The use of calculators is not allowed on the test.
The exam consists of 15 questions of increasing difficulty, where each answer is an integer between 0 and 999 inclusive. Thus the test effectively removes the element of chance afforded by a multiple-choice test while preserving the ease of automated grading; answers are entered onto an OMR sheet, similar to the way grid-in math questions are answered on the SAT. Leading zeros must be gridded in; for example, answers of 7 and 43 must be written and gridded in as 007 and 043, respectively.
Concepts typically covered on the exam include topics in elementary algebra, geometry, trigonometry, as well as number theory, probability, and combinatorics. Many of these concepts are not directly covered in typical high school mathematics courses; thus, participants often turn to supplementary resources to prepare for the exam.
One point is earned for each correct answer, and no points are deducted for incorrect answers. No partial credit is given. Thus AIME scores are integers from 0 to 15 inclusive.