Alex Zhai invited to compete in USA Math Olympiad
Posted Sunday, April 2, 2006, The OG, news
For the third consecutive year, Alex Zhai has been invited to participate in the United States of America Mathematical Olympiad, also known as the USAMO, one of the nation's most prestigious math contests.
Zhai, a sophomore, was invited based on his score on the American Invitational Mathematics Examination, which was given on March 7. Only about 250 students nationwide are invited to take the USAMO, a six-question, nine-hour exam given over two days.
Thirty-one Uni students qualified to take the AIME this year. Zhai was the school winner, with a score of 14.
The average score for Uni students on the AIME was 3.10, according to math executive teacher Craig Russell.
“If you took Alex's score of 14 out of the mix, their average was 2.73,” Russell said in an e-mail.
The nationwide average this year was 2.71, with more than 18,000 students taking the exam.
“Over half the Uni students beat the national average — a very strong showing!” Russell wrote.
Zhai will take the USAMO on April 18 and 19. The top 12 students will be invited to a two-day Olympiad Award Ceremony in Washington, D.C. Six students will then go on to compete in the International Mathematical Olympiad this summer.
In 2004, Zhai, then a subfreshman, was one of only 16 seventh- or eighth-graders in the country to participate in the USAMO. In 2005, Zhai was one of only 17 high school students in Illinois to be invited.
[Note: For those interested in learning more about what competing in the International Olympiad is like, see Steve Olson's 2004 book, “Count Down: Six Kids Vie for Glory at the World's Toughest Math Competition.”]
— Gargoyle staff