IDEA MATH 2019 - 2020 Winter/Math Contest Preparation Program at San Jose, California

Registration open!

Location?  10268 Bandley Drive, Cupertino, CA 95014

When?  Dec. 26 - Dec. 31, 2019 detailed daily schedule

Please Note: We have group rate from local hotel for our students traveling from outside San Jose area . Once you register to IDEA Contest Preparation program at San Jose, you will get the hotel reservation information in your account.

Who?  Programs are intended for students from the 5th to 12th grades

What  Designed for students focusing on the American Mathematics Contest (AMC), these classes feature mock tests and problem solving strategies tailored to the appropriate exam . 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.

The classes will be organized by the specific contest level from AMC to AIME to USAMO and each class will hold several mock exams that closely track the difficulty of the respective contests. Moreover, the mock exams are targeted to the parts of the test most likely to improve students' scores based on their level. 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 contest preparation is not a viable substitute for the other (year-round, online or summer) IDEA MATH programs: the contest preparation 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 contest preparation program to also enroll in either the year-round 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 Makes Contest Prep/Winter and Contest Preparation from other IDEA Math Programs and Classes?

The Contest Preparation Classes are more intensive and are meant to prepare the students for contests held in the spring, mainly the AMC 10/12, AIME, USAMO and beyond. The curriculum is substantially different to our other programs, they are designed as mock exams with problems similar to these contests. Our curriculum is based in three parts.

1. Prep Tests: Original problems written annually by our staff.

2. Contest Review: These problems are selected specially from national and worldwide contests and rotated on a 10 year cycle. This year, problems will feature the highlights from math contests taken in 1989, 1999, 2009.

3. Winter Projects: These topic-oriented problems will emphasize core skills and techniques. These problem sets are taken from a 2-year rotation.

Courses Offered*

IDEA MATH Contest Preparation program is designed to sharpen the students' 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 90UW2
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 RW2Goal: 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 - 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 students' work on the mock tests in the first day, we will adjust students' course placements. Based on students' work through the program, we might make further limited fine adjustments on students' placements. Note that IDEA MATH staff will make the final decision on each student's course placement.

* All classes will only be offered when minimum students enrolled.

Registration and Tuition Payment Schedule

Registration Completed by* Amount
Dec. 5, 2019 $935
Dec. 10, 2019 $995
Dec. 20**, 2019 $1135

*Registration is ONLY completed when tuition is paid in full.

**The tuition payment is due on this date. Enrollment after this date will depend on space availability and a late fee ($100 or more) will be applied to the tuition.

Please note - The tuition payment is independent to student's course placement because the tuition is for the program, not for a specific course. IDEA MATH staff work with students on course placement by reviewing their academic backgrounds, assigning placement test levels, reviewing placement test work, and more. IDEA MATH staff make the final decision on students' course placements. All tuition refund for withdrawing will be processed based on the refund policy.


Returning students: Students who have attended an IDEA MATH program in the past academic year (i.e. have participated in our 2018-2019 year-round program, 2018-2019 online program or 2019 summer program) can register for the contest prep program directly by logging into their account and registering. Please also make sure your academic information is up to date - iIt is important for returning students to review and update their academic background information at least once a year.

New students: New applicants who wish to register for the contest prep program should create an account and enter information about their mathematical background. All new students are welcome to contact the IDEA Math staff at for information or any questions on which placement test to take.

It is important for each new applicant to answer all questions accurately and provide detailed information. In particular, age, high school graduation year, detailed math background -- courses taken, official contests taken and official scores (rather than ranks) should be included.

To log in or create an account , please click here.


As always, we welcome parents' specific academic questions about our curriculum and teaching styles, as well as students' class-work and preparation. Please contact

Daily Schedule

Dec. 26 - 30, 2019

   9:00 A.M. - 9:30 A.M.  Students drop off
   9:30 A.M. - 12:45 P.M.  Morning classes
   12:45 P.M. - 1:45 P.M.  Lunch and free time
   1:45 P.M. - 5:00 P.M.  Afternoon classes
   5:00 P.M. - 5:30 P.M.  Students pick up

Dec. 31, 2019

   9:00 A.M. - 9:30 A.M.  Students Drop Off
   9:30 P.M. - 1:15 P.M.  Classes
   1:15 P.M. - 1:45 P.M.  Students pick up

* Lunch is included for Dec. 26 - 30.

Tuition Refund Policy

Withdraw Request Made by Refund Amount
Before Dec. 10, 2019 Paid Tuition - $100
Before Dec. 21, 2019 Paid Tuition * 80% - $100
Before Dec. 25, 2019 Paid Tuition * 50% - $100
After class starts No refund

To request a refund and withdraw your student, please send a complete request in writing to You must include the payee name and mailing address matching the information in the student's account in order for your request to be deemed complete and submitted. Please include "Refund Request" and the student's name in the subject line. The amount of the refund will be based on the time that a complete request is submitted; incomplete requests will not be deemed to meet deadlines for withdrawal.

If the student is ill and chooses to withdraw from the program we can offer prorated credit towards a future program. A note from a licensed physician is required. The same policy applies if the IDEA MATH staff determine that your student must withdraw due to illness in order to protect the health and welfare of other students.

For all purposes related to this refund policy, a day shall be deemed to begin at 12:01am local time in the time zone in which the program is being held.