Each year students and parents ask questions about
math classes, course sequencing, the honors program, and other related
topics. Some of the most common questions are listed below. Click on
each one or scroll down for more information.
PreCalculus and Calculus
- What can I do for extra help in
my math class?
You have many resources available to you. For a list of suggested
study strategies and information about tutoring services, please refer
to the Additional Help section of
this web site.
- What math class should
I take next year?
That depends on a variety of factors. In
particular what class are you taking now? How are you doing
in your math class? Do you like math? Do you plan on
studying math, science, or engineering in college? Do you
want to take an honors course? Have you taken honors courses
in the past? Do you prefer theoretical classes or are you
looking for more real world applications? What does your
overall class schedule look like for next year?
You should talk to your current math teacher to see what he
or she recommends for you. Your teacher is your best
resource. Students should follow the recommended pathways
when selecting courses. Refer to the course
profiles and descriptions for advice and information about course
sequencing. Please see the
- How many years of math do I
need to take in high school?
Three years of math are required
for high school graduation. Students must also pass Algebra I or
Integrated Math 1
in order to graduate.
The University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU)
admission requirements include three years of mathematics in high
school. They strongly recommend that students take four years of
Most students at Torrey Pines High School take math all four years.
- Can I take more than one math
class in the same school year?
Yes. After completing Integrated Math 3, students have a variety of math
electives to choose from. Students may take more than one math
elective in the same year. For example, some students take
Statistics concurrently with Calculus. Students must take IM 1, IM
2, and IM 3. Elective courses
begin after completing IM 3.
When should I take
the SAT Subject Test in math? Which level do I take?
According to the College Board web site:
The Mathematics Level 1 Subject Test assesses the knowledge
you’ve gained from three years of college-preparatory mathematics,
including two years of algebra and one year of geometry. . .
The Mathematics Level 2 Subject Test covers the same material as the
Mathematics Level 1 test — with the addition of trigonometry and
elementary functions (precalculus). (cited 1/2017).
Most students take the SAT and SAT Subject Tests near the end of
their junior year of high school. If you complete IM 3 as a
junior, you would take the Level 1 test. If you complete PreCalculus
as a junior, you would take the Level 2 test. Honors students may
want to take the Level 2 test after completing Integrated Math 3
For more information, the following links will take you to the
College Board web site:
SAT Subject Test Math Level 1 and
SAT Subject Test Math Level 2.
opportunities are there for advanced math activities?
The Torrey Pines High School
Math Department offers a rich variety of
classes, activities, and programs for students
interested in exploring advanced mathematics.
These opportunities go beyond traditional high
school math education. Examples include the
active TP Math Club and access to Wolfram Mathematica for all
Descriptions and links to further details are available on the
Opportunities page and/or the
Advanced Math Opportunities at Torrey
Pines High School tri-fold brochure.
What are the differences between honors
and regular classes?
There are many differences between
honors and regular classes. For additional advice and details about
particular courses, please refer to the course profiles and
descriptions linked on the Course
In general, here are a few key guidelines to consider.
The honors courses progress at a quicker pace than the corresponding
college-prep course. More material is covered at a deeper level.
Students who enjoy engaging in challenging mathematical thinking can
learn a lot and find success in the honors classes.
- Since more content is taught in the honors courses, students are
expected to know more when entering the next honors level. This is
also important in non-consecutive levels. Also, less time is spent
on review (at the beginning of a course and throughout the year) in
- Students taking honors courses must consider how they will
handle the stress of their overall school schedule. Even when
students try their best, it is not always possible to earn an “A” in
every class. Passionate, engaged students will find success, but
success is personal and not only defined by grades.
- Earning an “A” in a college-prep course does not necessarily
mean that student belongs in honors the following year. This is
especially true if the “A” was earned through continuous,
repetitive, good effort rather than a passion for mathematics. In
the college-prep courses, students with a solid work ethic and a
desire for success will continue to enjoy and learn from a variety
of challenging problems and activities.
Also see the Choosing Your
Math Course page.
is best for taking math
at the honors level for the first time?
The best place to enter the honors
program is at the beginning. Taking honors math in middle school and
eventually Integrated Math 1 Honors will be the best preparation for future honors math
Students who want to move into an honors class from college prep the
previous year need to take the appropriate bridge class during the
summer to learn the content they would otherwise miss. However, very
few students should be making the jump from regular into honors.
Keep in mind that each course builds on concepts developed in
previous honors courses. This is also important in non-consecutive
Also see the Choosing
Your Math Course page.
Note that most of the “regular” classes at Torrey Pines are
college-preparatory courses. Some high schools offer three levels
(regular, college-preparatory, and honors). Integrated Math 1 and all
subsequent courses in the TP Math Department are college-prep except
for IM 2/3 Essentials.
What is "Accelerated" Integrated Math
Beginning in the 2017-18 school year, students
interested in acceleration may enroll in IM 2 Honors and IM 3 Honors
during the same school year. This will be a double-period class that
focuses on preparing students for AP Calculus the following year.
Accelerated IM 2/3 Honors is designed for students who have proven
successful in IM 1 Honors and who are interested in pursuing
in-depth studies in mathematics and other STEM fields. See
What is the sequence of honors courses?
Honors courses begin with the
Integrated Math 1, 2, 3 Honors sequence. After successful completion
of IM 3 Honors, students may take AP Calculus AB or AP Calculus BC.
Some students may choose to take Introduction to Calculus and/or
enroll in AP Statistics. Additional Calculus courses follow. Please
see the Frequently Asked Questions below and the
TP Honors Math
Sequence Diagram for more information.
"Introduction to Calculus"?
Beginning in the 2017-18 school
year, "Introduction to Calculus" replaces both Math Analysis with
Trigonometry and Honors PreCalculus. Honors PreCalculus topics are
now incorporated into the Integrated Math 3 Honors curriculum.
Introduction to Calculus
is a course that further develops advanced algebra and trigonometry skills along with the beginning concepts
Do I have to take
Calculus after taking Introduction to Calculus?
No. Statistics, Statistics Reasoning in Sports, and Discrete Math are very good options.
All three are
college-preparatory courses recognized by the UC and CSU systems as
advanced mathematics. See the course profiles and descriptions for
details about each course on the Course
What is the difference between Calculus
AB and Calculus BC and
The traditional Calculus course sequence in college is broken into
three semesters: Calculus I (limits, derivatives, beginning
integration), Calculus II (advanced integration, infinite series,
introductory differential equations, parametric equations), and
Calculus III (multivariable functions and vector calculus).
AP* Calculus AB is the equivalent of Calculus I (one semester of
college calculus taught over one year** of high school.) AP Calculus
BC is equivalent to Calculus I and Calculus II (two
semesters of college calculus taught over one year** of high school).
Calculus C is Calculus II and is taught in the fall semester.
Calculus D is Calculus III and is offered during the fall semester
and again in the spring semester. Calculus C in the fall is paired
with Calculus D in the spring to make a year-long course. Calculus D
in the fall is paired with Linear Algebra in the spring to make a
*AP is Advanced Placement. Students may earn college credits by
passing the corresponding AP Exam in May.
**When considering the pace of AP courses in high school, please
note that the material is usually covered in only about three
quarters of the year to allow time for review and the exam offered
in early May.
***Note that Calculus C, Calculus D, and Linear Algebra are not
AP courses. These classes are taught at Torrey Pines High School
through a special program in collaboration with San Diego State
Click here for more information about the SDSU courses.
Do I need to take Introduction to
Calculus if I learn some Calculus in Physics?
Yes. All of the science classes apply the skills learned in your
math classes. The science teachers review some material and may give
you some tips or tricks for completing certain types of problems,
but the underlying theory and mathematical connections are developed
in your math courses. To more fully understand and appreciate the
work you do in your science classes, be sure to take the math
classes that complement your science studies.
What is Business
Business Math is a course offered through the Business
Department. This course is appropriate for students wishing to
acquire practical entry-level business mathematics skills. The
course includes information on investments, financial planning,
insurance, loans, payroll, banking and taxes. Math applications for
personal and corporate finance are emphasized.
Students who have completed IM 1 may take Business Math to fulfill
one of the three years of math required to graduate high school.
Business Math does not fulfill the UC/CSU requirements for
What is "Statistics Reasoning in
Beginning in the 2017-18 school year, Torrey
Pines will offer "Statistics Reasoning in Sports." This class covers
the same mathematical content as college-prep Statistics while using
sports as an applied theme to illustrate concepts. Students may take
Statistics Reasoning in Sports after successful completion of
Integrated Math 3. Students cannot take this course and college-prep
statistics, but students may take AP Statistics and Probability as a
subsequent course. For more information about course content, read the
Statistics course profile on the Course
What are the
Advanced Topics in Math I and II courses?
Advanced Topics in Mathematics I was a course that students enroll in
to work as tutors in the Math Tutoring Center and where students would also
complete a variety of projects covering topics from Algebra II through
the beginning of Calculus. This course has not been offered for
Advanced Topics in Mathematics II started in 2006-07. It
is a projects-based class for students currently taking or who have
finished Calculus. Students will complete projects in four categories:
advanced math topics, interdisciplinary, community service, and
reading and research. Most of the work in this class will be done on
computers. For more information, read the
course profile for Advanced Topics in Mathematics II on the Course
Information page. Note that
students do not need to complete Adv. Topics I before
taking level II.