Secrets to Scoring High on the AMC 12 Exam

The AMC 12 (American Mathematics Competitions 12) is a highly competitive math contest for high school students in the United States and around the world. Scoring high on the AMC 12 can open doors to prestigious colleges and universities and is a point of pride for aspiring mathematicians. To excel on this challenging exam, you need a solid strategy and rigorous preparation. In this article, we'll unveil the secrets to scoring high on the AMC 12.

 1. Understand the AMC 12 Format

Before diving into preparation, it's crucial to understand the format of the AMC 12. This exam consists of 25 multiple-choice questions, each with five answer choices. You have 75 minutes to complete the entire exam. The questions cover a wide range of mathematical topics, including algebra, geometry, number theory, combinatorics, and probability.

 2. Start Early

Preparation for the AMC 12 should begin early, ideally in middle school or the early years of high school. Building a strong foundation in math concepts over time is crucial.

 3. Study Key Concepts

Familiarize yourself with the major mathematical topics tested on the AMC 12, such as algebraic manipulation, geometric theorems, number theory principles, and counting techniques. The Mathematical Association of America (MAA) provides a detailed syllabus that outlines the topics you should study.

 4. Practice Regularly

Practice is the key to success on the AMC 12. Solve a wide variety of math problems from different sources, including past AMC 12 exams, math contest preparation books, and online resources. Try to work through problems that cover the entire spectrum of difficulty levels.

 5. Analyze Your Mistakes

When you make mistakes, don't just move on. Take the time to understand why you got a problem wrong. Was it a calculation error, a misunderstanding of the concept, or a misreading of the question? Learning from your mistakes is essential for improvement.

 6. Time Management

On the AMC 12, time management is crucial. You have less than three minutes per question, so avoid getting stuck on a single problem. If you're unsure about an answer, make an educated guess and come back to it later if time allows.

 7. Simulate Exam Conditions

Take practice exams under timed conditions to simulate the actual testing environment. This helps you become comfortable with the pacing and pressure of the exam.

 8. Review Solutions

After completing practice exams, review the solutions thoroughly, even for problems you answered correctly. Understanding the most efficient and elegant solution methods can save you time and improve your problem-solving skills.

 9. Join a Math Club or Study Group

Participating in a math club or study group can provide you with access to more practice problems, discussion of solutions, and the opportunity to learn from your peers.

 10. Stay Informed

Keep up with math news, read math-related articles, and follow the AMC community. This not only keeps you motivated but also exposes you to various mathematical ideas that might appear on the exam.

 11. Consult Resources

Use reputable math contest preparation resources like the Art of Problem Solving (AoPS) books, Khan Academy, and the MAA's official resources. These materials provide valuable insights and practice problems.

 12. Maintain a Positive Mindset

Believe in yourself and your ability to succeed on the AMC 12. A positive mindset can boost your confidence and problem-solving skills.

 13. Seek Advice

Don't hesitate to seek advice from teachers, mentors, or coaches who have experience with math competitions. They can provide guidance and valuable strategies.

 14. Learn from Past Competitions

Participating in math competitions like the AMC 10, AIME (AIME - American Invitational Mathematics Examination), and other contests can provide valuable experience and help you identify areas for improvement.


Scoring high on the AMC 12 exam requires dedication, consistent practice, and a thorough understanding of mathematical concepts. By following these secrets and maintaining a strong work ethic, you can increase your chances of achieving a top score, opening doors to prestigious universities and future success in mathematics and related fields. Remember, success on the AMC 12 is not only about the destination but also about the journey of mathematical discovery and problem-solving. Good luck!