I only have an anecdotal story concerning math contests and the ACT. When my son was taking the ACT in middle school at the beginning of the year, I hired a genius kid to tutor him on some of the things he had never experienced, like algebra 2 and some trig stuff. The tutor thought he would break 30, but he actually was in the middle 20s. Still not bad for a 13 yr. old.If I had it to do over again, I would have had C. doing middle school competition math problems from the get-go -- and not just because SAT math is so closely related to middle school competition math.
As the year went on he made the Mathcounts team and had to practice the problems every week for a few months. He usually only finished half of them since we couldn't really help him. I signed him up for the actual Midwest Talent Search at the end of the year, but I didn't prep him this time or hire a tutor. His math score jumped to a 29 which placed him in the 99th percentile of the MTS, or Midwest Talent Search, kids and earned him a high scorer medal from Northwestern.
I have no idea if that means anything, but I thought it was interesting. He was only in accelerated algebra 1 at the time. Competition math just may help out in some way. It was the only thing I could think of at the time to explain the jump in scores.
C. and I both learned a tremendous amount prepping for SAT math. We learned a tremendous amount about algebra 1, geometry, and arithmetic, and we learned a tremendous amount about what we didn't know we didn't know.