Nghia NguyenNghia Nguyen, a student at Diablo Valley College, placed 17th in the nation in the American Mathematical Association of the Two Year Colleges (AMATYC) exam for his combined rounds one and two score of 53.5.

Nguyen ranked eighth in the West Region, and ranked 14th in the nation for his round two score. Another DVC student, Xiaolei He, ranked 18th in the West for her combined score of 49.0.

Ranking individually in the top 20 nationally is an impressive achievement, and can help one’s chances for admission to a four-year college.

Nguyen was DVC’s top scorer in the AMATYC exam. According to Katrina Keating, interim Mathematics Department chair at DVC, all the DVC students scored well. As a team, which includes the top five scorers, DVC ranked 7th in the nation overall, and ranked 6th in the West Region.

Nguyen was presented a $200 scholarship check for being the top DVC scorer. The Math Department raises funds for the scholarship through the sale of East Bay Entertainment books, and through cash donations to the DVC Foundation that are specified for the AMATYC scholarship.

“It’s wonderful to see students rewarded for their achievements,” said Jenny Freidenreich, DVC math professor. “Our students have such amazing and diverse talents. We just need to keep our eye out for ways to bring it out and shine a light on their high achievements. The AMATYC exam is one way of doing that.”

The AMATYC Exam is a 20-problem multiple choice test and is held nationally at any community college that chooses to participate. The test is quite challenging, and students are given one hour to work on it. The exam has two “rounds,” one given in the fall and one in the spring, each of which is a different exam.

It is an exam that discourages guessing, Freidenreich said, as it is scored with a penalty of –1/2 point for a wrong answer, zero points for a blank or no answer, and 2 points for a correct answer. The combined score is a total of the scores from round one and round two.

Sixty DVC students completed the fall exam, and 45 completed the spring exam. Students are encouraged to take the exam if they have taken Pre-Calculus (Math 191) or a higher-level math course. Any DVC student who is interested in taking the AMATYC exam in the fall should contact Holly Kresch by email at