Revision as of 20:45, 26 August 2017 by Bad math (talk | contribs) (Acronym Correction)

This is a community created list of Frequently Asked Questions about Art of Problem Solving. If you have a request to edit or add a question on this page, please make it here.



Can I change my user name?

As indicated during the time of your registration, you are unable to change your username. However, if you have a strong reason for doing so or if your username contains your real name, you can PM an admin and they will check your account to determine if your username can be changed. Should your username change request be approved, any edits to the AoPSWiki, Reaper results, or any cached content on Google or other search engines will not be changed.

Something looks weird (e.g., blurry, missing line, etc.)

This is likely due to your browser zoom level. Please make sure your zoom level is at 100% for correct rendering of the web page.

Can I make more than one account?

Short answer: No.
Long answer: Multiple accounts (multis) are banned on AoPS. Having more than one account leads to issues of not remembering on what account you did what. Using multiple accounts to "game" the system, (e.g. increase rating for posts or in online games) will lead to bans on all accounts associated to you. If you have already made additional accounts, please choose one account and stop using the others.

What software does Art of Problem Solving use to run the website?

  • Search: Solr
  • Wiki: MediaWiki
  • Asymptote and Latex are generated through their respective binary packages
  • Videos: YouTube
All other parts of the website are custom built.

Can you make an AoPS App?

There are currently no plans to build an app. Any app built would work almost identically to the website, and not be any faster, so there is little value in building an app.


How do I create a forum?

To create an AoPS forum, an user must be on the AoPS community for at least 2 weeks. To create a forum, hover over the community tab, then click "My AoPS." You should now see your avatar, and a list of your friends. Now, click on the "My Forums" tab. There, you would be able to see which forum you moderate or administrate, as well as the private forums you can access. Click on the "+" button at the top right. This should lead you to a forum creating page.

How do I format my post, e.g. bold text, add URLs, etc.?

AoPS is based on a markup language called BBCode. A tutorial of its functions on AoPS and how to use them can be found here.

How do I hide content in the forums?

Wrap the content you want to hide in [hide] tags.
If you want to customize the label, instead of saying "Click here to reveal hidden text", you can do something like:
   [hide=Label to display]Content[/hide]

I got the message "You can not post at this time" when trying to post, why?

New users are not allowed to post messages with URLs and various other things. Once you have five posts you can post normally.

I got the message "Too many messages." when trying to send a private message, why?

To prevent PM spam abuse, users with less than five forum posts are limited to four private messages within a forty-eight hour period.

If I make more posts, it means I'm a better user, right?

Absolutely not. Post quality is far more important than post quantity. Users making a lot of senseless posts are often considered worse users, or spammers.

I have made some posts but my post count did not increase. Why?

When you post in some of the forums, such as the Test Forum, Mafia Forum, Fun Factory, and most user created forums, the post does not count towards your overall post count.

The time the post was posted seems wrong

Posts may say something weird for when posted, "such as 5 minutes ago" or some time in the future when you just posted. This is due to your system clock being incorrect. Please update your system clock to the correct time. Many operating systems have an option to keep the clock accurate automatically. Mac users may wish to check Synchronize your Mac's Clock With A Time Server. You can also check the US offical time.

How does AoPS select moderators?

When a new moderator is needed in the forums, AoPS administrators first check if any current moderators could serve as a moderator of the forum which needs a moderator. Should none be found, AoPS administrators and/or other moderators scour the forum looking for productive users. They may also ask for suggestions from other moderators or trusted users on the site. Once they have pinpointed a possible candidate based on their long term usage of the site, productive posts in the forum, and having no recent behavioral issues, that user is asked if he or she would like to moderate the forum.
Less active forums often have no moderator. Inappropriate posts should be reported by users and administrators will take appropriate action.
AoPS receives MANY requests to be a moderator. As they receive so many, it is possible that you won't get a response should you request to be one. Also, AoPS very rarely makes someone a mod for asking to be one, so please do not ask.

I believe a post needs corrective action. What should I do?

If you believe a post needs moderative action, you may report it by clicking the "!" icon on the upper-right corner of that post. If it's a minor mistake, you may want to PM the offending user instead and explain how they can make their post better. Usually, you shouldn't publicly post such things on a thread itself, which is called "backseat moderation" and is considered rude and unproductive.

How long of a non-commented thread is considered reviving?

If any post is still on-topic and isn't spammy, it isn't considered reviving. However, everyone has a different period of time that they consider reviving. In general, apply common sense.

How do I post images?

While AoPS forums have the ability to attach images, we do not generally recommend doing so, as we can not guarantee the images will be available through upgrades, restorations, etc. We also have limited disk space which causes us to remove attachments from time to time. Therefore, we recommend using a third party image hosting solution. There are many options, but we recommend
  • Go to
  • Click upload images
  • Follow the on screen instructions to upload the image to imgur.
  • After uploading, you'll be presented the uploaded image along with links on the left.
  • Find the link labeled BBCode (message boards & forums)
  • Copy the code, and paste into your post. It will look something like:


How come I can't create a blog?

One needs to have at least 5 posts in order to make a blog.

How do I make my blog look nice?

Many AoPSers make their blogs look awesome by applying CSS, which is a high-level stylesheet language. This can be done by typing CSS code into the CSS box in the Blog Control Panel.


How is rating computed?

The rating is more of a prediction of what percentage of problems in the topic the Alcumus engine believes you will get correct. As you get more and more correct, the rating will go up slower and slower. However, if you are predicted to get most correct, and you miss one or two problems, the rating, or prediction of percentage correct, will go down.

I am stuck on a problem, changing the topic does not change the problem.

Alcumus provides review problems to make sure you still recall information learned from the past. You are not able to skip these problems. You will need to answer the problem before moving on.

Why can't I change topics?

Alcumus provides review problems to make sure you still recall information learned from the past. You are not able to skip these problems. You will need to answer the problem before the topic changes to the currently selected topic.


Where can I find past contest questions and solutions?

In the Contests section.

How do I get problems onto the contest page?

Make a topic for each question in the appropriate forum, copy/paste the urls to the National Olympiad. Your problems may eventually be submitted into the Contest page.

What are the guidelines for posting problems to be added to the contests section?

Refer to the guidelines in this post.

Why is the wiki missing many contest questions?

Generally, it is because users have not yet posted them onto the wiki (translation difficulties, not having access to the actual problems, lack of interest, etc). If you have a copy, please post the problems in the Community Section! In some cases, however, problems may be missing due to copyright claims from maths organizations. See, for example, this post.

What if I find an error on a problem?

Please post an accurate description of the problem in this thread. If the problem is on the wiki, you can edit it yourself.

LaTeX and Asymptote

What is LaTeX, and how do I use it?

$\LaTeX$ is a typesetting markup language that is useful to produce properly formatted mathematical and scientific expressions.

How can I download LaTeX to use on the forums?

There are no downloads necessary; the forums and the wiki render LaTeX commands between dollar signs.

How can I download LaTeX for personal use?

You can download TeXstudio here or TeXnicCenter here

Where can I find a list of LaTeX commands?

See here.

Where can I test LaTeX commands?

Sandbox or TeXeR. You can also use our Test Forum.

Where can I find examples of Asymptote diagrams and code?

Search this wiki for the <asy> tag or the Forums for the [asy] tag. See also these examples and this article (click on the images to obtain the code).

How can I draw 3D diagrams?

See Asymptote: 3D graphics.

What is the cse5 package?

See here. The package contains a set of shorthand commands that implement the behavior of usual commands, for example D() for draw() and dot(), and so forth.

What is the olympiad package?

See here. The package contains a set of commands useful for drawing diagrams related to olympiad geometry problems.


Is there a guide for wiki syntax?

See wiki markup, AoPSWiki:Tutorial, and Help:Contents.

What do I do if I see a mistake in the wiki?

Edit the page and correct the error! You can edit most pages on the wiki. Click the "edit" button on the right sidebar to edit a page.

Why can't I edit the wiki?

You must be a registered user on AoPS to edit. To be registered, make sure you give a correct email, and activate your account.


Is it possible to join the AoPS Staff?

Yes. Mr. Rusczyk will sometimes hire a small army of college students to work as interns, graders, and teaching assistants. You must be at least in your second semester of your senior year and be legal to work in the U.S. (at least 16).

What is the minimum age to be an assistant in an Art of Problem Solving class?

You must have graduated from high school, or at least be in the second term of your senior year.

AoPS Acronyms

  • AFK- Away from keyboard
  • AoPS- Art of Problem Solving, the website you're on right now!
  • AIME- American Invitational Mathematics Examination
  • AMC- American Math Competitions
  • ATM- At the Moment
  • brb- Be right Back
  • BTW- By the way
  • CEMC - Centre for Mathematics and Computing
  • C&P or C+P' or CP - Counting and Probability or Contests and Programs
  • EBWOP- Editing by way of post
  • FTW- For the Win, a game on AoPS
  • gg- Good Game
  • gj- Good Job
  • glhf-Good Luck Have Fun
  • gtg - Got to go
  • HSM - High School Math Forum
  • ID(R)K-I Don't (Really) Know
  • iff-If and only if
  • IIRC- If I recall correctly
  • IKR- I know right?
  • IMO- In my opinion (or International Math Olympiad, depending on context)
  • JMO- United States of America Junior Mathematical Olympiad
  • lol- Laugh Out Loud
  • MC- Mathcounts, a popular math contest for Middle School students.
  • mod(s)- Moderator(s)
  • MOEMS- Math Olympiads for Elementary and Middle Schools
  • MO(S)P- Mathematical Olympiad (Summer) Program
  • MSM- Middle School Math Forum
  • NT- Number Theory
  • OBC- Online by computer
  • OMG- Oh My Gosh
  • OP- Original Poster/Original Post/Original Problem, or Overpowered/Overpowering
  • QED- Quod erat demonstrandum, Latin for "Which was to be proven"; some English mathematicians use it as an acronym for Quite Elegantly Done
  • QS&A- Questions, Suggestions, and Announcements Forum
  • ro(t)fl - Rolling on the floor laughing
  • smh - Shaking my head
  • sqrt - Square root
  • Sticky- A post pinned to the top of a forum - a thing no one reads but really should read
  • ToS- Terms of Service - a thing no one reads but really should read
  • USA(J)MO- USA (Junior) Mathematical Olympiad
  • V/LA- Vacation or Long Absence/Limited Access
  • WLOG- Without loss of generality
  • wrt- With respect to
  • wtg - Way to go
  • tytia- Thank you, that is all
  • xD- Bursting Laugh


Please see the For the Win! FAQ for many common questions.


What if I miss a class?

There are classroom transcripts available under My Classes, available at the top right of the web site. You can view these transcripts in order to review any missed material. You can also ask questions on the class message board. Don't worry, though, classroom participation usually isn't weighted heavily.

Is there audio or video in class?

There is generally no audio or video in the class. The classes are generally text and image based, in an interactive chat room environment, which allows students to ask questions at any time during the class. In addition to audio and video limiting interactivity and being less pedagogically effective, the technology isn't quite there yet for all students to be able to adequately receive streaming audio and video.

What if I want to drop out of a class?

For any course with more than 2 classes, students can drop the course any time before the third class begins and receive a full refund. No drops are allowed after the third class has started. To drop the class, go to the My Classes section by clicking the My Classes link at the top-right of the website. Then find the area on the right side of the page that lets you drop the class. A refund will be processed within 10 business days.

For my homework, there is suppose to be a green bar but it's orange, why?

For the bar to turn green, the writing problem must be attempted. Once it is attempted the bar will turn green.

I need more time for my homework, what should I do?

There is a "Request Extension" button in the homework tab of your class. This will automatically extend the due date to 2 days after the normal deadline. If you want more time you need to ask for it in the little comment box, stating the reason why you want the extension, and how much time you want. This request will be looked at by the teachers and they will decide if you get the extension or not. Note that you can only use this button 3 times.
Otherwise, you can send an email to with your username, class name and ID, if known, and reason for extension. Someone should get back to you within a couple days.
Invalid username
Login to AoPS