Math contests encourage critical thinking


Mike Carlson

Students work on the math contest during lunch.

Mike Carlson, Staff Writer

The Carlmont math department puts on math contests every other Tuesday at lunch in each math classroom.

The contests are made up of six to seven questions that are geared towards increasing problem-solving skills and critical thinking.

As one can see on each week’s contest, the math contests are created by the California Math League and the Atlantic-Pacific Mathematics League. Each contest is distinct and compliments different types of math skills. The California Math League contests feature calculator-allowed problems while the Atlantic-Pacific Mathematics League contests are non-calculator based.

According to its website, the California Math League is a division of the Math League, which was started in 1977. The Math League distributes and helps run contests internationally. Carlmont is currently ranked 10th in California in Math League Contests.

The Atlantic-Pacific Mathematics League contest is a series of six contests given monthly from November to April, according to its website. These contests can be taken by anyone and awards are given out to individuals as well as to teams. Carlmont is tied for first in this league.

Carlmont administrates these contests in order to challenge students outside of the class period.

“I like the math contests because they have unconventional problems that are not in the curriculum and require creative thinking,” said Michael Skrable, who teaches geometry enriched math, pre-calculus honors, and multivariable calculus.

Many students choose to participate in these contests because they incite friendly competition. 

“I enjoy the math contests because of the competition between me and my friends that it creates,” said Theo Korolev, a sophomore.

Students also participate in these competitions because of the extra credit that they can earn or because of the skills that they learn.

“I do the math contests because I like math and I think doing difficult problems helps me improve my math skills,” said Victor Navarro, a sophomore.

This information was found on the Math League and Atlantic-Pacific Mathematics League websites


“These contests also prepare students for the AMC (American Math Contest),” said Skrable.

The AMC is recognized by universities nationwide and can qualify students for the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME). 

If students score well on the AIME, they are able to participate in the United States of America Junior Mathematical Olympiad (USAJMO). If students do well at any of these levels, it can help them to earn scholarships from colleges.