Compete with Community College Students Across the Country

The AMATYC "Student Math League" Contest is a nationwide community college competition consisting of two one-hour exams given each year across the country.

AMATYC is the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges. The CCSF student body has a strong history with the AMATYC contest with several top 5 nationwide team placements. Participating students will have the opportunity to earn cash prizes and scholarships!

The fall semester contest is usually held in early November and the spring semester contest is usually held in early March. The CCSF Mathematics Department offers faculty-lead contest preparation workshops for CCSF students. Visit the CCSF math contest website for information on upcoming contests and workshops.

The AMATYC Math Contest at CCSF

The AMATYC "Student Math League" Contest is a math contest held each year at community colleges nationwide. It consists of two one-hour exams. At CCSF, the first exam is typically given in early November and the second exam is given in early March. Each exam consists of 20 multiple choice questions covering precalculus material (e.g. algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and statistics/probability). Examples of past exams can be downloaded (as PDF files) from this AMATYC webpage

  • The CCSF Math Department offers prizes of $100, $75, and $50 to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd highest scoring CCSF student participants.
  • Five scholarship prizes of values up to $500 are awarded for the five highest scoring contestants from a northern California community college. These scholarships are provided by CMC^3 (California Mathematics Council-Community Colleges), which is a professional society of community college math teachers in Northern California. In past years a number of CCSF students have been awarded such scholarships (ranging from $200 to $500).
  • A $3000 scholarship to an accredited 4-year college or university for the highest scoring participant nationwide. This scholarship is provided by AMATYC.
  • AMATYC awards various prizes (e.g. books, plaques, etc.) to the top ten participants nationwide and to members of the 1st place team. (The five highest scoring students among a college's participants comprises the college's "team". In the past, CCSF's contest teams have placed among the top 10 schools nationwide, and the CCSF team earned first place in the 2002-2003 academic year.)

All CCSF students are welcome to participate. No special registration is required --- all an interested student needs to do is come to the contest room at the announced time on the contest date. Students are also permitted to bring and use any scientific or graphics calculator that does not have a QWERTY (i.e. typewriter) keyboard.

Note: However, students who have already earned a two-year college degree (or higher) are not eligible to compete for official awards.

What subjects do the problems come from?

The problems come from "pre-calculus" mathematics, meaning that they do not require calculus to solve. Many of the problems involve algebra, geometry, trigonometry, probability, and statistics; however, they're usually not standard problems you may have seen in your classes. They often require a bit of creativity or ask you to look at a situation a bit differently than you're used to. 

How difficult are the problems?

The problems range quite a bit in difficulty. There are often a few problems that aren't too difficult for students who enjoy mathematics, and there are many that are quite challenging, even to math teachers. You should not feel discouraged if you find many of the problems to be challenging: most students feel the same way.

Can I use a calculator?

Yes. Calculators are allowed, including most graphing calculators. You're not allowed to use calculators with QWERTY keyboards (like the TI-92 Plus), and you're not allowed to use your phone, a tablet, or any other device that's capable of communications.

Can I use notes, books, or other resources?

No. Only scratch paper may be used, and it will be provided.

Should I guess if I don't know an answer?

On the multiple-choice problems, students are given 2 points for a correct answer, 0 points for a blank answer, and -1/2 point for an incorrect answer. If you guess randomly, you could end up losing points! But if you can eliminate one or more of the answer choices, guessing from the remaining choices might end up increasing your score.