited. Two nights before I took a 2013 and got 90 something (drop from at the beginning of the year). They get easier the farther back you go, even if you qualified back then :( I took more and didn't qualify and missed qualies on the real thing by arithmetic error. After moping I tried my luck with chemistry before coming to Brilliant and returning to math. I learned at that time to study for these contests correctly.

The others are right: get a book, go to a math camp, and sign up for a regional class. Looking at your posts on Brilliant, it might make you feel better that I cannot solve a single one of them, so I'm going to assume you make a bunch of silly mistakes under pressure. For me, it's my handwriting and organization, which I learned to fold my scratchpaper before tests (eh it works for some). I don't really know, I'm not a doctor. But it is really important to collaborate, hear other people's ideas and approaches. I got friends to do NIMO together which was really fun and learned tricks. Brilliant appears to be diffusing this quite nicely.

One of the reasons I was nervous during AMC 10 was because of my anticipation of it. Because I poured 30+ hours of my life taking these tests, I was under huge pressure during the real contest. One of the ways that you can avoid wasting the last 35 minutes is to not put such high expectations on results. But hey, I can't really give advice seeing as I fail at these tests too but from lack of discipline. · 2 years, 5 months ago

Welcome to my life dude! Yeah I feel you about getting really nervous after spending 400+ hours preparing. I was almost in tears when I got my AMC 10 scores back. It was so disappointing. D; · 2 years, 5 months ago

Er ok I would say that if you want to get better at math competitions for your level, don't do brilliant, but read the AoPS textbooks (especially the classic 2 volumes and the introductory series). Also, do lots of practice tests. I don't know what you mean by "AoPS and Brilliant only goes so far," but aops definitely prepares for Olympiad level tests and beyond. · 2 years, 5 months ago

Yeah. I've read The Basics and Beyond by AoPS. How can I fully take advantage of AoPS though? I haven't really figured out how to get from place to place on it, and stuff like that. Also, are you following me? · 2 years, 5 months ago

uh I got an email saying I was mentioned in a comment so yeah Do lots of practice problems from those books, and if you're stuck, reread that section. For mathcounts, also look at competition math for middle schoolers by jason batterson, if you're still preparing for that. And when you do practice tests, look at the problems you got wrong, read the solutions, and figure out where you went wrong. If you do all this, you should definitely improve. · 2 years, 5 months ago

CMMS is really helpful up to early/mid aime. · 2 years, 5 months ago

Thanks Michael! Also, do you do MathZoom? I might do it next summer so it'd be cool to see a fellow Brilliantic there. :D · 2 years, 5 months ago

MathZoom? What's that? · 2 years, 5 months ago

Summer camp. :D · 2 years, 5 months ago

I went there 4 years ago but no · 2 years, 5 months ago

Oh okay cool. :D · 2 years, 5 months ago

I see four possibilities: either you should get faster (AoPS FTW might help), or you are bad under pressure (does this come with practice? not sure as I'm usually good on written tests), or you have bad strategy (maybe see my other post, although making your own strategy is good), or you just need more knowledge (which seems less likely but competitions can test the same things over and over (practice tests might help). Could you provide insight into which of these is right (or if it's something else)?

Also, do you have anyone else as interested in math at your school or that you know? I think that this helps for reinforcement along with more enjoyment. · 2 years, 5 months ago

You are correct. I am terrible under pressure, and otherwise, pretty awesome. For example, I scored 17/46 at State MC. Took it again at home, and got a 41. To put this in perspective, the guy who beat you on CD last year, @Franklyn Wang, scored a 44/46. Another example. On AMC 10 B I scored 78/150. Took the A at home, finished in 50 minutes and scored a 139.5. I have the ability to solve almost any problem I am given, my knowledge is not what's lacking. My strategy for AMC's and MATHCOUNTS at home is to do this. First, I read over all problems, then I answer ones I know, circling the ones that are tough. I go back through, and weed out the ones that I can solve, but are more challenging. Then, I spend 5 minutes on each of the toughies, there's usually 3-6 of those ones.

On the actual thing, I answered all problems, guessing on the ones I didn't know, which means I didn't get any points for unanswered questions. Then, I sat through the remaining 35 minutes staring at my paper and chewing my fingernails.

As for practice, I've done all AMC 8's and 10's, as well as some 12's. Keep in mind also that this is a guy who has a 2180 rating in Number Theory. Just out of curiosity, what' yours? · 2 years, 5 months ago

Is franklyn's name " the guy who beat you on CD last year"? just making sure. if not, stop calling him that. · 2 years, 5 months ago

lol I boosted all my ratings a while back when the system worked so you could, it's 3005, doesn't really mean anything though.

I also always guess on AMC 10's. Doing ALL of the AMC 8's and 10's is a lot, I never did close to that, but it probably helps.

I think FTW might help with pressure (I did FTW for hours in a row for like a week, then barely ever again). However, I'm not really sure as I haven't had this problem. When I'm in a test, I get too absorbed into the problems to do any thinking that makes me nervous, like thinking "oh no I'm doing so bad so far!" How does the pressure affect you? Do you think thoughts like that, does it stop you from thinking, or something else?

I would guess your strategy works fine if it works at home. · 2 years, 5 months ago

Wait who are u on AoPS? · 2 years, 5 months ago

Sorry not revealing. · 2 years, 5 months ago

It's ok, just checking · 2 years, 5 months ago

My thought process is

"Holy crap holy crap holy crap... what does that even mean? Holy crap holy crap etc. I do FTW too and the same thing happens. My rating is like, 1085 which is pretty terrible. · 2 years, 5 months ago

Ah. Well, try not to overemphasize the importance of the contests and especially FTW, and maybe change your mindset. · 2 years, 5 months ago

Seconded. The others at chat are like WTF you're so good what happened to your rating? · 2 years, 5 months ago

My rating? · 2 years, 5 months ago

to me · 2 years, 5 months ago

Oh yeah by the way dude what was that 867 page paper Akshaj wrote? I didn't see it and I can't find the comment. · 2 years, 5 months ago

Dude, those contests are my life. I just suck at them. D: · 2 years, 5 months ago

@Xuming Liang I see you've done lots of AMC's. Any tips? Thanks! :D · 2 years, 5 months ago

about your status: and there is no such thing called "Pressure" ... · 2 years, 5 months ago

?? · 2 years, 5 months ago

Sarcasm · 2 years, 5 months ago

If you sometimes panic while taking the tests, you really should change that. In one competition I scored a 90/100, the next year I panicked and scored 34/100 :( · 2 years, 5 months ago

Stop doing plan plan plan, that wastes time. If you are motivated, just work work work work. The work work work work pays off. And @someone who seems to look at countdown webcasts till 2005 u should look at a BUNCH of math jam transcripts http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/School/mathjams.php?past=1 · 2 years, 5 months ago

It makes me feel good at math to memorize the names of all MC competitors and to memorize scores of IMO participants! I know it's lame and not helpful, but whatever. · 2 years, 5 months ago

@Aayush Gupta @Daniel Liu @Franklyn Wang @Akshaj Kadaveru @David Lee @Michael Kural And any others who have done well on AMC's! I need your help! :D · 2 years, 5 months ago

I came from a 72 to a 136.5 in 1 year from finishing the problems in Vol. 1 and Geometry Challenge Problems in roughly 2 months. This determination gets someone such a high score. · 2 years, 5 months ago

This also helps for mathcounts. WHY AM I MENTIONED I KNOW TONS OF PEOPLE WHO GOT LIKE 144/145.5/150 OR WHATEVER ;) · 2 years, 5 months ago

Who? · 2 years, 5 months ago

I dont have their permission to post their names. · 2 years, 5 months ago

Maybe you should try to do even more, because this years was killer easy for A. Try taking A at home, and see what you get. I only got 127.5 on A, i wanted to reduce any chances of making mistakes. This is also a good idea for AMC 10 for someone like @Finn Hulse , and go free for all on AIME. · 2 years, 5 months ago

and try some AoPS classes too. This helps a lot. AoPS is the reason why i did so well. remember,AoPS is not just a website. · 2 years, 5 months ago

Too much money, and I don't have any time. :P · 2 years, 5 months ago

What activities do you participate in? · 2 years, 5 months ago

Umm... nothing. :D · 2 years, 5 months ago

brilliant doesnt really help for ≤AMC10/12. · 2 years, 5 months ago

Maybe. But any type of math really will keep your mind sharp. · 2 years, 5 months ago

Yeah but dude you were in 4th grade. I didn't learn my multiplication tables until 5th grade. And even still I can't remember anything higher than $$12 \times 12$$. :P · 2 years, 5 months ago

Go to here, click on the AMC test you want to prepare for, and do the problems, starting from the earliest to the latest. Sorry there isn't any quick and easy way to improve, you just have to keep on doing more and more problems.

On an unrelated note, do you make all your problems? · 2 years, 5 months ago

I don't think so · 2 years, 5 months ago

Umm your link isn't working. Oh are you showing him that TST problem? Oh yeah that's not original. :D · 2 years, 5 months ago

I've done all the AMC 8's, 10's, and some of the 12's. I usually get in the 120's-130's depending on the year for 10's, and 22-25 for the 8's. I get in the 50's-110's for the AMC 12's. That's all good and well. And then I go and actually take the test and freak out. :P · 2 years, 5 months ago

I often scour really old Vietnamese math journals for inspiration. A lot of my number theory problems are based off of principles from those journals. But yeah I also modify problems from other sources. Why? · 2 years, 5 months ago

One thing that I think I regret not doing is not being intimidated by really challenging problems. A lot of problems have taught me a significant amount, but some questions are just routine exercises. So now that it is summer, have fun, but also remember what you ultimately want to do. If you don't like mathematics, its a good time (if you are in eighth grade) to contemplate if you want to continue doing mathematics competitions. Honestly, I disagree with doing problems over and over again. If you really want to improve quickly, what I did was looking at problems in a set, and weeding out problems I couldn't do. I would spend a lot of time on these problems, and I would keep a running problems of the week. I am now on my 246th problem of the week, and they are the questions ( 5 per week) that I would spend every spare moment trying to solve om a week. Also, remember that performing well on math contests is just how other people gauge your performance, and is not indicative of how good you really are. So don't be discouraged if this strict regimen doesn't pay off, cause it eventually will. Part of being a great mathlete is being able to accept failure. · 2 years, 5 months ago

NEver seen u on brilliant befor EDIT: pardon my spelling · 2 years, 5 months ago

Hi Franklyn. It's been quite a long time since you've been active on Brilliant. $$\ddot\smile$$ · 2 years, 5 months ago

Also, just FYI, I have you and @Daniel Chiu as my wallpaper and have had it for some time. It's my inspiration every day to get better. Which I proceed to fail at. D: · 2 years, 5 months ago

What the heck man :D · 2 years, 5 months ago

I know. They're like my heroes. The picture is the one from the CD round at 2013 Nationals. :O · 2 years, 5 months ago

Still thats kinda weird, why them two specifically (no offense to either of you)? · 2 years, 5 months ago

Thanks Franklyn! I saw you at States and you are freaking boss. How did you do at Nationals? I was expecting to see you pwning in the top 12 for CD round! I'm super happy I finally can talk to you! :D Akshaj is a little harder to get to, though. Thanks for the advice. The thing about me is that no matter how well I CAN do on practice tests, I can't ever do even half as well when I'm stressed. For example, I retook the State MC tests and scored 41. Keep in mind that I got a 17 while I was there. I liked what you said about keeping track of mistakes and hard problems. I think it was @Michael Tang who told me to do a similar thing. Thanks so much though! :D · 2 years, 5 months ago