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Recommendations
Course Map
For recommendations in computer science, click here. For information about our science courses, click here.
Below is the "map" of all of our math courses. Click on any course to learn more about it.
The top row of the map consists of our core curriculum, which parallels the standard prealgebra-to-calculus school curriculum, but in much greater depth both in mathematical content and in problem-solving skills. For this reason, we often recommend that a new AoPS student who has already taken a course at their local school "retake" the same-named course in our online school. Students should then proceed through our core curriculum in left-to-right order, and should take other non-core courses as desired.
Our math courses fall into two categories:
- Our subject courses (in green on the map) each offer a thorough exploration of a particular subject. Each course follows an AoPS textbook (except where noted). Students receive personalized written feedback to weekly homework assignments. At the Introductory level, these courses are linked to Alcumus, our online adaptive learning system.
- Our contest preparation courses (in blue on the map) are designed for students preparing for specific math contests. These courses cover more topics, but offer less depth, than our subject courses. These courses do not use textbooks, and students do not receive personalized feedback, although there are weekly practice problems.
Still unsure? Please contact us for a specific recommendation.
Subject Course Recommendations
Before Prealgebra
Students who are not yet ready for Prealgebra 1 should prepare by using our AoPS Beast Academy curriculum. Learn all about our books and online program for younger students at BeastAcademy.com.
Ready for Prealgebra
Begin with Prealgebra 1, provided that the student passes the “Are you ready?” diagnostic test. (Students that do not pass this test are not yet ready for AoPS, and should instead consider using our Beast Academy materials.) A student with some exposure to Prealgebra topics might be able to start at Prealgebra 2 or Introduction to Algebra A.
Prealgebra 1
Prealgebra 2
Introduction to Algebra A
After Prealgebra
Begin with Introduction to Algebra A, provided that the student passes the “Are you ready?” diagnostic test. A student who does not pass this test should expand their arithmetic and problem-solving skills by starting in Prealgebra 1 or Prealgebra 2.
Prealgebra 1
Prealgebra 2
Introduction to Algebra A
Some Algebra 1
Begin with either Introduction to Algebra A or Introduction to Counting & Probability, depending on how well the student performs on the Introduction to Algebra A “Do you need this?” diagnostic test. Such students should also consider Introduction to Number Theory.
Introduction to Algebra A
Introduction to Counting & Probability
Introduction to Number Theory
After Algebra 1
Begin with Introduction to Counting & Probability or Introduction to Algebra B -- these courses can be taken in either order. Such students could also begin by taking Introduction to Number Theory.
Introduction to Counting & Probability
Introduction to Number Theory
Introduction to Algebra B
After Geometry
The student should take the “Do you need this?” diagnostic tests for both Introduction to Algebra B and Introduction to Geometry. It is essential that students master the material in our Introduction to Algebra B course before proceeding to Introduction to Geometry, and similarly that they master Introduction to Geometry before proceeding to our intermediate-level courses. Students who do not pass one of the diagnostic tests should begin in that course. Students who pass both diagnostic tests should begin with Intermediate Algebra.
We also encourage all new students to “go back” and take Introduction to Counting & Probability or Introduction to Number Theory if desired.
Introduction to Algebra B
Introduction to Geometry
Intermediate Algebra
Introduction to Counting & Probability
Introduction to Number Theory
After Algebra 2
The student should take the “Do you need this?” diagnostic test for Introduction to Geometry, even if they have already taken a geometry course. It is essential that students master Introduction to Geometry before proceeding to our intermediate-level courses. Students who do not pass the diagnostic test should begin with Introduction to Geometry. Students who pass the diagnostic test should begin with Intermediate Algebra.
We also encourage all new students to “go back” and take Introduction to Counting & Probability or Introduction to Number Theory if desired.
Introduction to Geometry
Intermediate Algebra
Introduction to Counting & Probability
Introduction to Number Theory
After Precalculus
The student should take the “Are you ready?” and “Do you need this?” diagnostic tests for our Precalculus course. Our Precalculus contains much more content and is much more rigorous than most high-school courses, so most students who have taken regular high-school math through precalculus will want to start with our Precalculus course. If the student does not pass the “Are you ready?” diagnostic, start with Intermediate Algebra. If they pass the “Do you need this?” diagnostic, they may take Calculus.
We also encourage all new students to “go back” and take Introduction to Counting & Probability or Introduction to Number Theory if desired, and to continue with Intermediate Counting & Probability or Intermediate Number Theory when ready.
Intermediate Algebra
Precalculus
Calculus
Introduction to Counting & Probability
Introduction to Number Theory
Intermediate Counting & Probability
Intermediate Number Theory
Beyond Calculus
Because our curriculum has more depth and rigor than a typical curriculum, the student might benefit from “retaking” some of our core courses. The student should take the “Do you need this?” diagnostic from our Precalculus course. If they are unsuccessful, work backwards through our core curriculum, using the diagnostic tests to find the appropriate course. If they are successful with the Precalculus “Do you need this?” diagnostic, then any of our Advanced courses should be appropriate for that student.
Our Calculus course also contains much more material and a much higher level of formalism than most high-school “AP-style” calculus courses, so we recommend our Calculus course to a post-calculus student who wants a deeper understanding of the subject.
We also encourage all new students to “go back” and take Introduction to Counting & Probability or Introduction to Number Theory if desired, and to continue with Intermediate Counting & Probability or Intermediate Number Theory when ready.
Precalculus
Calculus
Olympiad Geometry
Group Theory
Introduction to Counting & Probability
Introduction to Number Theory
Intermediate Counting & Probability
Intermediate Number Theory
Contest Preparation Recommendations
Please select the specific contest below for advice on which contest prep course to take.
MATHCOUNTS/AMC 8
Students who have not yet completed prealgebra are not yet ready for our contest prep courses, and should consider our Prealgebra 1 and Prealgebra 2 courses instead. All middle-school students should also consider our Introduction to Counting & Probability and Introduction to Number Theory courses -- both of these are very well-suited for middle-school contest preparation, as are the rest of our Introductory-level subject courses.
Students just getting started with middle-school math contests should consider our MATHCOUNTS/AMC 8 Basics course. Students with more consistent success in these contests (in particular, students who score 15+ on the AMC 8 or 25+ on Chapter-level MATHCOUNTS competitions) should consider our MATHCOUNTS/AMC 8 Advanced course. We also offer a one-weekend Special AMC 8 Problem Seminar.
MATHCOUNTS/AMC 8 Basics
MATHCOUNTS/AMC 8 Advanced
Special AMC 8 Problem Seminar A
Prealgebra 1
Prealgebra 2
Introduction to Algebra A
Introduction to Counting & Probability
Introduction to Number Theory
Introduction to Algebra B
Introduction to Geometry
AMC 10
Our AMC 10 Problem Series course is designed for students in grade 10 or below who have completed an algebra course and can currently score 60+ on the AMC 10 contest. For students looking to ramp up their problem-solving skills on the final five problems of the AMC 10, we now offer the four-week AMC 10 Final Fives course. We also offer a one-weekend Special AMC 10 Problem Seminar.
Students not yet meeting this standard should instead consider Introduction to Algebra B, Introduction to Counting & Probability, or Introduction to Number Theory. Students who consistently score 100+ on the AMC 10 would probably not benefit from this course and should instead consider our AMC 12 Problem Series or Seminar, AIME A or AIME B Problem Series, Special AIME Seminar A, Special AIME Seminar B, Introduction to Geometry, or Intermediate Algebra courses.
AMC 10 Problem Series
AMC 10 Final Fives
Special AMC 10 Problem Seminar A
Special AMC 10 Problem Seminar B
Introduction to Counting & Probability
Introduction to Number Theory
Introduction to Algebra B
AMC 12
Our AMC 12 Problem Series course is designed for high-school students who have completed an algebra and geometry course and can currently score 60+ on the AMC 12 contest. For students looking to ramp up their problem-solving skills on the final five problems of the AMC 12, we now offer the four-week AMC 12 Final Fives course. We also offer a one-weekend Special AMC 12 Problem Seminar.
Students not yet meeting this standard should instead consider Introduction to Geometry, Introduction to Counting & Probability, Introduction to Number Theory, or one of our Intermediate courses. Students who consistently score 90+ on the AMC 12 would probably not benefit from this course and should instead consider our AIME A and AIME B Problem Series courses and our Special AIME Seminar A and Special AIME Seminar B courses.
AMC 12 Problem Series
AMC 12 Final Fives
Special AMC 12 Problem Seminar A
Special AMC 12 Problem Seminar B
Introduction to Counting & Probability
Introduction to Number Theory
Introduction to Geometry
AIME
Our AIME A and AIME B Problem Series courses are designed for students who are very confident that they will qualify for the AIME contest. We also offer two one-weekend seminars: Special AIME Problem Seminar A and Special AIME Problem Seminar B.
Students who consistently expect to score 8 or more on the AIME may instead wish to consider our MathWOOT program. AIME-qualifying students would also benefit from any of our Intermediate-level subject courses.
Note: the AIME A and AIME B Problem Series classes cover mostly the same topics but use entirely different problems. Students can take either or both classes, in either order. The same is true for the Special AIME Problem Seminar A and Special AIME Problem Seminar B.
AIME Problem Series A
AIME Problem Series B
Special AIME Problem Seminar A
Special AIME Problem Seminar B
Intermediate Algebra
Intermediate Counting & Probability
Intermediate Number Theory
Precalculus
MathWOOT
USAMO
Students who have a strong chance of qualifying for the USA Junior Math Olympiad (USAJMO) or USA Math Olympiad (USAMO) may wish to consider our year-round Worldwide Online Olympiad Training (MathWOOT) program. We strongly recommend that student complete our entire core curriculum or its equivalent, except for Calculus, before considering MathWOOT.
MathWOOT
Precalculus
Computer Programming
Little or No Experience
A student with little or no programming experience should start with our Introduction to Programming with Python course. This course assumes no prior programming experience; however, the student should have completed a prealgebra course.
Introduction to Programming with Python
Some experience
A student with some programming experience should consider our Intermediate Programming with Python course. See the “Are You Ready?” diagnostic for this course to determine if the student has sufficient programming experience for this course; if not, consider our Introduction to Programming with Python instead. A student whose programming experience is in a language other than Python might have to learn some basic Python on their own before starting Intermediate Programming with Python.
Introduction to Programming with Python
Intermediate Programming with Python
Extensive experience
A student with extensive programming experience should consider our CodeWOOT course, especially if the student has some experience with foundational algorithms (binary search, depth-first search, sorting) and data structures (linked lists, stacks, queues, trees, graphs) and/or has experience in competitive programming contests. This course includes advanced training materials that will help students prepare for competitions such as the USA Computing Olympiad (USACO) and International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI). We encourage you to take the CodeWOOT diagnostic test to see if CodeWOOT is the right level.
CodeWOOT
Science Courses
Little or No Experience
A student with little or no science experience should start with our Introduction to Physics course. This course assumes no prior physics experience; however, the student should have completed the equivalent of Introduction to Algebra A to be successful.
Introduction to Physics
A student with little or no science experience that is interested in exploring a fun physics topic could take our Physics Seminar: Relativity course. This course is a special 5 hour weekend class that introduces students to relativity. No prior physics background is required.
Physics Seminar: Relativity
A student with a little science experience that is interested in learning mechanics and Newton's laws, or takinng the AP Physics 1 exam could take Physics 1: Mechanics. This course assumes some background in scientific reasoning, but no specific physics knowledge is required. Knowledge of algebra at a level equivalent to Introduction to Algebra A is needed.
Physics 1: Mechanics
Some experience
A student with some science experience can start with our Physics 1: Mechanics class. This course assumes some background in scientific reasoning, but no specific physics knowledge is required. This course will cover all topics needed for the AP Physics 1 exam.
Physics 1: Mechanics
A student with some physics experience, and interest in contest preparation, should consider our F=ma course. See the “Are You Ready?” diagnostic for this course to determine if the student has sufficient physics experience for this course; if not, consider our Introduction to Physics instead.
F=ma Problem Series
Extensive experience
These are our most advanced science courses aimed at ambitious science students that are preparing for national or international Olympiads. PhysicsWOOT and ChemWOOT are also for the advanced math student with an interest in science.