Math team achieves first place rank

Esther Hong, Staff Writer

The math team’s season ended in April with first place in the league and high scoring students. The team is sponsored by Mr. Khetarpal and they meet every Wednesday throughout the season. There are four captains, two juniors and two seniors that take on roles of helping to run these weekly practices. They help to organize teams for competitions, ensure that a variety of skill levels and students are a part of each team, and advertise to new students at the beginning of the year.

The competition is hosted by the Mathematical Association of America and is structured like a typical math test where students are given a set of problems as well as a time limit to solve as many problems as they can. The problems are categorized as algebra, geometry, combinatorics, and number theory which span a large range of difficulty. 

“I let the students focus on the math and the training and take care of other logistics,” said team sponsor Mr. Ishan Khetarpal.

Though the competitions are individual, the members work together during practices and help each other gather more knowledge and practice subjects they are not strong on. They make sure to familiarize themselves with all the categories since the categories of combinatorics and number theory are not covered in school.

“I am able to learn about new approaches or ideas not considered before, I like to talk to my teammates about math concepts and problems in order to help study rather than solely solve problems,” said senior captain Andrew Yuan.  

The captains take on roles to teach underclassmen about subjects and plan the practices to focus on weaker sections of the competition. By learning strengths and weaknesses of each teammate, the captains can assign problems to teammates accordingly during the competition. The captain-led practices benefit the team since the captains structure the practices from a student perspective and understand the struggles that underclassmen may be having.

In addition to practices, members are encouraged to practice on their own time for success. They are expected to run through practice problems at home as well as review problems they did not understand in order to ensure they do not make the same mistakes during a competition. This allows for every team member to get stronger at each subject and are given the opportunity to answer every question equally when it comes to actually competing. 

The season runs from November to March/April and consists of three main competitions, American Mathematics Competitions (AMC), American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME), and United States of America Mathematical Olympiad (USAMO). The AMC is a broad competition that all students are able to compete in. Students who do well on the AMC are invited to participate in the more prestigious AIME competition, and from there students are invited to USAMO. The AMC allots 75 minutes for 25 problems while the AIME gives three hours for 15 problems. The USAMO gives nine hours for six problems and is split within two days. Students compete individually in these competitions but there are other team competitions such as college-hosted math competitions, USA Math Talent Search, MCPS Math Meets, Maryland Math League which require teams of 4-8.