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Training for the Math Olympics

What’s a little friendly competition between inquiring mathematical minds?

Sixty-five St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) students from Grades 10 and 12 will take part in the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) American Mathematics Competitions this month. 

SMCS students participating in a lesson in a classroom.

30 Grade 10 students and 35 Grade 12 students will be taking part in the American Mathematics Competitions.

The exam is administered across the continent on two different dates in January and February.

The AMC 10/12 as it is more commonly known, is designed to hone analytical and problem-solving skills while strengthening student attitudes towards math.

The format? “A 25-question, 75-minute, multiple choice examination in secondary school mathematics,” says John Vella ’85, Department Head of Math at SMCS.

SMCS students receiving a math lesson in a classroom.

John Vella '85, Department Head of Math at St. Michael’s College School has been teaching mathematics at SMCS since 1995. 

“A top score wins an invitation to the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME),” says Vella, who began teaching at SMCS in 1995. “Historically, one or two [SMCS students] earn an invitation to write the AIME.”

Considered the next level up, the AIME is a three-hour examination comprised of 15 questions, taking place in mid-March. A strong showing there earns a trip to the International Mathematical Olympiad.

SMCS students receiving a lesson in a classroom.


SMCS students have participated in the American Mathematics Competitions every year since 1995.

The American Mathematics Competition takes place at St. Michael’s College School on Wednesday, February 5, 2020.