Worth it: Honors classes at the middle school

Iris Chung

Opinion by Kayla Graff ’26

Taking honors classes at the middle school can be intimidating. From math to science to language, honors classes are typically more fast-paced, have a larger workload and include harder tests.
Honors Algebra II is an infamously hard math class at the middle school. It is open to rising 8th graders who have been approved by their 7th grade Algebra I teacher to take the course. It is also open to new 9th graders who have completed a Geometry course at their previous school.
“It’s definitely a class that challenges you to think outside of the box and manage your time well, as it moves at a much quicker pace than my other classes,” Sophie Chang ’27 said.
Although Chang says the class is brutal, it is a great class to take for eligible 8th graders. Taking an Honors math class as an 8th grader builds fundamental study skills such as meeting with teachers often in order to keep up with fast-paced classes. As a 9th grader, Honors Algebra II is a class that will boost your weighted GPA and allow you to engage in a challenging math course.
As a 9th grader, you can take either Geometry, Advanced Geometry or Honors Geometry. Honors Geometry is strongly recommended for students coming from Honors Algebra II who have received a B+ or above.
“Honors Algebra II was so much harder [than Honors Geometry],” Anthony Shearmer ’26 said.
If you are coming from Algebra I, Honors Geometry can be a challenge, but it is definitely possible to succeed with hard work.
“Transitioning from a course like Algebra 1 to Honors Geometry was definitely a big leap in terms of the challenge of the course. I have to devote more time to Geometry Honors, but the nature of the course in addition to my great teacher has allowed me to succeed in the class,” Levi Schwartz ’26 said.
All in all, Honors Geometry is an option for anyone who wants to add an honors course to their schedule with a slightly smaller time commitment than other honors classes.
If science is your forte, Honors Biology is an option in 9th grade. It has a reputation for being the hardest class at the middle school, but it is also very enriching. If you are not okay with the likely outcome of not getting an A, then Honors Bio is probably not the course for you. It also takes up a ton of time between daily homework readings, lab reports, worksheets, and the endless amount of studying it takes to do well on a test, so it is only worth it to take if you genuinely have an interest in biology.
“Bio honors doesn’t cover topics that are more difficult to understand than regular bio, but there’s far more material to memorize and cover for tests,” Lyla Kavanaugh ‘26, a current Bio Honors student said. “There’s also a midterm, which no other class in ninth grade requires you to take.”
You must take at minimum a 1B level of your chosen language in 7th grade in order to take an Honors language course in 9th grade. This is not realistic for most students unless they have taken language courses at their previous school, but if you are eligible for an Honors language course, you should take it.
“Honors language is definitely rigorous, but manageable,” Caroline Cosgrove ’26 said. “It is a deeper dive into the language and I think it really helped me immerse myself into the Spanish world.”
In general, Honors courses at the middle school are a great way to challenge yourself and dive deeper into subjects that you excel at, as long as those subjects are math, science, or a world language. The lack of honors/advanced history and English courses is not ideal for students who are more humanity focused, and it is a long standing issue that students have been wanting to see change in.