Students compete in the California Math League
n Oct. 15, high school students across California took the first 30-minute test of the California Math League (CML), the first time
CML has been offered at the Upper School. The CML is a math contest composed of six tests, each taken once a month from October to March.
Thirteen freshmen, eight sophomores, three juniors, and one senior signed up to take the test. The 25 students took the same first test containing six nontraditional math problems of various difficulty levels. The tests cover a variety of mathematical concepts, ranging from problems about geometry to imaginary numbers and sequences, and most include at least two word problems and three questions with a visual.
The contest was brought to Nueva by all-school math coordinator and upper school math teacher Danielle M-D. Danielle organized the event as a way to provide more math contests for students, many of whom expressed their interest in engaging in competitions. She believes the CML is a great opportunity for Nueva students, as the problems’ uniqueness forces students to delve deep and find hidden strategies in order to improve efficiency, while still allowing them to practice test-taking.
Other math contests offered at the Upper School include the Bay Area Mathematical Olympiad (BAMO), American Mathematics Contest 10 and 12 (AMC 10 and AMC 12) as well their continuations, and the Math Olympiad.
One of Nueva’s primary goals is to instill a love of learning by providing educationally enriching opportunities to our students.
Danielle is hoping to bring even more contests in the spring.
One of the students who participated in the CML was Charlotte P. ’23, who took the test for the first time this year. In the past, she has participated in other math contests, including the Mathematical Olympiads for Elementary and Middle Schoolers (MOEMS), BAMO, AMC8, and AMC10 in middle school.
“I enjoy taking math contests because many times the problems are about finding secret strategies and little tricks rather than going through a long, expansive problem,” Charlotte said.
Brandon Cho ’22 also wanted to practice taking structured math tests and see what contests were like. This was Brandon’s first high school math competition and he was excited to try the problems that combined multiple skills. Brandon hadn’t taken any math competitions prior to the CML since eighth grade, so he was slightly nervous going into the test.
“As I started thinking about ways to approach the questions, a lot of the math knowledge I had forgotten started to come back to me, and I gradually became more confident,” Cho said.
Math competitions are a great way for applying a variety of unique concepts in elegant ways that reveal simple solutions to seemingly complex problems.
Brandon enjoyed the problems on the first CML test and is curious to see what the next problems will be like, so he plans to complete the remaining tests and participate in more competitions in the future, hopefully alongside several of his classmates.
Most of the students plan to complete the full series of tests, but some will just take a few to gain practice exposure. For a student to gain national recognition, they must place in the top 50. While there is no other formal prize for winning the contest, Danielle notes that that the CML is a great stepping-stone for future opportunities and allows one to earn confidence through the prestige.
Students who want to be recognized by the CML will continue to take the following tests on Nov. 12, Dec. 10, Jan. 7, Feb. 11, and March 17 (the second Tuesday of each month).
Written by Mira D.