At Lynbrook, math is one of the subjects with the most pathways and potential courses, from Geometry and Algebra to AP Calculus BC and AP Statistics. In order to graduate from Lynbrook, students have to take two years of math, which must include Algebra and Geometry. The University of California and California State University have slightly greater requirements of at least three years of math with four years recommended, and Algebra II is the highest level of math necessary.
That being said, many students at Lynbrook choose to challenge themselves and take Honors or AP level classes. The math department has structured potential pathways for students to follow, as seen in the diagram below.
Some students choose to skip courses, going from Algebra 2 to AP Calculus, for example, while others adjust their pathway if they found the previous course too challenging. In order to skip to a class that is not recommended on the math advising form, students must fill out the backside of the form and have their parent and current teacher sign the bottom to show their approval. Many of these students take summer courses to prepare themselves for a more difficult course, but this is not recommended since it is difficult to cover a whole year’s worth of information in just six weeks.
“I think [skipping classes] is hard because we never know it depends on the student and just kind of their perseverance and their own abilities,” guidance counselor Malissa Goldstein said.
Students have a variety of motivations for deviating from the standard pathway. Some realize their strengths and weaknesses in different academic subjects and plan their courses accordingly. Others may adjust their math course to accommodate other courses in their schedule, so that they are not overwhelmed with the overall workload.
“I skipped to AP Calculus BC in sophomore year because I knew it would be time consuming and I wanted to spread out my course load, ” sophomore Angela Jiao said.
While choosing a math course, it is important to reflect on your own experiences with the subject and communicate with teachers rather than falling to parental and peer pressure. Make sure to consider the potential impacts of choosing a certain class on your entire schedule.