Coming Up Short
By Andy Luo
Throughout my math career, I have struggled with my confidence in myself. In 6th grade I took my first AMC 10 which is a very important math test for people in tenth grade and below. The AMC 10 is a multiple choice test with 25 problems where each correct answer was worth 6 points, an incorrect answer was worth 0, and leaving a question blank was 1.5 points. My parents both said that it was “just for fun” and my result would not be important. Nevertheless, I was pretty nervous about the test. I had prepared some by doing a few past competitions and looking at formulas. I got around a score of 80 on most of the mocks which is around average.
On the day of the test I had to find my testing room and since my name started with an A I went to room 1202. Before the test, our room was quite noisy, filled with a bunch of rowdy kids, most of them in eighth grade. Being in the presence of the older kids made me feel slightly nervous but since I’ve been with them for a while now with my electives and math club it was ok. The room’s proctor was a strict man who seemed to not want to be there. When we got our papers and filled out the information, it was time to begin the test. In the beginning I went through the problems at a decent pace but then started getting stuck on many of the problems. I ended up spending my last 20 or so minutes doing question 24. In the end I did problems 1-13 inclusive as well as 24. Outside there was rain and my dad was late to pick me up. I was talking to a couple of students about the test and what they got as answers.
After the contest I was feeling quite confident, and though I knew I most likely wouldn’t qualify for AIME which is the next stage of competition, ( I was still very nervous before the scores were released. Once they came out I found out I got a 94.5 which meant I got all of the questions I did besides 24 correct. I was really happy since this was much more than my mock scores of around 80. It seemed that all my hard work did pay off and though I didn’t qualify for AIME, I still got an achievement roll which is top 5% of scores for kids in grades 8 and under. This helped me boost my self confidence and I was really proud of myself and it showed that even when you don’t reach your highest goals, smaller achievements are still really fulfilling and meaningful.