A2A vs. A2PCH; Which class should you take?


Vincent Pham

Many geometry students face the option to take either Algebra 2 Advanced (A2A) or Algebra 2 Precalc Honors (A2PCH): How do they decide which one to take? 

Students in A2A begin their year in Ms. Watson’s class, reviewing topics learned from Algebra 1 and Geometry including linear functions, quadratics, and polynomials. “It’s a lot of different types of functions. So, Polynomial functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, rational functions,” Watson said. Other units consist of statistics, sequences and series, and the study of parabolas. (student quote).

In contrast, students in A2PCH start out in Mr. Henderson’s class with chapter P, the hardest chapter of the course. “I would say the class is about as hard as I expected and I have kept up well in every unit except chapter P,” sophomore Lucas Peterson said. Many students regard A2PCH as one of the most difficult math courses offered because the curriculum goes over the Algebra 2 Advanced content in greater depth along with precalculus, essentially covering two years of math in one year. “A2A has the focus of getting students ready to take precalculus and A2PCH students are essentially doing algebra 2 and precalculus in the same year,” Watson said. With such an extensive assortment of information to learn, students may have a difficult time keeping up with the pace. (student quote). The course is designed to prepare students to take Calculus AB the next year, while A2A prepares students for Precalc Honors. “At the end, we’re gonna do a little bit of stuff that’s more connected PreCalculus-wise so that then those kids are set up better for an opportunity for Calc AB,” Henderson said.

With numerous pros and cons for both classes, students find themselves in a complicated dilemma. While taking A2A lowers workload and allows students to put more time into other classes they may be better at, taking the class also prevents students from taking Calculus AB the following year and does not give honors credit. “I would love for everyone to take A2A but I think if you’re looking to really move at a very quick pace and potentially skip precalculus, then A2PCH is a better place,” Watson said. Inversely, taking A2PCH allows students to take both Calculus AB and BC by graduation, and can dramatically improve their math skills. However, the class can be extremely demanding and students will need to dedicate more time and work harder to receive higher grades. “I would recommend taking A2PCH if you are confident in your math skills and quick learning as well as having good study habits. It isn’t worth it to push yourself too hard,” Peterson said.

A2PCH would benefit students who plan to pursue a math-focused career like engineering, finance, or computer programming. Therefore, the answer to the big question is that it depends on one’s skills and interests. So when asking yourself what class you should take, consider this: How will my strengths and goals benefit from taking either class?