About AoPS Academy
History & Philosophy
Art of Problem Solving textbooks have been used by outstanding students since 1993. The AoPS website launched in 2003, and its online community now has over one million users. Many of the winners of each year's International Math Olympiad use the AoPS site as a primary training resource. The AoPS Online school has over 20,000 enrollments annually in courses specifically designed for high-performing math students. Most of the winners of major American national math competitions are AoPS alumni, and thousands of our alumni enroll in top universities each year.
With AoPS Academy, Art of Problem Solving brings its curriculum and pedagogical techniques to the classroom, offering advanced math, science, and language arts courses for grades 2-12.
AoPS Academy is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Focus on Challenging Problems
A generation ago, there were many intellectual careers that required repeatedly solving routine problems. Most of those jobs are performed by computers now. Successful people in the next generation will need to develop new skills throughout their careers as their older skills become obsolete. Therefore, we go well beyond the basics in our classes, providing students a deep and rigorous curriculum while training students how to tackle difficult problems that are not replicas of problems they've already seen. This teaches students how to learn, so they'll be ready for the challenges of top-tier colleges and internationally competitive careers.
Students best learn how to solve hard problems by tackling the problems themselves, not by watching passively as others do the work. In our classrooms, students solve each problem, with instructors asking motivating questions as guidance. Only after the students have solved a problem does the instructor provide direct commentary that reinforces key insights.
Outstanding Peer Group
AoPS Academy draws strong students from many schools, giving AoPS students an outstanding peer group with whom they can learn, form friendships, and draw inspiration. Each year, the AoPS network has many students earn admission to highly selective colleges like MIT, Harvard, and Stanford. Their work in AoPS classes helps prepare them for the competitive, challenging environment they'll find in these schools.
Collaborative efforts have become crucial in most professional environments, so AoPS is expanding to language arts instruction through AoPS Academy. We extend this emphasis on communication to our math and science classes, in which students learn how to express their advanced mathematical ideas and scientific understanding clearly and rigorously.
Meet Some AoPS Alumni
For the past decade and a half, most of the winners of the USA Mathematical Olympiad have been AoPS students. The twelve 2019 USA Mathematical Olympiad winners shown above collectively took over 110 classes at the Art of Problem Solving Online School. The students on the the United States teams that won the International Mathematical Olympiad in 2015, 2016, and 2018 also collectively took over 110 classes with us. Photo is courtesy of the Mathematical Association of America, distributed under a CC license.
Melody earned the prestigious International Physics Olympiad Bronze medal, International Chemistry Olympiad Silver medal, and the International Biology Olympiad Gold medal, all while representing Canada. She is also a two-time winner of the Math Prize for Girls Olympiad Bronze medal and was invited to the Canadian International Math Olympiad Training Camp in 2012. Melody graduated from Harvard University in 2016 with a B.A. in Honors Chemistry and Physics as well as an M.A. in Statistics. She maintained an overall GPA of 4.0 while pursuing both degrees. While at Harvard, Melody pursued opportunities as a Proprietary Trading Intern for D.E. Shaw & Co. and as a member of the Douglas Melton Laboratory developing assays to quantify insulin production by stem-cells. Following graduation, Melody joined the Google Brain research team as a deep learning resident.
Luke has been studying math with AoPS since 2012. He came in second in National MATHCOUNTS in 2016 before winning in 2017 and 2018. He has also taken the USAMO five times and the USAJMO once, won the 2018 Harvard-MIT Math Tournament (HMMT), the 2018 American Regions Math League, and took home a silver medal at the 2019 Romanian Master of Mathematics competition. Luke has been invited to the Math Olympiad Program three times and was also a 2017 Spirit of Ramanujan Math Talent Initiative Winner. He likes eating pizza and says that one of the best things about math competitions is that "elegant math is fun to do."
Celine was a USA Mathematical Olympiad winner in 2015 and was a team member of the United States team that won the Romanian Masters in Mathematics competition in 2016. She has attended the Math Olympiad Summer Program twice, won first place at the Math Prize for Girls in 2014, and won the Wendy Ravech Akamai Mathematics Scholar Award in 2015. She was a gold medalist in the USA Physics Olympiad in 2014 and 2015, and was invited to the Summer Program in Applied Rationality and Cognition (SPARC) at Berkeley. Celine was also a top-10 finisher in National MATHCOUNTS and was a member of the first place California team in 2011. She has taught at a variety of programs for younger students, and participates in the DACA competitive swim team, tennis, violin, and piano.
Espen has taken 22 different AoPS Online courses, as well as attending classes at the Berkeley Math Circle, where he is now an instructor. He is currently interested in graph theory and has published research through the MIT PRIMES/AoPS Crowdmath project, as well as winning Project of the Year at the 2018 California Science and Engineering Festival for his college-level work in mathematics. He is both a 2018 World Science Scholar and a winner of the 2017 Spirit of Ramanujan Math Talent Initiative. Espen also took the 2018 USAJMO and won a bronze medal at the USA Physics Olympiad (USAPhO). In his spare time, he enjoys talking about math with other enthusiasts and playing board games, especially Risk.
Maria Monks Gillespie
Dr. Maria Monks Gillespie got her start in mathematics through competitions and programs such as AoPS. A two-time MOSP qualifier, she studied mathematics at MIT, where she wrote six undergraduate research papers and was awarded the Alice T. Schafer Prize and the Morgan Prize for her work. She was a recipient of the Churchill, NSF, and Hertz graduate fellowships, and recently completed her Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley. She is now an NSF postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Gillespie has taught in the AoPS Online School, as well as MOSP, IDEA MATH, Girls' Angle, and the Duluth REU over the last eight years. Most recently, she and her family founded Prove it! Math Academy, a two-week summer program for high school students designed to bridge the gap between computational and proof-based mathematics.
Evan discovered Art of Problem Solving in middle school, after hearing about Alcumus. In 2014, he earned the second-highest score in the USA Mathematical Olympiad (USAMO)—the same year that he won a gold medal on the Taiwanese team at the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). Evan can be found learning and teaching math all over the place: on the AoPS Community, at MIT (where he earned his BS in math, and where he is now in the PhD program), and at the Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program (MOP), where he has been a grader and is now the Assistant academic director. In his spare time, Evan enjoys playing games and blogging.
Elissa is currently working on her Ph.D. in computer science at the University of Maryland, where her research interests include subjects such as cybersecurity, survey methodology, and machine learning. She has been awarded the prestigious Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation, the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship from the Department of Defense, and the Facebook Fellowship. Elissa has presented her research at conferences held by The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, The Association for Computing Machinery, and The USENIX Association. She has written for Scientific American and The Conversation, and her work has been covered by the Maryland Cybersecurity Center as well as TechRepublic.
Arjun has participated in math research and math competitions and values the opportunities he's had to explore topics he loves with like-minded peers. In high school, he won third place at the 2017 Regeneron Science Talent Search for his research in network theory. He has also taken the USAMO and USAJMO, won prizes at the Intel International Science and Engineering Festival (IISEF), and was awarded a 2017 Davidson Fellowship for his research. Of all the kinds of math problems in the world, Arjun most enjoys probability—especially problems whose “solutions contradict your initial intuitions.” He is currently taking courses in math, computer science, and economics at Stanford.
Blythe grew up exploring logic puzzles and games with her family. She read the Art of Problem Solving in fifth or sixth grade and took AoPS Online classes through middle and high school. Blythe's wide-ranging curiosity led her to conduct award-winning environmental research near where she grew up. She is now majoring in math at Duke University. Although she used to like that there was just one answer to most of the math problems she encountered, she now loves the complexity of research math and is delighted by how much she has yet to learn. In her free time, Blythe loves writing, reading, and paying attention to patterns, interactions, and relationships of all kinds.
Alfredo Alef Pineda Reyes
Alfredo represented Mexico at the 2017 International Mathematical Olympiad, earning a silver medal. He also received the highest silver medal score at the 2017 Iberoamerican Mathematical Olympiad, as well as back-to-back bronze medals at the 2016 and 2017 Asia Pacific Mathematics Olympiad. In the Summer of 2017, Alfredo was invited to the first ever European Summer Program on Rationality (ESPR), an immersive summer workshop for mathematically talented students from around the globe. When not competing in the international math competition circuit, Alfredo enjoys reading and swimming. He hopes to attend MIT where he’d like to study pure mathematics.
Girish encountered Art of Problem Solving for the first time in seventh grade, when he joined his middle school’s MATHCOUNTS team. In high school, besides doing graduate-level math research through MIT’s PRIMES program, Girish also earned a perfect score on the 2013 USA Mathematical Talent Search (USAMTS), attended the Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program (MOP) in 2014, and achieved honors on the USAMO, USACO, and other science and math competitions. He earned a BS in computer science and mathematics from MIT and is currently a quantitative trader at New York’s Seven Eight Capital. Girish’s advice to younger students who like math is not to get discouraged: “every time I failed, I learned a very valuable lesson.”
Davie was a USA Mathematical Olympiad winner in 2008, and credits much of his early math education to AoPS. He also attended the highly-selective Research Science Institute (RSI) summer program for high school students. He graduated from MIT in 2012 with a double major in mathematics and music, after which he became an instructor in the AoPS Online School. He spent a year in Berlin studying under a Fulbright grant, and then returned to MIT to pursue a Ph.D. in discrete math. When he's not doing math or singing, Davie plays word games, hikes, and studies moths (which are, after all, not dissimilar to maths).
Francisco represented Puerto Rico twice at National MATHCOUNTS. During high school, Francisco was a member of the Puerto Rico team at the Central American Math Olympiad and Iberoamerican Mathematical Olympiad, winning medals twice at each event. In 2015 and 2016, he earned bronze medals at the International Mathematical Olympiad. He also participated in the first summer of the EuroSPARC (now ESPR) program. He was a frequent contributor to the AoPS Online Community, spending most of his time solving problems and posting problems from competitions, and now works for AoPS as a teaching assistant and grader. Outside of math, Francisco enjoys singing in his a capella group, fantasy sports, and listening to hip-hop. He is currently in his sophomore year at MIT studying computer science.
Derek took his first AoPS class, Introduction to Counting & Probability, when he was eight. He earned a perfect score on the 2017 AMC 8 and in 2018 was one of fewer than 250 students invited to take the USA Junior Mathematical Olympiad (USAJMO). He is also a winner of the Spirit of Ramanujan Talent Initiative, a global math outreach program that connects promising students with opportunities for advancement. In his spare time, Derek likes hanging out with friends, solving and creating puzzles, and building modular origami models. When he grows up, Derek dreams of becoming a chemist so that he can keep solving interesting problems.
Juan Carlos Ortiz Rhoton
Juan represented Mexico at the International Mathematical Olympiad four times, earning one gold and two silver medals. He also earned a gold medal at the Asian-Pacific Mathematical Olympiad, and a gold medal with a perfect score at the Iberoamerican Mathematical Olympiad. He attended the prestigious Summer Program in Applied Rationality and Cognition (SPARC) at Berkeley, and is currently studying mathematics at MIT.
Meet Our Curriculum Designers
Art of Problem Solving was founded by Richard Rusczyk in 2003 to create interactive educational opportunities for avid math students. Richard is one of the co-authors of the Art of Problem Solving classic textbooks, author of Art of Problem Solving's Introduction to Algebra, Introduction to Geometry, and Precalculus textbooks, co-author of Art of Problem Solving's Intermediate Algebra and Prealgebra, one of the co-creators of the Mandelbrot Competition, and a past Director of the USA Mathematical Talent Search. He was a participant in National MATHCOUNTS, a three-time participant in the Math Olympiad Summer Program, and a USA Mathematical Olympiad winner (1989). He received the World Federation of National Mathematics Competitions Paul Erdös Award in 2014. He graduated from Princeton University in 1993, and worked as a bond trader for D.E. Shaw & Company for four years. AoPS marks Richard's return to his vocation - educating motivated students.
Dave joined AoPS in 2004. He is the author of Art of Problem Solving's Introduction to Counting & Probability, Intermediate Counting & Probability, and Calculus textbooks, and co-author of Prealgebra. Dave earned the sole perfect score on the American High School Mathematics Examination (AHSME) in 1988 and was a USA Mathematical Olympiad winner that year. He attended the Research Science Institute (RSI) in 1987, and the Math Olympiad Summer Program in 1988, where he first met fellow student Richard Rusczyk. He also finished in the top 10 on the Putnam exam in 1991. Dave graduated from Carnegie Mellon in 1992 with a BS in Mathematics/Computer Science and an MS in Mathematics. He went on to earn his Ph.D. in mathematics from MIT in 1997. He was an acting Assistant Professor at the University of Washington from 1997 to 2001. Dave is originally from Western New York and is an alumnus of the SUNY Buffalo Gifted Math Program.
Jason joined AoPS in 2010 to lead development of the Beast Academy series. Before joining AoPS, he taught mathematics and coached the math team at Ligon Middle School. Ligon won state MATHCOUNTS titles in 2008 and 2009, where Jason taught a future International Math Olympiad gold medalist. In addition to teaching and coaching at Ligon, Jason coached the math team at Fred Carnage Middle School for the 2009-2010 school year. Ligon and Carnage placed 1st and 2nd respectively in the state MATHCOUNTS competition in 2010, with 6 of the state's top 10 competitors coached by Jason. While teaching, Jason wrote and published Competition Math for Middle School. He enjoys puzzles, running, skiing, and playing in the pool with his kids Parker and Ada.
During the school year classes meet weekly, bringing together small groups of high-performing students to work with outstanding instructors. Our summer courses keep students sharp for the upcoming school year.
The AoPS Academy curriculum is carefully designed to prepare students for the rigors of advanced university classes and highly competitive careers. We stress both the fundamentals and extending those fundamentals to advanced applications in all of our math, science, and language arts classes. Students develop a deep understanding of new concepts, and learn how to use them in complex situations.
AoPS Academy instructors are chosen based both on proven domain expertise as well as their pedagogical skills. Many of our instructors have advanced degrees, and our curriculum is designed by experts in their fields.
Our math curriculum is centered on students solving problems. Rather than spoon-feed students material for them to echo, we guide them through the experience of developing new mathematical ideas. Our focus on rigor provides a thorough understanding of the fundamentals, while our approach to creative problem-solving trains students to handle novel mathematical and scientific situations. Graduates of our math program will be well-prepared to continue their math-related studies at outstanding universities, and be equipped for a rapidly-shifting professional landscape. Each class session includes:
- Extensions of past topics: Students solve challenging problems based on the previous week’s material, both to review recent topics and to hone their problem-solving abilities.
- Introduction of new fundamentals: Students explore a series of problems to add new strategies and tools to their toolboxes.
- Challenging problems: Students reinforce their understanding of their new tools by applying them to more difficult problems, some of which are drawn from major national and international contests.
- Collaborative problem-solving: Occasionally groups of students work together on particularly challenging problems, with successful groups presenting their solutions to the class.
AoPS Academy classes aren't confined to the classroom. Our classes employ many of the online resources that have been cornerstones of the AoPS online school for over a decade. Our Academic Year math courses include the following support material outside the classroom:
- Weekly homework: Students have a weekly homework set including problems with a wide range of difficulty. Students receive instant feedback on the accuracy of their work, and have access to detailed solutions after finishing each problem.
- Weekly reminder emails: Students and parents receive weekly emails detailing the students' progress and upcoming due dates.
- Thorough reporting: Students and parents can view detailed reports regarding students' performance.
- Class outlines: Students can access class outlines online. Outlines are linked to reading material, so students can review past classes, prepare for future classes, and catch up when they miss classes.
- AoPS textbooks: All students receive AoPS textbooks and have assigned reading each week in support of the weekly lesson.
Our first physics class is for students who have a good understanding of Algebra 1 and want to learn more about the world around them. Our growing science program is designed to teach students to ask questions about the physical world and to design experimental frameworks to answer those questions. We use a hands-on approach to teach scientific thinking and prepare students for future study of many types of science.
Language Arts Courses
Our core language arts classes in grades 2-12 teach students both the craft and art of effective communication. Instruction focuses on multiple components of writing, building from the fundamentals to give students a deep appreciation of language. Graduates of our language arts program will be fluent writers and excellent critical readers. They'll develop these skills by starting from words, progressing to sentences, and then organizing these sentences into well-constructed paragraphs, essays, and stories.
Class sessions include instruction in three broad areas:
- Vocabulary: Expressing oneself and understanding intricate writing starts with a mastery of the basic building blocks of language: words. Our study of vocabulary extends far beyond simply memorizing definitions. We emphasize the stems, origins, and other tools to help students develop a rich palette from which they can choose the right word at the right time.
- Grammar: Our students learn grammar by studying passages from classic literature and other primary sources, through which they learn how to comprehend complex passages. They then learn how to apply this understanding to their own writing to produce well-structured, effective prose.
- Writing: All of our core language arts instruction targets students' writing skills. Our students write, analyze, edit, and then write some more. Rewriting is at the heart of excellent writing, so many of our writing assignments are spread over several weeks, with students revisiting and refining their own work based on instructor feedback and in-class discussion of their work.
Summer learning loss is a well-documented educational concern, with students regularly losing proficiency in math and reading during their idle summer months. AoPS Academy offers summer classes in math and language arts to keep students sharp and get them prepared for the upcoming school year. Our math and language arts summer programs include a variety of two-week camps featuring activity-based learning designed to pique students’ curiosity and keep them engaged.
Our summer Math Beasts camps extend topics that students learned in the past year and allow students to explore new areas of math. Each camp features Problem Solving and Mathematical Exploration:
- Problem Solving: In Problem Solving, students review a key topic from the previous year and then explore that topic further, pushing their understanding well beyond grade level. Students engage with Problem Solving through math-related games and puzzles, challenging activities that call for group collaboration, and intriguing problems that encourage students to think in novel ways as they apply new skills.
- Mathematical Exploration: Through our Mathematical Explorations, students encounter new topics that are typically not introduced until much later in their schooling, and mathematical strategies they can apply throughout their education. This year, our camps will take on a variety of topics including spatial reasoning, pattern recognition, working backwards, invariance, graph theory, and cryptography.
Our Middle School Math Contests and High School Math Contests camps are excellent fits for students seeking to prepare for contests like MATHCOUNTS and the American Mathematics Competitions–or for students who simply want an extra challenge over the summer. In these camps, students are introduced to important new topics while reviewing and applying concepts they have already encountered to advanced problems. Students also participate in practice individual and team competitions, gaining both mathematical skills and test-taking experience that will prepare them for key events in the upcoming school year.
Our first science camp, Waves and Sound for Grades 5-6, is a great choice for students who are curious about how the world works. Using scientific problem-solving methods, students will study the types and properties of waves, how sound waves interact with human hearing, and a surprising number of other wave phenomena in the natural world.
Our writing camps provide a venue for students to hone their writing and critical thinking skills over the summer. In Creative Writing for Grades 3-4, students learn the craft of fiction while composing their own short stories and poems alongside their classmates. Classes feature a mix of interactive writing activities and engaging lessons in the elements of storytelling and poetry. Our Academic Essay Writing for Grades 8-10 camp introduces students to the craft of essay writing at a college level. In addition to teaching students how to plan and write an academic essay, the camp explores the purpose behind such essays, examining their role both in academic settings and in the real world. By thinking critically about academic writing as an intellectual pursuit, students become not just better writers but deeper thinkers.
Our reading and performance camps help students develop critical reading and thinking skills while polishing their presentation skills. Readers Theater for Grades 4-5 guides students through a challenging novel while training students to write, rehearse, and perform their own plays. Students in Mock Trial: Persuasive Speaking for Grades 7-8 explore a Newbery Honor Book by acclaimed children's author Avi, and then prepare for a mock civil case based on events in the book. Through their preparations, they learn the arts of clear and concise writing, argumentation, and public speaking.