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How useful are the AMC and AIME for an MIT app?

NightNight Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
Hey all, math nerds and others. I figure if I post this on the MIT forum I have a decent chance that people will know what these tests are that I'm talking about :)

I remember being told that when applying to MIT there's a place on the app where they ask for AMC/AIME scores. Is this true? Is it true of any other schools, especially ones like Caltech and Carnegie Mellon? How much of an impact would a good or a really awesome score on the AMC have on your chances of getting in, compared to other scores like SAT, AP, etc.

This is for my school's MAΘ club- I need to decide how much I should pressure the sponsor and math department to help me get the school signed up for this test (and pay for it!). As we all have a full AP curiculum on our plates already I don't think any of our kids (including me) would have the time/materials to study for the test. Is it still worth a shot? I took the AMC in 9th grade and did qualify for the AIME, I think my final score was a 110-ish, so how likely would I be to get a competitive score today?

The last time we had a decent math sponsor was when I was in 9th grade (I'm now a junior) and I really don't remember much about the test. There are a few questions I couldn't find answers to on the AMC website:
- What would be a GOOD score on the AMC/AIME? Competitive w/ other kids applying to MIT and similar.
- Is there any benefit to signing up for both the A and B AMC tests? If you get a qualifying score on one and not on the other, do you still qualify for the AIME?

Please, help me out with this. Thanks so much!
Post edited by Night on

Replies to: How useful are the AMC and AIME for an MIT app?

  • texas137texas137 Registered User Posts: 2,143 Senior Member
    doing well in math competitions is one way to show interest and aptitude for math, although certainly not the only way. Many gifted mathematicians have no interest in competing, and instead show their passion through research or advanced courses.

    AMC, and particularly AIME, are much more sensitive tests than SAT/AP for raw math ability. How you do on them is definitely a useful indicator of how you would do in advanced math classes. I know that both MIT and Caltech have a place on the app specifically for them. Stanford & Harvard don't, but you would certainly want to include it somewhere on their apps anyway if you did really well (like qualifying for USAMO). I wouldn't report scores below 100 on the AMC. It's worth saying "AIME qualifier" even if you make a zero AIME score, but it probably doesn't get anyone's attention at places like MIT and Caltech unless it's 6+ or so.

    It's worth taking the exams even if you don't have time to specifically prepare. You can ignore disappointing scores, and you might get lucky and get a score that can help you. Sign up for both dates if you can to improve your chances of qualifying for AIME. Qualifying on either test gets you to the next level.

    A wealth of info on this can be found on the discussion forums at www.artofproblemsolving.com
  • imiracle911imiracle911 Registered User Posts: 3,309 Senior Member
    hey what happens if u took the AIME and know ur AMC score but u don't know ur AIME score. I asked my teacher and she said that she can't find the scores. I sent an email to AMC and hopefully sth will come but i don't think i'll have my scores before i turn in my apps.
  • texas137texas137 Registered User Posts: 2,143 Senior Member
    imiricle911 -

    well, if you think you made 6 or above you can look up the exact score in the Summary of Results book which your teacher should have. (if s/h doesn't, you can pm me with your name and state and I'll look it up in mine). If you made less than 6, which is the large majority of people who take the AIME, you can just say "AIME qualifier" if you can't get the exact score. I don't think it's going to make any difference whether you got a 2 vs a 3, or even a 4.
  • NightNight Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    Thanks, texas137, that was definitely helpful. Going back to the improving-my-chances thing, how far do you (or anyone else reading this!) think a good (like, above 6) score can go in canceling out a bad SAT math score? (It's not really an option for me to take the SATs more than once : ( )
  • molliebatmitmolliebatmit Super Moderator Posts: 12,374 Senior Member
    How bad is "bad"? I mean, are we talking 700, or are we talking 250? :)
  • cujoe169cujoe169 Registered User Posts: 3,318 Senior Member
    ha, i missed the cut off by less than 1 question each year!
  • ultimatemathultimatemath Registered User Posts: 255 Junior Member
    The problem is Stanford Application does not have a specific spot for AIME score.

    For example, I got 7 out of 15 on AIME, which is a decent score, but not a blow-off-the-roof score. I didn't want to just put "I got 7 out of 15 on AIME" in the academic honors and programs section. If I got 15 out of 15, then its a different story.
  • mootmommootmom Registered User Posts: 4,162 Senior Member
    Luckily, the MIT application *does* have a specific spot for AIME score. ;)
  • texas137texas137 Registered User Posts: 2,143 Senior Member
    Night - please take my advice with a grain of salt. I am not involved in any official way with admissions at MIT. I merely sponsor a math team, 2 grads of which attend MIT. But here it is...

    A "good" AMC/AIME score and a "bad" SAT math score is a bit of a disconnect, like having a C in an AP class but a 5 on the corresponding exam. People who know math are going to put more weight on the AMC/AIME score because it involves a much higher level of math ability. But I still wouldn't want to leave a "bad" SAT math score out there in your position, if a "good" AMC/AIME score indicates that your true math ability is much greater. I think you should repeat the SAT if your score does not reflect your ability. By that, I don't mean you should repeat it if you think your score should be 20 points higher. I mean repeat it if you think it should be 100 points higher.
  • texas137texas137 Registered User Posts: 2,143 Senior Member
    ultimatemath - I would try to work the AIME score into your math app for Stanford. The admissions office picks out apps of "math people" and sends them to the math dept, where people will definitely know what an AIME score of 7 means. That's really a very good score. That means you are in the top 10% or so of AIME takers last year, who are already the top 10% or so of AMC12 takers, who are taking the test because they are the top math students in reasonably strong math high schools. You didn't qualify for USAMO, but you were in the ballpark. There are probably fewer than 1000 or so kids in the country who did better than that. (you can work out the exact numbers from your teacher's copy of the Summary of Results book).
  • ultimatemathultimatemath Registered User Posts: 255 Junior Member
    Yeah, I think 7 out of 15 was 92% percentile. Pretty good, but then, I already turned in my Stanford Application for Early Action.

    Too bad for me
  • imiracle911imiracle911 Registered User Posts: 3,309 Senior Member
    well idk my AIME score because my teacher can't find it but i'm assuming it's like 0-4. In that case can i just say can not locate and not write score at all?
  • ultimatemathultimatemath Registered User Posts: 255 Junior Member
    well, certainly, 4 would be a good score, if you cant find it, oh well....
  • imiracle911imiracle911 Registered User Posts: 3,309 Senior Member
    so i don't write it at all? i think i got like a horrible score. at best 4. or do i write can't locate. or will they find out anyways? i emailed AIME people but no email. and i'm sending it like soon.
  • texas137texas137 Registered User Posts: 2,143 Senior Member
    just write "can't locate" or leave AIME score blank. The fact that you qualified for AIME at all will help you, even if you made a zero on it. But at a school like MIT, a score equal to or less than 4 probably won't get you any extra attention beyond the fact that you qualified.

    High AMC/AIME scores are published in the Summary of Results book. These are not routinely sent to college admissions offices, but if a college had some doubt about a student's claim of a very high score, they could probably very easily get a hold of one and check it out. If a student claims they qualified for USAMO, that can be confirmed on the internet. The AMC people do not make low scores available to colleges, so colleges could not look up a low score even if they wanted to, which they don't.
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