Math

Which Math Class Should I Take Next Year?


These all are assuming you are passing the current level with at least a C. Most colleges consider D’s as failing, and thus grades of D’s or F’s mean you should retake the class you are currently taking. The A-G requirement for math is 3 years with grades of C or higher.


Current Class Math 1 – one choice


  • Math 2: Successful completion of both Math 1 and Math 2 will fulfill your high school graduation requirement.


Math 2 – one choice


  • Math 3: Successful completion (grade of C or higher) of Math 3 will fulfill the 3rd year of math required by the A –G requirements of the University of California and the California State schools. The normal progression after Math 3 is Math Analysis. Sometimes Math Analysis is offered in the summer for those students who wish to advance to Calculus AB the following year


Math 3 – three choices


  • Math Analysis: This class consists of pre-calculus and Trigonometry. Successful completion leads to enrollment in Calculus AB. Students need to have a grade of C or better to take this class, but the math department recommends students have grades of A or B in Math 3. Students with C’s in Math 3 may struggle in Math Analysis due to their incomplete knowledge of concepts.


  • Repeat Math 3: If you have a grade of C in Math 3, you are probably going to struggle in Math Analysis. It is a very good choice to repeat Math 3 and strengthen your algebraic and reasoning skills.


  • MRWC (Math, Reading, Writing and Critical Thinking): MRWC is a new fourth year mathematics course designed to prepare students for the expectations and rigor of

college mathematics courses. Students should have received a C or higher in Math 3.


  • No Math: you have completed the minimum 3 years needed to fulfill the A-G requirements. Note, we do not recommend this as most colleges are looking for 4 + years of math.


Math Analysis - 3 choices


  • Calculus AB: This is an AP class and thus will be hard. However, the passing rate at PHHS for students on the Calculus AB exam is consistently around 90%. The math department recommends students have a grade of an A or B in Math Analysis to move on to Calculus AB, but grades of C’s will also be allowed to move on, but note that those students might struggle in Calculus AB.


  • AP Statistics: This class will also be hard. Passing rates for the AP Exam at PHHS are consistently around 80%. For students deciding between taking AP Calculus AB and AP Statistics, the math department recommends you take Calculus AB provided that you have been doing well in Math Analysis. Calculus AB “flows” from Math Analysis and is the next progression in math courses. In Calculus AB, you will use a lot of what you learned in Math Analysis and the longer you wait to take Calculus after Math Analysis, the more you will forget those skills. Statistics is a “stand alone” class, meaning that you will use nothing from Math Analysis and thus there is no worry about forgetting things.


  • No Math: you have completed 4 years of math. Note, we do not recommend this as most colleges are looking for 4 + years of math and you are good at math, why stop?


Calculus AB – 3 choices


  • Calculus BC: The math department recommends students have a grade of an A or B in Calculus AB to move on to Calculus BC, but grades of C’s will also be allowed to move on, but note that those students might struggle in Calculus BC.


  • AP Statistics: For students deciding between taking AP Calculus BC or AP Statistics, the math department recommends you take Calculus BC provided that you have been doing well in AB. Calculus BC “flows” from AB and is the next progression in math courses. In Calculus BC, you will use a lot of what you learned in Math Analysis and the longer you wait to take BC after AB, the more you will forget those skills. Statistics is a “stand alone” class, meaning that you will use nothing from your previous math classes and thus there is no worry about forgetting things.


  • No Math: Not really a good choice – you are good at math, keep taking courses.


How hard is the Class? Will I be successful? What do I have to know? What is the class about...(More to help you decide the right class)


  • Math 3: If you have been getting A’s and B’s in Math 1 and 2, then Math 3 should not be too hard for you. It will be harder than Math 2, and it is expected that you learned and remembered some of those things you learned in 1 and 2. You will continue with the same process of exploring, learning problems in context, and having to explain results like you have been doing in 1 and 2. If you got Cs in 1 and 2 (especially 2) then Math 3 will be hard for you. You should expect this and plan on seeking extra help right from the beginning of the class.

  • MRWC: MRWC is a new fourth year mathematics course for seniors designed to prepare students for the expectations and rigor of college mathematics courses. It reinforces and builds on mathematical topics and skills developed in Integrated 1-3 (or Algebra 1-2 and Geometry). It is designed as a bridge to both STEM and non-STEM majors. Students must have received a C or higher in Math 3. MRWC is for SENIORS only.


  • Math Analysis: This class will be exponentially harder than Math 3. (If you don’t know what that refers to, you might not want to take this class.) The first semester of Math Analysis is sometimes referred to as Pre Calculus. The second semester is the trigonometry part of Math Analysis, and requires as much logical thinking as it does algebraic manipulation. Students who do well in MA will have a firm grasp on manipulating variables as well as an ability to think on their own, rather than just mindlessly following some example problems. We think an A or B in Math 3 shows that you are prepared for this class. Students with a C should really think about if they should take this, or retake Math 3 to improve their skills before moving on.


  • Calculus AB: This is a college level math class, and as such is going to be taught like one. A grade of an A or B in Math Analysis should have you ready, but it too will be exponentially harder than Math Analysis. You should be an “expert” at manipulating variables and be able to think on your own. This is not a “do 30 problems just like the example” class. You have to be able to apply concepts learned to different situations. If you have a C in Math Analysis, we really think the best course of action is to repeat Math Analysis before moving on to Calculus AB, but we will not stop those who wish to move on. Your Calculus teacher will expect a lot of time from you for homework and will work you hard. But those who do the work and put in the time will be completely prepared for the AP exam – about 95% usually pass the AB and BC AP exam – the highest passing rate of any AP classes at PH!


  • AP Statistics: Contrary to what some might say, this class is not “easy.” For some, yes it is easy, but for most it is not. The mathematics you will use is not hard, but the key to the class is not the mathematics, it is the ability to think logically, and your ability to communicate. Want to try to predict how well you will do? Think about your geometry skills and second semester Math Analysis. No we don’t do proofs or trig identities, but those were the concepts that required the most logical thinking. Almost all students who take AP Stats after they finish Calculus AB or BC do well. Almost all students who take stats right after Math 3 do poorly. Those who take it after Math Analysis are much harder to predict. Many students who take it after a D or F in Math Analysis do poorly in Stats too. We think you should retake Math Analysis rather than move to a college level class. 90% of the problems in AP Stats are “word problems” so it is not a class where you can just follow an example from the teacher and repeat it over and over.


  • Calculus BC: Prerequisites: C or better in Calculus AP/AB or a 3 or higher on the AP Exam for Calculus AB. This course is a continuation of Calculus AP/AB. Topics to be covered are advanced integration techniques, improper integrals, infinite series and convergence, power series, Taylor polynomials, Taylor and Maclaurin series, conic sections, plane curves, parametric equations, polar coordinates, vectors and the geometry of space, vector valued functions, functions of multiple variables, multiple integrals and vector analysis. Upon successful completion of this course, students are expected to take the AP Calculus BC examination in May.


Lastly, some notes about summer school math


The math department at PHHS would like you to be aware that we do not recommend summer school as a means to move forward one year in math. We have found that most students who use summer school to recover a grade of a D or an F and then move to the next level the following year will struggle in that next level class. This is especially true for those making up poor grades in Math 3 moving to Math Analysis and making up poor grades in Math Analysis moving to Calculus AB. We suggest you make up those poor grades in the regular school year next year. Or if you use summer school, you consider that the final math class taken in high school. Summer school at many, if not most places that offer it, is oftentimes easier than the regular year due to the time constraints and not being able to cover all the standards. Also there is the fact that students have only one class they need to concentrate on unlike the school year with 5 more classes in addition to math. Plus, to succeed in a summer school class, students need to retain the material for only a few days for an average chapter test and only 5 or 6 weeks for an entire year.


Students who use summer to advance a year upon successful completion should be aware that students mature in their mathematical thinking at different rates, (just like people mature physically at different rates.) Just because your friend is in a higher level of math does not mean you should be too. We frequently see students try to advance to keep up with their peers only to get C’s or worse the following year, as they were not ready for the advanced difficulty level.


Please very carefully consider your option of using summer school. It is highly recommended that any student using summer school be prepared to seek extra help immediately in the following year before falling too far behind. The only students who should realistically be using summer school to advance are the students who have an A in their current class and find it very easy. If you are working hard to get that A, you are at the right level and should not be thinking of jumping ahead.