Los Angeles Math Circle

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to the LA Math Circle?

  • To participate in the LA Math Circle, you need to register and submit the liability form as part of the registration process.
  • Registration is a three step-process: (1) Select your login name for this web site and enter parent information; (2) Enter information for your child or children; and (3) Fill out a registration form to apply for enrollment in a specific group for a specific quarter.  You only have to perform steps (1) and (2) once.  You need to renew your registration (step (3)) every quarter.
  • The program is open to all students interested in mathematics and eager to learn.  However, due to high enrollment, students wishing to attend LAMC may be initially placed on a waitlist.
  • A new group (Early Elementary group) for students in grades 1 and 2 is started every other year (in the odd years, i.e., 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, etc.). All the applicants have to take an assessment. We admit the highest scoring students into two Early Elementary groups. Once admitted, students in good standing continue as a group from year to year. Thus, we have very few openings for older students.
  • Due to the very high demand, there is a waiting list for most groups. Please fill out application in details providing evidence of your child's interest, achievement and potential in mathematics. To place yourself on the wait list for a specific group, apply for enrollment in that group.   Enrollment priority is given to students who have applied for the second year in a row and/or have an older sibling already attending the Math Circle. 
  • If a spot for your child becomes available during the school year, we will let you know immediately.
  • Due to high demand and to increase effectiveness of the program, we require all circle students to attend regularly. If you miss two meetings in a row without notifying us and without having a serious reason, we will view this  as dropping out from the program. Your spot will be offered to the next child on the waiting list immediately.

When and where does the Math Circle meet? When should I start attending?

  • The Math Circle meets on Sundays throughout the school year at UCLA. There will be 10 meetings in each of the three quarters (Fall, Winter and Spring). 
  • The meetings are two-hour long for  the older groups and one-hour long for younger students. Please consult the circle calendar for the meeting dates. 
  • You will receive an e-mail stating whether you have been enrolled or placed on a waitlist after submitting your registration application. Please do not start attending the math circle until you are officially admitted. Only officially enrolled students can be in the classroom. 

Is there are a fee for the LA Math Circle?

  • LA Math Circle is currently free to the students. However, parents' support in the form a tax-deductable donation remains essential to maintain the high quality of the program. While we currently recieve funding from an NSF grant (and in the past had mini-grants from Boeing and Raytheon), these funds are not sufficient to fully cover our expenses. The main expenses include salaries of the graduate student instructors, undergraduate and graduate student docents, circle director's salary and invited speakers honoraria.
  • The suggested amount of donation is $200 per student per quarter. Donations at this level allow us to cover our funding needs and maintain the high quality of the program. A donation can be made online using your credit card or by check made out to UCLA Foundation. Please see the Support Us Page for more information.  Of course, we welcome donations in any amount, no matter how large or small. Please note that  a donation is not required and is not a condition for enrollment.

What do I need to bring to the circle meeting?

  • Please bring a binder where you can put all the handouts, scratch paper, pencils and erasers. No calculators are needed. If any other materials are required for a specific session, we will let you know by e-mail prior to the meeting.

How do I decide which group of the Math Circle I should start attending?

  • While there are always exceptional cases,  most students should sign up for the group which is appropriate for their school grade. A list of available groups and recommended placements is shown to you at registration time.  Many math circle children are taking advanced mathematics courses at their schools or through online classes and are working above grade-level; this is factored into recommended placement.  In other words, if your child is in grade 3 and is doing 5th grade math, you should sign up for the group that is recommended for third-graders (in this case, Junior Circle).  If needed, students can be moved by upon teacher's recommendation.

Am I prepared to come to the Math Circle? What if I don’t understand some the material presented?

  • As we do not have a selection process, our participants vary greatly in their age, preparation, experience and ability. We prepare the sessions for each of the groups keeping in mind what we know about regular participants of the group. Thus, we usually have a problem set where difficulty of the problems varies from easy to hard, with the idea that all the participants can work productively. You should not expect to understand everything and be able to solve all the problems, especially if you are just starting in the program. You can always talk to your group instructor or a docent working with you closely if you have more specific questions.

Does the Los Angeles Math Circle prepare students for math competitions? What competitions do you offer?

  • Since our sessions mostly consist of problem solving, you are definitely practicing skills necessary in competitions. In addition, we organize several targeted sessions preparing students for  AMC 8, AMC 10, AMC 12, AIME, and Math Kangaroo throughout the year.
  • We will be a site of AMC 8, AMC 10&12, AIME (for those who qualify), USA Math Olympiad (for those who qualify), Math Kangaroo. If there is sufficient interest from strong students, we will organize participation in BAMO (Bay Area Math Olympiad). We will also be sending a team of (mostly high school) students to CHHMC (Caltech Harvey Mudd Math Competition)  in the Fall.

How do you deal with a wide age and level range in each of the groups?

  • In each of the group, there are several docents (undergraduate and graduate students) who are present at each session. Their function is to provide individual attention to circle’s participants in small groups. The age and level range within a small group is usually much more consistent and allows the docent to have an effective dialog with the participants. At each session, we provide students with a list of problems on the topic of the day. The difficulty of the problems in the set may vary greatly. Our expectations for the “younger” and “older” students within the group are different and take into account their age and preparation.