There are several types of rounds in ABMC. All rounds are in order of increasing difficulty. Earlier problems are representative of a rigorous middle school curriculum. Later problems include basic concepts from high school mathematics. The hardest problems are designed to be challenging for all participants.
Nevertheless, all problems are solvable via clever or elementary methods. A familiarity with arithmetic and algebra is sufficient to solve a sizable portion of the problems.
The grading system is explained here.
Note: Rules regarding team round and prizes do not apply to the 2023 online competition.
For more information regarding differences between the onsite and online competitions, see the 2023 Competition Page.
For each individual round, only the top 3 scores will count towards the team score.
Earlier problems involve simple arithmetic, algebraic, and geometric concepts. Later problems require more insight.
The speed round is 25 questions (50 points total). Harder problems are worth more points than easier ones. This round is 30 minutes long.
The accuracy round is 11 problems (50 points total). Harder problems are worth more points than easier ones. The test is 40 minutes long.
The last question (#11) does not count for points in the accuracy round. It is an estimation question where students will try to estimate the answer to a question that is almost impossible to compute exactly. (Example: How many primes are there between 0 and 2014!). Ties in the accuracy round will be broken using the answer to this question.
The team round is quite different than team rounds in standard math competitions. The entire test will not be given at once; rather, problems will be handed out in sets of 3. Only when a previous set has been passed in will a team receive the next set.
At the signal, a designated “runner” is sent up to collect the first set of problems and bring them back to his/her team. Once the team has completed that set, the runner goes back up, drops off the answers, and returns with a new set.
There are a total of 7 sets of 3 problems followed by one estimation question at the end. The questions in the first set are 4 points, second set are 5 points, etc., and the problems in the seventh set are 10 points. Finally, in the eighth set, there is a single estimation problem worth 13 points. Partial credit is not given for any of the problems throughout the competition except for the problem in the last round. The problems increase in order of difficulty, starting with simple mathematical concepts, and increasing to mid-AIME level problems in the final sets. The entire round lasts 60 minutes and is worth 160 points.
Puzzle rounds will be held during lunch time. This includes fun games like playing against a chess simul, and small prizes will be awarded!
Teams must consist of 2-4 individuals from grade 8 or below.
The only allowed materials are pencils, pens, and erasers.
Compasses, rulers, protractors, calculators, electronic devices, books, and notes are not allowed. Scratch paper will be provided at the contest.
Forms of Answers
See this document for acceptable forms of answers: Acceptable Answer Formats.
To protest a question, please give a written sheet of paper clearly explaining why you think that an answer or problem was incorrect to a proctor. The validity of a protest is left to the ABMC staff, whose decision is final.
Scoring and Prizes
For each individual rounds, only the top 3 individual scores in a team count towards the overall team score. This means that teams of 4 do not necessarily have an advantage over teams of 3. The point distribution for the rounds is as follows:
- Speed round – 50 points (150 points per team)
- Accuracy round – 50 points (150 points per team)
- Team round – 160 points
The total score for a team is calculated by adding the speed, accuracy, and team score (the maximum possible score is 460 points).
In the speed round, the tie-breaker questions, in order of consideration, are #25, #24, #23, … , #1. If two contestants correctly answer exactly the same questions on the speed round, we break the tie via scores in the accuracy round.
When two contestants tie in the accuracy round, the winner of the tie is the contestant whose answer to the tie-breaker question (#11) is closest to the actual answer. For more information about test format, see the Format page.
If two individuals tie overall, the tie is broken by considering the accuracy round score. In the rare case when two teams are tied overall, individual scores are compared.
Read more about our grading system here.
Prizes from ABMC and Sponsors
Prizes will be determined soon.
By attending ABMC, contestants agree to respect the facility and others at the event. Failure to do so may result in disqualification. The voluntary release form also must be signed for each competitor.
Photos will be taken at ABMC to promote the contest and convey a positive message to viewers. If you have concerns regarding photos of your child being taken, please send us an email, and we will do our best to accommodate you.