Aims and Information
This event was introduced in Australia in 1978 as the first Competition
in Australian Schools. In this time it has served almost all Australian secondary
schools, providing feedback and enrichment to schools and students. It has become
the largest single event on the Australian Education Calendar, allowing
students to attempt the same tasks, on the same day in about 40 countries. It has become
a truly international event, with countries throughout the Pacific and South East Asia,
and some from even further afield taking part.
The Competition is administered by the non-profit Australian Mathematics Trust,
which has representatives on its Board of the Australian Association of Mathematics
Teachers, Australian Academy of Science and
Australian Mathematical Society. A vast network
of volunteers from these professional societies
and from the teaching profession in particular
ensures the highest quality of question paper, renowned over its lifetime for
its originality and mathematical and typographical accuracy. This reputation
is ensured by an extensive moderation process, which not only exhaustively
checks the mathematics in the problems but also ensures the suitability of
the tasks for students in all Australian States and New Zealand. The problem creators
and moderators include the most experienced mathematics educators in the country.
The aims of the Competition are three-fold:
Who is it for?
- To highlight the importance of mathematics as a curriculum subject
- To give students an opportunity to discover talent in mathematics
- To provide resources for the classroom and general discussion
The AMC is for students of all standards. Students are asked to solve
thirty problems in 60 minutes (Years 3 to 6) or
75 minutes (Years 7 to 12). Students mark their responses on a mark-sense
sheet and these are processed by computer.
The earliest problems are very easy. All students should be able to attempt them.
The problems get progressively more difficult until the end, when they
are challenging to the most gifted student. Students of all standards will
make progress and find a point of challenge.
Scope of the AMC
We believe this to be the largest event in Australia for which
participants pay an entry fee.
It is the original competition which started in 1978 and
has been run every year since then.
The number of entrants in Australia alone in recent years has been of the order of
400,000, enough to fill the MCG four times!
There is a Middle Primary Paper (Years 3 and 4), Upper Primary Paper
(Years 5 and 6), a Junior Paper (Years 7 and 8), an Intermediate Paper
(Years 9 and 10) and a Senior Paper (Years 11 and 12).
Visually Impaired and Distance Students
We would like the AMC to be available to all students who wish to participate.
We have special arrangements for visually
impaired students and distance education organisations. Home schooled students or students
whose school chooses not to participate are free to make arrangements to sit under the
supervision of another school.
As a national mathematical body, whose main aims are to help mathematics learning, the Australian
Mathematics Trust is qualified to provide the best type of questions to help identify the
strengths and weaknesses of students in mathematical thinking, skills and application. The
reports for each student show the student's performance in all main categories, such as arithmetic, algebra,
geometry, problem solving and various sub-categories.
Challenge and Development
The International Commission on Mathematical Instruction has recently identified
challenge as having a key role in mathematics learning and has appointed Trust Executive Director
Professor Peter Taylor as one of two co-convenors of this Study, which is expected to report in 2009.
The AMC, given the style of problems posed, in which mathematics is often used to solve
problems in the real world to which students can relate, is not only providing challenge by
the style of these problems, but as a competition involving several hundreds of
thousands of students on the same day will often ask students to respond to a situation which
might be new (even though they should have the underlying mathematical knowledge).
The Trust conducts a range of activities up to full international Olympiad level, The next step up
is the Mathematics Challenge for Young Australians, which attracts tens of thousands of students each year.
So in addition to diagnosis and challenge for the students at the average level, the AMC provides
talent identifiction and the basis for continuing to develop that talent with the full range
of activities which the Trust supplies.
Scoring and Awards
Students receive a score based on
different weightings for questions in different
parts of the paper. These scores become the basis for determining awards.
For further details, see
- Chinese (simplified and traditional character sets both available)
French is not available for the primary versions, and in Australia it is assumed students write the
paper in English (unless there is a special school).
The first 20 questions are intended to be directly familiar to students from their
classroom experience. The problems are carefully moderated
by experienced teachers in each state each year
to ensure that the problems are suitable for students in their respective states.
The later problems are more difficult and may
be in unexpected contexts, but they have been graded to ensure that the skills
required are commensurate with those taught at that level.
The problems are designed to test mathematical thinking rather than focus
on calculations themselves, and as such questions
are designed so that they answered just as quickly without a calculator
as with one. Whereas calculators are thus seen to not provide an advantage,
due to equity reasons they should not be used in years 7 to 12. For younger
students, in Years 3 to 6, students are permitted to access any aids normally
available to them in the classroom.
Such students will be permitted
to use any teaching aids such as
MAB blocks, counters, currency, calculators, play money, etc. All students
are allowed to work on scrap paper and teachers may help explain the
meaning of words in the paper.
Setting the Problems
The problems are set by two volunteer committee of Australia's most experienced
teachers and academics. The process of setting the paper commences 18 months in advance,
to allow the extensive moderation which has given the paper its reputation
for mathematical and typographical accuracy over the years.
Benefits to Students
Benefits to Schools
- All students receive a detailed report showing how they went on
each problem, with comparisons as to wider statistics.
- All students receive a certificate
or award commensurate with their performance.
- The AMC provides the student an extra
opportunity for external recognition.
The certificates are often kept by students for their folios. They
are well understood by employers and so can be used as evidence
of problem solving ability.
- Unlike formal
examinations in mathematics, many of the problems are set in situations to
which students can relate, indicating the relevance of mathematics in their
everday lives. Above all the competition is designed to be enjoyable,
even for those students who might not have performed as well as they
may have hoped. Certainly the event is intended to be conducted
in a pressure-free environment (not normally affecting school assessment) and
the questions are designed to be of sufficient interest to stimulate discussion
at a later time, with friends, parents or in the class.
- Competitions can inspire a greater interest in the subject and a love of learning.
- Students are given an opportunity to participate
in a large event attempting the same problems as
students in other schools and other countries.
In addition to the direct benefits to students,
all schools which enter the AMC receive,
free of charge, a confidential set of statistics which the school can
use in checking its performances overall, and by topic, with statistics overall
for their state or region.
It is also possible that results from past years can be retrieved.
Students receive few opportunities
to attempt problems in common with those of students at other schools, in their
own region or internationally.
The Competition is such an opportunity.
In recent years about half a million students per year from 35 countries have taken part.
As a result of the size of the competition, the statistics are meaningful, and
students can obtain a good guide to the standard they have reached.
How to Enter
There is an entry fee, but this is modest
compared with costs of sport and entertainment,
and it is set in a non-profit environment. More details on how to enter
can be found here.
What if I have done well and seek further challenge?
The AMC is not a stand-alone event but provides opportunity for students
to attempt further enrichment activities offered by the Trust, including
the Mathematics Challenge for Young Australians and the
opportunity to progress to national and international Olympiad
projects supported by the Australian Government through the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) and the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIISRTE).