IDEA MATH Houston: Winter 2016 FAQ

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Q1: What is the difference between the Houston program and the San Jose program?

A1: The Houston program still provides all levels of courses, but it is shorter than the San Jose program and it covers the highlights of the material. If you live in the area near Houston (and, in particular, have not been to an IDEA MATH winter program before), we highly recommend you start out with the Houston program. It is meant to be a solid boost for students who are interested in contest math.

Q2: Is the winter program suitable for students who are trying extracurricular contest-style math for the first time?

A2: Yes. Our entry level classes provide a good starting point for developing problem-solving and foundational math skills. If students enjoy the program, we encourage them to pursue their interests. There are many available opportunities for this, such as the IDEA MATH summer program.

Q3: What are the IDEA MATH winter programs about? What makes them different from the summer programs?

A3: The IDEA MATH winter programs focus more on contest preparation by providing daily mock exams to prepare for the AMC/AIME/Olympiads. These mock exams tend to be more challenging than the actual tests, because we want our students to be well-prepared for a difficult contest. Around half of the problems are completely new, while the other half are carefully selected and reformulated from previous contests. Our mock test writing team has superb problem-writing experience, and their tests provide the best possible practice for students who are training for contests. Our instructors also review every mock test with the students, and our grading staff provides prompt feedback on their solutions.

Q4: What is the difference between the IDEA MATH winter programs and online test prep materials?

A4: The IDEA MATH winter programs have daily mock exams that are created by experienced past and present contest writers. (See A3 for more information about this.) In addition, being in an immersive classroom environment provides the valuable resources of a teacher, who can guide the students, and other peers that students can work with and learn from.

Q5: How does IDEA MATH ensure that students will get the most out of the program?

A5: Based on academic background (age, grade, math courses taken, past contests) and official scores from past exams, we will place students into appropriately challenging courses. Throughout the program, we use daily tests to gauge whether there is a need for finer adjustments to their placement.