IDEA MATH Winter Program at Lexington High School (AMC 123)

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General Information

Location: Lexington High School, 251 Waltham Street, Lexington, MA 02421

When:  Jan. 13, 14, 20, 21, 2018

Who: Students in 6th to 12th grade in school year 2017 - 2018.

Who are the teachers? Led by Dr. Zuming Feng, former USA Math Olympiad Team leader and current head coach for decades at Philips Exeter Academy's math club, our instructors have extensive mathematics competition backgrounds, either as longtime coaches or as contest winners themselves. Most of them have served on the MATHCOUNTS, AMC 8, AMC 10/12, AIME, or Olympiad committees for years. Our instructors teach vital ideas and provide meaningful examples to guide students through the problem-solving process.

What: The winter program is an intensive program specifically geared towards preparing students for upcoming math competitions. In addition to learning important mathematical concepts and problem-solving skills, the students will also develop critical test-taking skills, such as learning how to work under time pressure and avoid costly mistakes.

In broad strokes, the classes will be organized by the specific contest level, from AMC, AIME, to USAMO, and each class will hold several mock exams that closely track the difficulty of the respective contests. By taking these exams and discussing them with their peers afterwards, the students will not only improve their test-taking performance, but also further their mathematical knowledge and problem solving skills.

Despite the program's intensity, we wish to emphasize that the AMC 123 program is not a viable substitute for the summer/weekend/online IDEA MATH programs: the AMC123 program is meant to complement the other programs, not replace them. Due to the limited time we have, the program will not be as comprehensive or holistic as the other programs, and will instead be more focused on contest-taking. Thus, we strongly advise students of the AMC 123 program to also enroll in either the year-long programs or the summer program.

Why?  IDEA MATH provides in-depth enrichment in important mathematical areas, particularly in the fields from which contests problems are drawn: algebra, combinatorics, geometry, and number theory. We believe students learn best by discovering, rather than simply memorizing, essential theorems and techniques. Our process puts students at the center of the classes, as students work together to develop their ideas. Our instructors lead this process by teaching vital ideas, giving meaningful examples, and guiding students through the problem-solving process.

How?  We apply seminar-style teaching in our classes. Class sizes are small to ensure that students receive plenty of individual attention. Students are expected to work as a group and present their solutions and ideas to the class.

What are some unique strengths of IDEA MATH that distinguish it from other (summer/winter/online/weekend) math programs?

The first and one of the most critical and unique assets that IDEA MATH has is its curriculum and teaching materials. IDEAMATH's print-outs, practice tests, and other teaching materials are inspired by a compilation of over a decade of training materials of Phillips Exeter Academy math team, one of the nation's strongest. Not only does the material cover a wide breadth of topics, it is also structured in a clean and thoughtful way, optimized by years of teaching and training. From the basic topics, such as introductory algebra, counting, and geometry, to complex and deeper materials at the Olympiad level and beyond, IDEAMATH's unique teaching material provides the firm ground work for instructors to design a more effective and structured curriculum.

The second and equally unique asset is IDEAMATH's strong team of experienced teachers. IDEAMATH's instructors consist of front-line teachers, math team coaches, and former students of the program, all of whom have taught middle school and high school students for several years. As a testament to the flexibility and strength of our teaching, IDEAMATH does not have an entrance exam: we are confident that we can find an appropriate place in our extensive curriculum to fit any student, regardless of his/her background. Our teaching staff is attentive of each student's unique learning style, and will work to tailor each class depending on his or her specific needs. For more information about IDEAMATH's instructors and their credentials, please visit

Finally, the third unique asset of IDEAMATH is its emphasis on culture and behavior. While learning mathematics is the primary focus of the program, it certainly is not its only goal. Instead, the program pays special effort to cultivate in each student an attitude conducive to learning. It is our philosophy that in the long run, cultivating a good mindset far outweighs the benefit of learning a specific material. Simply put, when a student learns a mathematical knowledge, it will serve him/her through out his/her school years. When a student learns how to be a good learner, it will serve the student for the rest of his/her life.

Concretely, IDEAMATH instructors guide students not to brag about their achievements and rush ahead, but rather to develop patience and maturity. Students are expected to, at the guidance of the instructors, become teachers themselves by helping their peers. This way, not only does the student develop a deeper understanding of the material, he/she also gains leadership and maturity that will enrich his/her learning experience.

Students Information

Student Conduct Guideline

Please review the IDEA MATH Handbook, General Student Conduct Guidelines, Student Academic Guidelines, below for general expectations of students and staff.


General Student Conduct Guideline

Student Academic Guidelines

Daily schedule:

   9:00 A.M. - 9:30 A.M.    Students drop off
   9:30 A.M. - 12:30 P.M.    Morning classes
   12:30 P.M. - 1:30 P.M.    Lunch and free time
(lunch are not included)
   1:30 P.M. - 4:30 P.M.    Afternoon classes
   4:30 P.M. - 4:45 P.M.    Students pick up

(1) In the morning, we will work on mock tests of varying level of difficulties, followed by test discussions. These mock tests will consist of newly edited problems (by our staff) every year.

(2) In the afternoon, we will study and analyze classical contest problems -- these problems are highly selected by our staff and carefully edited to span topics and difficulty levels. This selection of problems will differ year by year. These problems are gems from contests that were given in a few chosen years (for each upcoming winter program, these chosen years will be different from each other) spanning a few decades.

Courses Offered

AMC 123 program is designed to sharpen the studentsí skills for upcoming nationwide middle school and high school mathematic competitions. We offer a series courses for students of varying mathematical backgrounds. As the winter program spans but a week, the courses will have a focus on the application of mathematical concepts and problem-solving to competitions. To that end, the different levels of courses will be aligned with the AMC/AIME/USAMO competition series; through participation in and discussion of mock exams of these difficulty levels, students will develop contest-taking habits along with mathematical knowledge and problem-solving.

Course list:

PW1 Goal: A solid job on AMC8 and MathCounts school/chapter round
PWX Goal: A pleasant start on AMC10 and a solid job on MathCounts chapter/state round Targeted group: if the student (1) has successfully completed PCX; or (2) is successfully completing the first half of PCX or UC1 online courses; or (3) as a general reference, has an AMC10 score below 90
UW2 Goal: A solid job on AMC10, a pleasant start on AIME, an excellent job on MathCounts chapter/state round Targeted group: if the student (1) has successfully completed UC1 or UC2; or (2) is successfully completing the first half of UC2 online course; or (3) as a general reference, has an AMC10 score in 90 to 105 range
UW3 Goal: A solid job on AMC10/12, a solid job on AIME, an excellent job on MathCounts state round Targeted group: if the student (1) has successfully completed UC2; or (2) is successfully completing the first half of UC3 online course; or (3) as a general reference, has an AMC10/12 score around AIME cutoff and AIME score in the 3-5 range
RW1 Goal: An excellent job on AMC10/12 and AIME Targeted group: if the student (1) has successfully completed UC3; or (2) is successfully completing the first half of RC1 online course; or (3) as a general reference, can consistently qualify for AIME and with an USAJMO/USAMO index (AMC10/12 score + 10* AIME score) in the range about 180 to 210
RW2 Goal: An excellent job on AMC10/12 and AIME and a pleasant start on USAMO Targeted group: if the student (1) has successfully completed RC1 or RCX or MO1; or (2) is successfully completing the first half of MO1 online course; or (3) as a general reference, has a USAJMO/USAMO index around the cutoff (usually, in the range of 210 to 240)
MWX Goal: A solid job on USAJMO/USAMO Targeted group: if the student (1) has successfully completed MO1 or MO2; or (2) is successfully completing the first half of MO2 online course; or (3) as a general reference, can consistently qualify for USAJMO/USAMO and has done non-trivial work on the USAMO/USAJMO
MWY Goal: An excellent job on USAJMO/USAMO Targeted group: if the student has strong USAJMO/USAMO experience Ė that is, can consistently solve 3 or more problems

The above lists consists of projected courses we offer in this program. Two of the major strengths of our program -- a strong academic team and a full range of materials -- allow us to provide proper new courses/groups to meet the needs of the student body

Some courses might run multiple sections -- we do our best to make sure our classes are small in size.

Starting in early December, we review enrolled students' academic backgrounds and work with them on course placement. The purpose is to group students with similar backgrounds together, and our teachers will find proper materials to work with each group/section. It is important for each student to input detailed and updated information (age, grade level, math courses taken, OFFICIAL contest scores, etc.) into their student accounts. This information will help us to make initial course placements. During the winter program, each class has multiple mock tests daily. Based on studentsí work on the mock tests in the first day, we will adjust studentsí course placements. Based on studentsí work through the program, we might make further limited fine adjustments on studentsí placements. Note that IDEA MATH staff will make the final decision on each studentís course placement.

Payment Schedule

Registration Completed by All 4 days All 2 days** Any 1 day
Dec. 20, 2017 $595 $315 $195
Dec. 31, 2017 $635 $345 $215
Jan. 3, 2018 $685 $385 $245

Note: Lunch is not included. However, PIZZA will be ordered and students can pay to get the PIZZA.

** Students can pick any two days of our 4 day program, or mornings, or afternoons.

Tuition Refund Policy

Withdraw Request Made by Refund Amount
Before Dec. 30, 2017 Paid Tuition - $100
Before Jan. 3, 2018 aid Tuition * 80% - $100
Before Jan. 6, 2018 Paid Tuition * 50% - $100
After class starts No refund