‘Genius’ level: input on going for the Algebra II course in 8th grade


Arnav Nair, seventh-grader intently working on his laptop in class.

Algebra II is a course available at RCMS for mathematically advanced seventh-graders going into eighth grade, but among them, there is a split between the people who see this course as their ideal path, and those who see an unnecessary thorny road.

“This isn’t a course I’d recommend for just any student in eighth grade,” said Mr. James Kim, the only Algebra II teacher in RCMS. “It’s something that should definitely be offered but only for the students at much higher paces who really enjoy math.”

Since Algebra II is an 11th-grade class, the students are treated like a high school class would be. Because it introduces many new big ideas and concepts, a lot of the work is placed on the student to study and practice in their own free time.

“At first I thought Algebra I was pretty easy so I decided to do the advanced Algebra II,” said Sohan Chigurupati, an eighth-grade Yellow Jacket. “It wasn’t too bad for me since it stems from Algebra I but not everybody can think the same way.”

However, the main thing blocking students from Algebra II who almost all agree on its toughness would be Summer Geometry.

“I definitely won’t be able to handle Summer Geometry,” said seventh-grade Discovery Adam Lone. “Condensing a year of work in a single month seems impossible, and I’m not exactly excelling at Algebra 1 alone right now.

Moreover, the workload every day is no joke.

“I wasn’t expecting to have a lesson and a test or quiz every day,” Sohan said.

Teachers also agree with this.

“It’s hard for us to give out so many lessons and homework, ” Mr. Kim said. “It’s even harder for the students to put a year’s worth of work into a month — it can go up to six hours of work a day.”

A given fact for Summer Geometry is that you’ll have to block out a great deal of your summer vacation. 

“If you’re a genius, go for it,” Adam said. “If you’re not, why would you waste so much of your time and energy like that?”

It’s not all that bad for everyone though, there are still seventh-graders who think that the challenge can be handled.

“I honestly don’t think I’m that smart compared to most people. I still want to believe it though,” said Arnav Nair, a seventh-grade Maverick. “That’s my reason for taking Summer Geometry, other than my parents wanting me to.”

He seems to not be that nervous or concerned about Summer Geometry.

“I’ve been practicing on a geometry textbook for a while now. If I can learn everything beforehand, summer geometry shouldn’t be as bad,” Arnav said. “I still know it’ll be hard though. I’ve been talking to the counselors a lot and I’ll still be upset about losing and being busy for a big chunk of summer break but I think I can handle it.”

However even after that Algebra II is still a difficult course for students to handle.

“Only about 60 students are taking Algebra II in RCMS right now,” said Mr. Kim. “Many of those students are the type to want to always achieve perfection, but in life and math you have to be comfortable with failure and mistakes.”

Overall, taking the path to Algebra II will be the toughest part of your school experience so far, but if you love math and are ahead in your academics, you shouldn’t be afraid to go do it. 

“Taking summer geometry and Algebra II wasn’t that bad for me,” Sohan said. “I think that if you think of summer geometry as too hard to handle, don’t take it. If you think you can, then go for it.”