I like math contests for many reasons. Here’s one more reason:

Even the earliest math contests train young students to answer the question that was asked, not the “answer” they came up with. Here are some examples from Math Olympiad, designed for students in grades 4 – 6.

This question asks for the **sum** of the 5 prime numbers:

This question asks for the **least** of these numbers:

This question asks for the **sum** of two numbers:

When students learn this discipline early, they won’t miss key instructions like this one from a practice SAT:A student may get the correct estimate for height at 2 years old or 5 years old, but fail to *answer the question that was asked*.

Careful reading requires practice, and is not something a student sees when all they use are worksheets like this:

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## Published by mathproblemsolvingskills

I coach students preparing for MathCounts and the AMCs, and I teach using curricula published by Art of Problem Solving.
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