kitchen table math, the sequel: Susan S on her son's experience with competition math

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Susan S on her son's experience with competition math

re: the question of whether middle school competition math prepares students for ACT math:
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.

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.
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.

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.

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