Six times a year, students at Marlborough sit down and take California Math League (CML) exams, typically starting in Pre-Calculus Honors Accelerated or AP Calculus AB. These exams include six questions, ranging from elementary algebra to complex geometry.
The Math League’s Statement of Purpose says the “key” goal of the exams is “to encourage students to enjoy a challenge and to learn from it to find problem-solving discussion stimulating.”
Anna ’19 started taking CML challenges in her freshman year while taking Algebra II with Trigonometry Honors and agrees that the contests encourage her to have fun in math.
“I like getting them right! It’s fun and you feel really proud of yourself,” Anna said.
She also believes it’s a beneficial break from the fast-paced curriculum of some of the more advanced math classes.
“Everything on it is essentially algebra and geometry-based, so it’s a nice break from doing calculus,” she said. “It’s a different way of approaching math. The problems are a lot more creative than, say, finding the derivative of f(x), so it enforces and encourages creativity in math.”
Math Instructor and Senior Dean Alison Moser agrees that the CML challenges provide a nice opportunity for students to practice different kinds of math.
“Personally, I like the opportunity for students to think about math differently every so often. It’s nice to have a break from curriculum, too, even if only for 30 minutes, six times a year,” Alison said.
Most students are able to solve around three to five of the six problems, and according to Moser, although a score of six is very rare, zeros are as well. Students who participate nationally and perform the highest in each grade level receive a certificate of achievement, which can be added to their resume for college applications.