The American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME) is one of the most prestigious and challenging high school math competitions in the world. But how many students actually make it to this elite competition? Let’s take a closer look at the fascinating story that unfolds behind the scenes, where talent, dedication, and the ever-changing landscape of math education all come together.

What is AIME?

More than just a test, the AIME is a ticket to the prestigious USAJMO (United States of America Junior Math Olympiad) and ultimately, the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO).

For those who dare to take it, the AIME is an opportunity to prove themselves and to compete with the best of the best. Since 1970, the AIME has produced some of the most legendary mathematical geniuses, who have changed the face of mathematics.

The numbers game


More than 300,000 students from the U.S. and Canada take on the American Mathematics Competition (AMC) 10/12B, which is the gateway to AIME qualification. The numbers have been steadily increasing in recent years, reflecting the growing interest in the exciting world of math competitions. In 2019, the number of AMC participants reached an all-time high of 325k.

Qualification rate

Now, here’s where the competition gets real. On average, only 5-16% of AMC participants manage to qualify for AIME. That’s somewhere between one in six, and one in 20. That means that only a tiny fraction of the thousands of students who take the AMC will get the chance to compete in the next round. This statistic shows just how difficult the competition is.


The qualification rate for the AIME is flexible. It can fluctuate a bit from year to year, depending on factors like changes to the AMC format and the increasing number of students who take the test. However, one thing that’s remained consistent over the years is that the AIME is an exclusive competition for the mathematical elite.

In recent years, the qualification rate has been hovering around 16%. This is up from the 5% rate that was typical in the early 2000s. The increase in the qualification rate is likely due to the growing popularity of math competitions and the introduction of new AMC formats that are more accessible to a wider range of students.

Despite the increase in the qualification rate, the AIME remains a highly selective competition. This means the overwhelming majority of students will not have the chance to compete in AIME. This makes the AIME a truly elite competition that is reserved for the mathematical cream of the crop.

Beyond the numbers

The story continues beyond just numbers. A deeper look reveals a more nuanced narrative.

Regional variations

The odds of qualifying for the AIME are not the same for everyone. Qualification rates vary significantly based on the region. States with strong math programs and a large number of AMC participants often have higher qualification rates mainly because they have more students who are prepared for the AMC and are therefore more likely to score well enough to qualify for the AIME.


Several factors can influence a student’s ability to qualify for the AIME, including math skills, gender, and socioeconomic background.

Math skills are obviously a key factor in qualifying for the AIME. Students who are strong in math are more likely to be able to complete the qualifying test successfully. However, math skills are not the only factor determining who qualifies for the AIME.

Gender is another factor that can influence AIME qualification. Studies have shown that boys are more likely to qualify for the AIME than girls. This isn’t because boys are better than girls at math, but due to cultural stereotypes that discourage girls from pursuing mathematics.

As a result, AIME qualification is even more valuable, yet no more difficult to achieve, for girls. Learn more about this through this short video about why math competitions matter more for girls.

Socioeconomic background is another factor that can influence AIME qualification. Students from low-income families are less likely to qualify for the AIME than students from high-income families. This is because of a lack of access to quality math education and the financial resources needed to pay for test prep.

Preparation and tutoring

Tutoring has proven itself to be the technique that produces the best results for AIME preparation. Tutoring has helped students improve their math skills, boost their confidence, and expose them to a variety of challenging problems. And if you have access to an excellent tutor, you have an advantage that won’t just over-qualify you for the AIME (provided you work for it) but take you to the top of the STEM field as well.

Be Prepared for a challenging competition

Qualifying for the AIME is not just an achievement; it’s a badge of honor. It’s proof of your deep knowledge of mathematics, your powerful problem-solving skills, and your unstoppable passion for learning. AIME alumni have accomplished amazing things across various fields, from mathematics and science to engineering and beyond.

These kinds of people are not ordinary; they are extraordinary. They excel in tough and demanding environments. They have grit and determination that allows them to overcome challenges and pursue excellence. This is the mindset you must have if you want to compete with the best of the best.

To reach a level of mastery that makes the AIME a yardstick rather than a nightmare, you need this mindset as well as a tutor who can inspire you to achieve your goals. That tutor is at Wes Carroll Tutoring and Coaching.

In a nutshell…

The AIME is not just a test of numbers. It’s a test of character. It’s a test of how you face challenges, how you break boundaries, and how you unleash your potential.

You need more than just a tutor to ace the AIME. You need a mentor. You need someone who can guide you from the basics to the advanced, someone who can help you master every concept and skill, someone who can inspire you to reach your goals. That’s what Wes Carroll Tutoring and Coaching offers.

Students who work with us don’t just excel in the AIME. They excel in life. They don’t just dream of success. They achieve it. If you want to join them, you have to be ready to work hard, to commit, and to learn.

Because the AIME is not just within your reach. It’s your stepping stone.

Let’s begin your journey.