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How do you skip a course in High School?

  1. Jun 20, 2013 #1
    Hey, I am currently in High School and I am finding my courses extremely easy. Especially my math classes, I am going into my sophomore year and my math course is going to be geometry. I find geometry extremely easy and I was wondering is there any possible way to skip it and move on to the next course? Which for my school would be Algebra II. Thanks!
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  3. Jun 20, 2013 #2


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    best thing to do is to tell your teachers about it and see if they let you sit classes higher than your year level. They may or may not believe you but either way if you really find them too easy, buy some second hand textbooks (if you find new ones too pricey) and start giving your brain some real exercises!
  4. Jun 20, 2013 #3
    Thanks for replying! I will see when the school year starts, I just find geometry to be extremely easy in my opinion.
  5. Jun 20, 2013 #4


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    ^Great. Though I think the problem is more with the quality of geometry courses than the easiness of geometry. It might be possible to skip geometry or if your schedule permits take both at once. In either case I recommend you do some extra geometry to insure your knowledge is adequate. High school personnel are known for rejecting repeatedly reasonable requests, don't take no for an answer. Write letters to the newspaper threaten to go to the private school (with better geometry) (this has a very small chance of working, but if you are serious it will solve your problem either way) and so forth.
  6. Jun 20, 2013 #5
    I will look into that lurflurf sadly I go to a smaller school so basically every class is easy (I am in a rural area and originally from an suburban area) so pretty much every class is easy to me. Not to mention our school is under-funded so I do most of knowledge gaining outside of school since I am used to more textbook based education strategies where here they just talk about the material the entire time and it kind of annoys me, I enjoy talking about what I learn but they just make everything to easy when it comes to tests. Its like the teachers think that we are all still in preschool.
  7. Jun 20, 2013 #6
    Why don't you just self-study harder material?
  8. Jun 20, 2013 #7
    I'm currently self-studying college level material.
  9. Jun 21, 2013 #8
    This is pretty vague.

    I would not recommend all-out skipping high school classes unless you've had formal, documented education in that topic. I suggest that you ask to take the prior year's final sometime in the summer to, in a sense, test out of it. I feel like I say this a lot, but a good option is to take the class online through your local college or online high school and transfer the credit.
  10. Jun 21, 2013 #9


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    ^Why not? I know many people who skipped a high school math course. It was never an issue. It is not like anyone cares. Nobody will approach you in a Kafkaesque way and ask to see you geometry papers in ten years. Colleges don't care if you skip one. Some states make a big deal about algebra, but not geometry. The International Mathematical Olympiad kids know their geometry, people who take junk geometry at junk high not so much. Many high schools and colleges don't even teach geometry and nobody cares. That said taking taking a better geometry course at a nearby school is a fine idea if any exist.

    Even at good schools most of knowledge gaining outside of school. Take some initiative. You can ask your teachers for extra material, often they will not provide anything worthwhile, but you an ask.
    If you would like to read more about geometry I recommend these books hopefully you library has some. The first two are inexpensive if you would like to own them. Keep in mind that books intended for second geometry courses can be confusing if you have no first course or the first course was junk. Which is unfortunate as so many peoples geometry knowledge is deficient.

    Let's Review: Geometry Lawrence S. Leff M.S.
    review of basic geometry
    Geometry: A Comprehensive Course Dan Pedoe
    a second look at geometry
    Geometry by Serge Lang
    a lively first look at geometry
    Geometry: Euclid and Beyond by Robin Hartshorne
    A historically motivated second course
    anything by H. S. M. Coxeter
    a master expositor
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2013
  11. Jun 21, 2013 #10
    This is a dangerous generalization. The SAT, ACT, and SAT II: Math cover geometry (at an albeit basic level). It's also an important state standard for many states.
    I disagree with lurflurf that skipping it is a good idea. Geometry is really the only HS math class where proofs are a component of the curriculum. This kind of exposure is valuable for further education in math. As mentioned earlier, you can always supplement your class with self-studying from a harder textbook.
    OP: If you think that the topics are easy, I would go through a high school geometry textbook. One popular one is McDougall Littel's Geometry by Larson https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0618293663. It may be more appropriate to use the textbook your school uses.
  12. Jun 21, 2013 #11
    If you're serious about this stuff, you must in your head separate the concepts of "learning" and "school". If you end up in a good university then the two may go hand in hand, but at a public high school, chances are you are not going to learn much.

    I was in your situation last year and was able to skip alg2 to pre-calc, but it really didn't do much; chances are, if you skip geometry you will still find the algebra quite easy.

    Depending on how many math courses your school has, skipping geo can either be helpful or harmful. Perhaps talk to the teacher who teaches it. For some reason, school administrators love to stop students from skipping ahead. One strategy (it worked for me) is to go up to a math teacher (preferably one who has be en there several years) and ask then to vouch for you, showing what you know and are capable or. Also, what do you mean by "college level material?" If you have already mastered geo and intend to skip it, show it to a math teacher.

    Meanwhile, definitely do some studying on your own. A good way to show your interest in math, especially if you run out of classes to take, is to do some competition, e.g math or physics olympiad depending on where you live. The art of problem solving books (written especially for advanced high school students in mind) are quite good and VERY hard. Some of the challenge problems will have you tearing your hair out. You may want to start with either algebra or geo, and work your way up to calculus. the website is: http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/

    There are many other good books; most are pretty high level, but there are books out there problem solving, algebra, and geo.
  13. Jun 21, 2013 #12
    By college level material I mean my physics teacher knows that I have some good potential so in class he allows me to read through his college physics textbook also his calculus textbooks. Then I know this really is helpful but it opens my mind to the theories out there I have read the following.

    Physics of the Future - Michio Kaku
    Parallel Worlds - Michio Kaku
    The Hidden Reality - Brian Greene
    Flatterland - Ian Stewart
    The quantum universe - Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw
  14. Jun 21, 2013 #13
    This is actually a bit of my story mixed with advice, so it will be somewhat lengthy, anyway, here we go...

    At age seven I became very passionate about math, then physics and other topics I taught myself Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry and Calculus in a summer. From age seven to age ten I continued this pattern, studying topics from all fields of study like differential topology, theoretical physics, etc... I concealed this the best I could though, fearing social reject, but after taking a break from academia between age ten and fourteen I decided it was time I moved forward and tried to get into college early or something. This was just last year, I showed my mathematics teachers a bit of what I could do, took the final for pre-calculus (the class that I was originally scheduled to be taking next year) and they are now considering allowing me to take AP Calculus this coming year, as a sophomore. Similar situations have arisen in all other subjects. But, although I already know the content, I want to take AP classes and stay in high school for the social experience and better chances of getting into a good school with scholarships (although I could probably go to a decent school now for free, much like Jacob Barnett did or others like him).

    The point is, that you have to figure out whether skipping is best for you, how much you want to try to skip, how well you actually know the content, and why you want to skip. I wanted to skip for very specific reasons, my classes next year will still be miserably easy, but that wasn't my reason for skipping ahead. Also, you have to be positive you know the content, not just the main ideas. When I learn something new, I go through at least two different materials, often many more (e.g. I took 3 classes, read 2 books and used 2 Internet sites on topology), because you need to be sure you know the content well, and can solve the problems not just understand concepts.

    Now, if you have all that figured out, talk to your teachers, and show off a bit to let them know your ability. There is typically no precedent to skip a class or grade, so the teachers will have to talk about it, probably go to the principal and local board of education as well. I warn you though, have good grades and scores in your current classes! I had a 120% in Algebra II last year, but even that wasn't quite enough, because I fell asleep during the final exam, and had to complete the whole thing in about 5 minutes, so I got more like an 80. The board didn't like this, but because of the other circumstances and a demonstration of proficiency in algebra, trig/pre-cal and calculus to my teachers, they approved me to skip and take calculus instead.

    So, be sure you know whether this choice is best and why you want to do it, then go talk to your teachers and show them your abilities, while also continuing to put forth some effort (even if it only requires minuscule amounts) to get good grades. Good luck! I hope this helped and conveyed my message accurately, I know you probably aren't so nerdy that you're doing chaos theory and stuff like I have enjoyed doing for a couple years now. Nevertheless, you seem to be very capable and intelligent, so good luck with everything!
  15. Jun 21, 2013 #14
    Also, you should definitely do more autodidact work (self-teaching) like the others have recommended. MIT and other universities have great Open Courseware, also edx and the canvas network might be good. And don't forget about YouTube: e.g. Khan Academy, PatrickJMT, MathDoctorBob (all cover college math and physics material).

    Also, you to consider going to college early if you are really passionate and hard working. Often times local or state colleges will take on kids that show great potential and already know the high school material. I'm actually still considering the idea for myself, local colleges will sometimes take you if you just know stuff like calculus, physics (up to or just past electricity and magnetism) and then are solid enough in other topics (e.g. English and Social Sciences). So, I think that, you may be able to do that as well.
  16. Jun 21, 2013 #15
    I believe those books are mainly conceptual/popular science. You really should do something a bit more mathematical (but then again the stuff from your physics teacher may be quite complex enough). If not, start with Halliday/Resnick, Serway, Giancoli, etc. (most have the exact same title:"physics for scientists and engineers") those books have a terrible reputation among serious physicists, but they can serve as a good introduction. There are also the feynman lectures, which have a very good reputation (and for good reason), but can be a little intimidating.

    I agree with Jheavner724, those classes can be pretty dang easy, but remember to get A's.
  17. Jun 22, 2013 #16


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    The op does not want to skip learning geometry, he/she wants to skip the class. That is not dangerous considering that many schools do not even have such classes, many that do are very poor quality, many students who take such classes when offered know very little at the end, many of the high school students with the best grasp of geometry learned it on their own (even if they took a garbage class), skipping classes is not unheard of and students that do are glad they did. As far as generalizing you are mistaken most geometry courses in the united states at least have no proofs and many other high school classes like discrete math do. I wonder what you like about the Larson book? While one could do worse (Serra) , I would not recommend it. While learning geometry is a admirable goal, taking a junk class is not a reliable method to achieve it.

    That is not true, but it is the kind of thing they say. It is a placement issue, someone could sign off they just don't want to. Getting credit is a little harder, but who wants credit?
  18. Jun 22, 2013 #17
    I'm fairly sure that most states have proof as an important part of their geometry educational standards.
    These are not complicated proofs, but simple proofs that a 10th grader can develop.
    I agree with lurflurf that Larson is not a spectacular book, but I recommend it for the sole reason that it is customized for each state to cover the standards and it hits all the topics. This can be helpful for a student trying to self-study and test out of his school's geometry class (jumping through the bureaucratic hoops). In general, I would say you can please/work with your school officials and still get your way.
  19. Jun 22, 2013 #18
    I would not jump to conclusions, but you are probably correct. I go to a "good" (relatively) high school and the math classes here are total garbage. I doubt many high schools even have discrete math, and there are certainly no proofs in any class; most calculus students likely don't even know what a limit is.
  20. Jun 22, 2013 #19
    You're correct, the process can be done, I'm skipping every class that I would be taking next year. However, it is not as easy as other tasks, a teacher just cannot (typically) say "sure, no geometry for you". Sometimes it even has to go to the Board of Education, as my case did, and along with my scores and some show of ability I got approved to skip the classes. I just thought I would say that to clear up any potential confusion that his teacher is not going to just declare whether or not he needs to take a course, that is typically done by the principal or board of education.
  21. Jun 22, 2013 #20
    Adding to my last comment, it is true that getting credit is a bit harder, but sometimes you can take tests or complete a few packets of work to get the credit for the class you skipped. In my case I just took the class final in each class.
  22. Jun 22, 2013 #21


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    Yeah that is one thing I don't like about Larson (I think he is like James Patterson and does not really write the books) is his pandering to state standards. Schools keep buying the new Larson because alignment with standards is a must. That is also one reason most schools will not approve Lang, Euclid, Coxeter, or any book with more than a little convex, projective, or non-Euclidean geometry. Again most at high schools credit is harder to get than placement and geometry is almost never a requirement for anything. Even if it were there is no reason to take it at a particular time or sequence. Most high schools are quite pleased with any student who can get past algebra, they should not hassle such students. It is sad most high schools do not have more options. Most classes would not be popular if offered. Calculus is only offered for bragging rights. Ironically that is how geometry gets eliminated at a lot of schools, first it can be taken in any order, then it is optional, then hardly anyone takes it, then it is eliminated, then the geometry club tries to bring it back with a petition, that fails. The funny thing is in many colleges you just have to tell your advisor you do not want to take there stupid statistics or remedial physics mathematics class and she will cross it out, university requirements are not so easy though you need to take political science no matter what.
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