Back in the 1990s, a group of 3 college friends who had met during the Math Olympiad Summer Program, created a new math contest which they called the Mandelbrot. The first year of the competition didn’t go so well, so the trio decided to write their own math book to help students think deeper in math. That book is what we now call Volume 1 in the Art of Problem Solving series.

** The Art of Problem Solving** is the classic problem solving textbook used by many successful MATHCOUNTS programs. It is not designed to be a curriculum that you can say, “Hey, let me substitute this out for 7th grade math.” Instead, AoPS Volumes 1 & 2: The Basics and Beyond are in-depth workbooks for students in grades 7 – 10 who are preparing to compete in math contests. Volume 1 is great for those just beginning to the competition adventure and Volume 2 is geared for high school kids ready for more of a challenge.

On the surface, it might seem like the books are just a collection of math tricks. But, once you get into reading them and doing the problems, you realize the emphasis focuses on learning and understanding methods rather than memorizing formulas. The result is that students come away with skills to be able to solve large classes of problems beyond what is presented in the book.

**AoPS **is extremely text-heavy, which could be a problem for kids with visual processing or tracking weaknesses. Margins are thin and there just isn’t a whole lot of white space on the pages. The book is black and white and the mathematical images are compact and efficiently sized.

The book’s conversational tone and thorough explanations, however, make up for the lack of visual appeal. You don’t have to be a math whiz to understand what the authors are trying to explain. They introduce a concept, like prime numbers, and then walk you through step-by-step in breaking down how it relates to prime factorization. They also use 3 icons to help readers be aware of tricky and confusing concepts.

If you do decide to use ** AOPS The Basics and Beyond** as a math curriculum, it’s not necessarily the kind of book you just hand off to your kid and say, “Do pages 36 and 37 today.” Instead, you may actually find yourself keeping a notebook as you read through the book out-loud – rewriting the conversational explanations in a math friendly format.

A Solutions Manual demonstrates the full process for deriving each answer for every problem.

**Volume 1: The Basics**

Exponents and Logarithms

Complex Numbers

Linear Equations

Proportions

Using the Integers

Quadratic Equations

Special Factorizations and Clever Manipulations

What Numbers Really Are

An Introduction to Circles

Angles

Triangles, a.k.a. Geometry

Quadrilaterals

Polygons

Angle Chasing

Area

The Power of Coordinates

Power of a Point

Three Dimensional Geometry

Shifts, Turns, Flips, Stretches, and Squeezes

A Potpourri of Geometry

Functions

Inequalities

Operations and Relations

Sequences and Series

Learning to Count

Statistics and Probability

Sets

Prove It

**Volume 2: And Beyond**

Logarithms

Not Just For Right Triangles

More Triangles!

Cyclic Quadrilaterals

Conics and Polar Coordinates

Polynomials

Functions

Taking it to the Limit

Complex Numbers

Vectors and Matrices

Cross Products and Determinants

Analytic Geometry

Equations and Expressions

Inequalities

Combinatorics

Sequences and Series

Counting in the Twilight Zone

Again and Again

Probability Find It and Make It

Collinearity and Concurrency

Geometry Tidbits

Number Theory

Diophantine Equations

Graph Theory

*Date of Review: 05/26/2015*