Overview of Math Competitions that EMC prepares students for

EMC holds workshops to prepare students for math competitions. We have selected Noetic, Math Kangaroo, and the AMC 8 for our students. We choose these three because they are a great way to enter the world of mathematical contests.  They are open to students of all levels, from those just starting out with math to those with more advanced skills. This means that students of all abilities can participate and find the problems challenging, yet achievable with proper preparation. Students may start with the less stressful Noetic and Math Kangaroo. Then, as their interest in math contests develops, they can progress to even more challenging competitions like the AMC 8.

1.  What competitions do we prepare for at EMC and how do they differ from each other? 

Of all the Math competitions available in the US, at EMC we have first chosen Noetic and Math Kangaroo. These competitions are above the level of regular school math, they require serious preparation (we have regular workshops for that), and yet the atmosphere of these competitions is not very stressful. Many problems are fun, puzzle-style, and are a joy to solve. It's a friendly start for a child. They can celebrate their hard and consistent work, which is an important element that supports growth. By participating in math competitions, children practice and learn to conquer their anxieties and fears and become more independent and confident.

Organizers of the competition award certificates and small prizes for certain scores, acknowledging and celebrating student successes. We love this atmosphere of friendly competition and encouragement.

In 2022, at the request of our students, we have also expanded our competition selection and launched AMC 8 preparation workshops. We are very excited and proud that they strive to overcome more and more difficult math challenges!

Noetic Learning Math Contest (NLMC) 

Competition Details:

  • NLMC is held twice a year (Fall and Spring)
  • Available for students in grades 2-8 
  • It can be taken both in person and online 
  • 50 minutes, 20 question free response test 

NLMC begins in grade 2. It is a great option to start your “competition career”, use it to train your skills, and then approach other exams and tests without fear. This competition looks great on your resume and helps develop important skills and knowledge.

The problems are largely based on school material and may even be repeated year to year. There are some unusual ones, but their types and solution principles are also repeated. Usually, the participants are quite capable of mastering the algorithm for solving them. However, the format requires speed and teaches you to work under time pressure. 

Every year, EMC participates in the Noetic contest, and all students are invited to join the EMC online team. You will need to fill out a form and EMC will cover participation costs.  Students are ranked nationally, and achievements are recognized on the web:   https://www.noetic-learning.com/mathcontest/results/2022Fall/index.htm


Math Kangaroo Competition

Competition Details:

  • The contest is held once a year 
  • It’s available for students in grades 1-12
  • It can be taken both online and in person
  • 75 minutes
  • 24 questions for students in grades 1-4. 30 questions for students in grades 5 and up; multiple choice test


Math Kangaroo begins in grade 1. Students are given more time to solve almost the same number of problems as in Noetic, so it’s not as stressful. In Kangaroo, the problems are tied with the school material, but rely more on problem solving skills rather than specific knowledge of formulas and facts. These problems are usually more fun and creative since many of them come in the form of visual and logic puzzles. 

In Math Kangaroo, each completion level combines two grades: 1 and 2, 3 and 4, 5 and 6, etc. Participants are, however, ranked within you their own grade level. Kangaroo is a genuine peer competition, kids are competing with their peers, who are in the same grade at school. The national winners (first 20 ranks) and state winners (first 3 ranks) are publicly recognized on https://mathkangaroo.org/.  


Just like with NLMC, EMC participates in Math Kangaroo every year, and all students are encouraged to take the test. Please contact us if you wish to take it online through EMC.


Competition Details:

  • The contest is held once a year, usually in January. 
  • AMC8 is available for students in grade 8 and below
  • The test can only be taken in person
  • 40 minutes 
  • 25 questions, multiple-choice exam

The AMC (American Mathematics Contest) is an important math competition for high school students who enjoy problem solving in mathematics. Рarticipants from this competition are selected to represent the United States at the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). Many colleges take into account participation and scores of the AMC contest, and there are scholarships available for honors students!

To do well in the AMC 8, the students will need to fully master the school program and accurately remember math formulas, facts, theorems, and elementary algebra and geometry. This is a step up from Noetic and Kangaroo, where problems usually only require logical thinking and basic math skills.

Please note that the AMC 8 does NOT accommodate online participation. You will have to find an in person testing center near you to enter the competition. However, if you live in San Jose/Bay Area, you are welcome to join the EMC team. Contact us about this as soon as possible.

And, of course, no matter where you live, you can join our online preparation class. 

Learn more and register here.


 2. Why should my child participate in math competitions? 

This is the most often-heard question. Based on our experience, here are some reasons for participation:

  • Competitions are designed to encourage students to think independently, develop creative solutions, and to work through problems in a structured way.  They build problem-solving skills, mental flexibility and logical reasoning skills which will be useful in not just math but in every subject and every aspect of life. Types of problems that utilize school curricula also help learn the material better
  • It will increase children’s confidence in their ability to solve complex problems and can provide them with a sense of accomplishment and pride in their skills, and boost motivation to continue to pursue their interests in math
  • This is a great practice opportunity. Having taken tests in the “safe” atmosphere of children’s competitions, kids will be better prepared for any future tests and exams
  • The long journey of studying math can be broken into small stages with deadlines - from one competition to the next. Visible results during these stages will help keep students motivated and interested
  • The results of these competitions look great on your resume and help showcase your academic excellence
  • In competition prep classes, children find their "pack" - the company of curious people with whom they can share their interest in mathematics!

3.     How can EMC help with preparation?


To prepare students for competitions, we have developed our popular competition preparation workshops.


Noetic Math and Math Kangaroo Competition Preparation Workshops

These classes take place once a week and are paid for in monthly sets. 

How are the workshops structured?

A few days before the workshop, we send each student a complete practice test to work on at home. This gives students a chance to work on the problems on their own and helps us understand which problems students are having the most difficulty with and what instructors should focus on in class. 

Each workshop lasts 1.5 hours. 


During the first 30-40 minutes, we discuss the problems our students have encountered on the homework tests. In the second half of the lesson, teachers introduce students to new types of problems that are often found in these competitions.  

We help students learn how to navigate the problem-solving process: how to read the problem, how to break it down into parts, how to draw pictures to help model the situation, what strategies to use, and so on. 

The last 10-20 minutes are allotted for individual practice in real-time, giving students a chance to practice problem-solving and time management in a situation that simulates the stress of a real test.   

All of our in-class tests and practice problems are designed in the style of Kangaroo or Noetic, but they are written by our instructors - all of the problems students encounter will be new and cannot be found anywhere else!


All of our workshops are stand-alone and can be taken in any order.  Let us know if there are scheduling conflicts, or you want your student to try just one class.  We will be happy to help.  See details here.


AMC8 Preparatory Workshops

To prepare for AMC8, we have launched a new preparation class. Lessons are 90 minutes and students work in small groups of 4-6 people.  EMC teachers have carefully curated and designed a curriculum that takes students through the topics covered by the AMC8 competition. The workshop uses the Art of Problem Solving, Volume 1: the Basics book, covering a different topic each week. Lessons are also supplemented with practice of past AMC 8 tests (portions and/or full tests).   

The class explores methodology and approaches for solving various types of non standard problems, and teaches students to apply and practice those skills throughout the lessons.

See details here


The more workshops your child attends, the more confident and prepared they will be for the competition!

EMC and the exciting world of math competitions is waiting for you!

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