Sophomore Qualifies for Math Olympiad
Webb School of California sophomore Justin Pan qualified for the Mathematical Association of America’s U.S. American Math Junior Olympiad, one of the final stages of the American Mathematics Competition.
The AMC is considered the nation’s most prestigious math contest for high schools and middle schools. Simply by qualifying to participate in the Olympiad – a grueling, nine-hour exam split over two days – Pan has joined the elite in top math competitors.
The AMC begins with qualifying exams called the AMC 10 and 12.
The AMC 10 tests for math topics typically taught in ninth and 10th grades – elementary algebra, basic geometry, number theory and probability. The AMC 12 covers topics taught through 12th grade – including trigonometry, advanced algebra and advanced geometry (but not calculus). Both exams feature 25 questions and run 75 minutes.
Pan achieved a qualifying score on the AMC 10, which qualified him for the American Invitational Mathematics Exam, a three-hour test featuring 15 highly complex questions.
Pan, who is taking Advanced Placement Calculus AB, said he appreciated the challenge of tackling problems with only the tools available in lower mathematics.
“You have to use certain methods to approach the problems. It’s quite interesting. The thinking method is quite complicated. Each question, they are asking for complex conditions,” he said.
His scores on the AMC 10 and the invitational qualified Pan for the American Junior Math Olympiad – one of just 306 students to do so. (Some 347 students qualified for the American Math Olympiad by achieving high scores on the AMC 12 and the invitational.)
Pan said his next competition is the American Regions Mathematics League, which includes more than 2,000 competitors.
In eighth grade, he took the AMC 8 – a test for middle school students. He scored in the top 1 percent on that test and went on to compete with classmates in team math competitions.
“I started doing competitive math when I was in elementary school. It is one of my passions,” said Pan, who plans to study applied mathematics in college.