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Marlborough School Student Newspaper
The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

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April 12, 2024

Marlborough students compete in the AIME

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Dinah Staff Photographer
Rachel ’26 and Ava ’25 collaborate to solve a mathematical equation on the board.

Each year in November, the American Math Competition (AMC) is offered at Marlborough, with one student typically advancing to the next stage: the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME). This year, three Marlborough students, Rachel ’26, Roselyn ’28 and Ava ’25, received a score of 120 or more out of 150, which qualified them for the next round in this prestigious competition.

The AIME, a three-hour, 15-question test, incorporates aspects of geometry, algebra, combinatorics and number theory. To excel, the competitor must hold a strong grasp of several mathematical concepts and undergo a large amount of preparation. However, the problems are uniquely puzzle-like, involving both logic and problem-solving methods. 

“It’s definitely a different kind of math,” Mathematics Instructor Melissa Banister said. 

Although Banister and other math teachers offer their support, the qualifiers largely study on their own, utilizing previous exam questions to practice. All three qualifiers signed up voluntarily as a result of their dedication to mathematics. For Rachel, her adoration of competitive math inspired her to take the AMC for the third year in a row.

“It’s just so beautiful,” Rachel said. “Everything looks simple, but you can apply all these concepts in so many ways.”

Due to the complexity of the mathematics, Rachel has qualified for the past three years, but has never made it past the AIME. Her younger sister, Roselyn, was relieved by the results this year after qualifying in 2021 but not 2022. For her, qualifying in 2023 represents her hard work.

 “I really wanted to prove to myself that the year before that wasn’t just luck,” Roselyn said. 

The AIME exam was held on February 1, 2024. Before arriving on campus the students endured their own rituals to prepare themselves for the competitive day ahead.

“It was very nerve-wracking at first, but after I got into the rythm of it, I began getting more confident in myself,” Roselyn said.

Top-scoring students on the AIME will qualify for the final round: The United States of America Junior Mathematical Olympiad — an esteemed six-question, nine-hour mathematical proof competition. 

Rachel, Roselyn and Ava all eagerly await the AIME results, which will be released at the end of Feb. Regardless of the outcome, Rachel Chen looks forward to continuing her mathematics career and eventually major in the subject.

“Competition math is great,” Rachel said. “Join my math club!”

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Aoife '25, Associate Arts Editor
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