While his schoolmates study in their regular classes this morning, Lakeside High School sophomore Peter Huang will be embroiled in the second half of a nine-hour math test.
Today, Lakeside High School sophomore Peter Huang will be taking the second part of a nine-hour exam to be in the U.S. Math Olympiad. The test consists of several difficult word problems. Only about 0.1 percent of students tested end up making the final cut.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
But it won't be a regular exam.
The results of the test for the U.S. Math Olympiad could place Peter in the upper echelon of high-school math students in the country.
"A total of about 150,000 (students) in the U.S. took (the preliminary tests), and about the top 250 people get to go to the U.S. Math Olympiad," the 15-year-old said. "That's about 0.1 percent."
In the exam, which Peter will split between Tuesday and today at Lakeside, he will face many difficult word problems. The exam will then be sent off to be graded by the Math Olympiad. He should know the results in a few weeks, he said.
"I think it's fun to do challenging word problems," Peter said. "I'm just interested in math."
Peter has been training for the test by studying past word problems given for the Math Olympiad exam. If he makes the grade, he said, he could be selected to compete at the International Math Olympiad.
"They choose people to go to summer camp to train and then they choose the top six people," he said. "I doubt I'll make it. It's six questions in nine hours. It's very, very hard."
Still, on the American Invitational Math Exam, one of two tests used as a prerequisite for a Math Olympaid invitation, Peter did well and hopes to repeat the performance.
"The AIME is 15 really hard questions," he said. "You have to solve them in three hours. I got 10 out of 15 in that one, which is pretty good, because those questions are really, really hard."
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