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.

General Questions

Honors Courses

PreCalculus and Calculus

Other Courses

  • 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
    Course Information page.

  • 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 math.

    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 Honors.

    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.

  • What additional 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 students.

    Descriptions and links to further details are available on the Advanced Math 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 Information page. 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 higher-level courses.
  • 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.

  • Which class 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 classes. 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 levels.

    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 2/3 Honors?

    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 tpmath.net/AIM23H.pdf for additional details.

  • 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.

  • What is "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 of Calculus.

  • 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 Information page.

  • What is the difference between Calculus AB and Calculus BC and Calculus CD?

    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 year-long course***.

    *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 University. Click here for more information about the SDSU courses.

  • Do I need to take Introduction to Calculus or 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 Math?

    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 mathematics.

  • What is "Statistics Reasoning in Sports"?

    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 Information page.

  • 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 several years.

    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.

  • Where can I get more information?

    Talk to your current math teacher.
    Read the course profiles and descriptions on the
    Course Information page.
    Talk to your counselor.

Updated: 02/18/2021