Step-by-Step Guide to Mastering AMC 10/12 Practice Tests

Why working on prior tests is so useful?

Past years of AMC tests provide the most realistic tests for practice purposes. It is important to use them wisely as their number is limited. Below is the guide that will help you use maximize the benefits from taking them.

Decide roughly how many practice tests you will be able to take before the November test date. Get a list of tests [link] and plan your schedule.

How to take a practice test?

When ready to take a practice test, find a testing area that is not the most comfortable area for you. It can be a kitchen, a living room or any other common area. It should be relatively quiet so you can focus. Time yourself 70 minutes. Do not stop the clock for any reason.

Before you start make sure to set an intention for the this test session. It should be a statement on what you want to achieve. For example: I will read problems carefully. I will be very focused and will move at a good pace. I will strive to solve 14 problems. Your goal should be realistic, and it should help you find your best working state.

When taking the test please remember to re-read the question before marking the answer. Please also put a star next to the questions that took long time for you to solve or if you feel that your method was not the most efficient.

After you have taken the test

After 70 minutes are up and your test has been graded, spend another 40-90 minutes working on the mistakes you made and the problems you did not have time to work on. You can take a break before that if needed.

After you have finished working on the test and have done what you could, it is very important to study solutions to the test. For example, your goal is to solve the first 20 problems. You need to read solutions to all starred problems, and all problems that you got wrong. For the problems that you skipped, I would suggest you look at the beginning of the solution to get a hint and then work a bit on your own trying to figure out how to finish it. It is very useful to go over multiple solutions on the AoPS website. While the first solution is often considered the best one, there are frequently excellent solutions that are further in the list and you might prefer them or learn useful techniques from them.

Consider working on the practice tests a math course in creative problem solving. Good luck!