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Should I take a higher (but harder) math class with same GPA weight?

mwang9615mwang9615 Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
edited February 2013 in High School Student Topics
So I'm a sophomore in high school, and at my school there is an Honors Pre-calc, and a seminar Pre-calc. Seminar Pre calc has the same GPA weight as honors Pre calc, but it is substantially harder. I'm currently in seminar algebra 2, which is harder than honors algebra 2, but with the same GPA weight too. My question is if I should take seminar Pre calc or honors next year if they both have the same weight. Here are the pros and cons of seminar Pre calc (as I see it):

Taking this class is the only possible way to take Calc BC, which is a college math course, vs Calc AB, which is half a college math course if I take honors

My teachers tell me that college admission boards recognize the harder class (seminar vs honors)

Seminar is much harder junior year than sophomore year, so I risk getting C's or D's, or possibly even dropping out if I take seminar

I'm probably gonna get a lower grade in seminar than honors, and since they have the same GPA weight, my GPA will be lower than if I took honors.

So do colleges recognize the harder seminar class, and will they be more lenient of average or below average grades in that class, and do you guys think that it is worth it to invest a large amount of time in these math courses if I plan on majoring in medical courses (I.e sciences)?

Finally, if it means that an elite undergrad school, like John Hopkins, Harvard, Stanford, etc, will be more likely to admit me, how much weight do these math courses carry in terms of how likely I will get into one of those schools?

I've been thinking about this for a while and i really am unsure. If it helps, my current seminar algebra 2 grades, as of midterms, are in the low 90's, so like 92 91, so I'm worried that taking seminar next year will drop that to possibly 80's or 70's because my math teachers all said that seminar Pre calc is a whole new level of hard compared to seminar algebra 2.

Thanks a lot.
Post edited by mwang9615 on

Replies to: Should I take a higher (but harder) math class with same GPA weight?

  • AeroMikeAeroMike Registered User Posts: 281 Junior Member
    I'd suggest taking seminar pre-calc but preparing over the summer for it
  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom Registered User Posts: 9,807 Senior Member
    If you're aiming at an elite college, then the harder math class will be advantageous to you.

    Why? Because colleges ask if you took the "most rigorous" coursework available at your school. In order for your guidance counselor to answer yes to this question, you need to be enrolled in the seminar class.

    However, colleges will not overlook a lower grade (C or D) in more difficult class just because it's harder. Ideally, you need to take the harder class and get an A or B grade in it.

    As for any one class in high school having an effect on your chances at med school admission.....no high school class will ever have any effect --positive or negative-- on your chances of getting accepted into med school.

    As a science major (in anything but biology which has minimal math requirements) in college, you will need to be comfortable with math. For a chem, physics and possibly biochem major, you will need to take the full calculus sequence in college (3-4 semesters).
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