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Fast-Paced High School Science Courses

Thank you for your interest in CTY's fast-paced high school science courses. We hope you find this information helpful in deciding whether to register for Fast-Paced High School Biology, Chemistry, or Physics, or in preparing for a course if your student is already registered.

If you are unable to find the information you are looking for, please call 410-735-6185 and ask to speak with a member of CTY's Science Committee.

Course Descriptions for Fast-Paced High School Science Courses

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I consult with my child's school before signing up for a fast-paced high school science course?

Absolutely. Fast-paced high school science courses are designed for students who plan to take more advanced coursework in their home schools or at CTY. These courses are designed for acceleration, not for a review of old concepts nor for a preview of the science classes students will take in the fall at their home schools. Students who successfully complete a CTY fast-paced science course have received the pre-requisite content for the relevant AP or IB science course. Students who repeat the same material when they return to school in the fall are generally dissatisfied with their school experience. Before applying, families should, therefore, discuss credit and/or placement and the consequences of acceleration with a school official to determine if a fast-paced high school science course is an appropriate choice. (See "Credit and Placement" below.)

Keep in mind specific high school science courses are often graduation requirements. Please discuss whether CTY’s fast-paced high school science course will count towards any such requirements in your student’s district during this discussion.

Do students complete a year's worth of science in three weeks?

The goal of CTY’s fast-paced high school science courses is to teach students the same material covered in a year-long introductory high school science course. Specific content expectations for standard biology, chemistry, and physics courses vary from school to school and district to district. For example, the New York’s Regents program has different requirements and content emphasis than some other states’ programs. Because of these regional differences, families are strongly encouraged to discuss the school’s requirements with officials before signing up for a CTY fast-paced high school science course. Students who complete a CTY fast-paced high school science course successfully have been exposed to content and skills similar to those of a student who has completed a year-long course in a typical high school setting.

What if the curriculum at my child's school doesn't match the fast-paced high school science curriculum? Can accommodations be made?

These courses are designed to cover an entire year of high school science in three weeks, so there is not much room for curriculum changes during a CTY summer session. For most students, the curriculum does match. In case there are differences, many students have successfully sat for their home schools’ exams after taking our summer courses and reviewing certain topics not emphasized in them. For the best understanding of what will be covered during our courses, see the sample syllabi and content lists.

Are letter grades assigned?

CTY students are typically not assigned letter grades; instead, they receive a narrative evaluation of their overall course performance, highlighting their strengths and areas for improvement. If your student requires a letter grade, you may request one at any time by contacting Enrollment Services. Grade requests typically take several weeks after the end of the summer sessions to complete.

Is there any documentation at the end of the session to give schools proof that my child mastered the material?

In addition to a personalized narrative evaluation, each student automatically receives a course description specific to his or her class section. Generally, this documentation is all schools require to grant credit or placement.

Some schools, however, may require additional documentation in order to grant a student credit or placement for a CTY fast-paced high school science course. Students from New York, for example typically need copies of their lab work and certification of the laboratory hours they have completed during a course.

Upon request, CTY can provide the following additional documentation for each of its fast-paced high school science courses:

  1. a final course syllabus,
  2. a letter of certification of laboratory hours, and
  3. a pre- and post-assessment score report.

You may request these documents at any time by contacting Enrollment Services.

Do fast-paced high school science courses really work? Will my student be ready for an AP or IB science course after just three weeks at CTY?

Research evidence shows that the answer is yes. CTY is engaged in long-term research on the overall effectiveness of the acceleration model utilized in fast-paced high school science courses. As part of the process of renewing CTY”s accreditation, CTY conducted a more focused research project on how well our fast-paced high school science courses prepare students for AP- or IB-level work. This research has shown that students who completed our summer fast-paced high school science courses do as well or better on AP exams than a control group of their CTY peers who instead completed other CTY Intensive Studies summer science courses. While these results are preliminary, all the evidence indicates our fast-paced high school science courses prepare students successfully for more challenging course work.

Course Content

The concepts covered in each fast-paced high school science course are available below. Additionally, the sample syllabi for each course can be found on the relevant course’s catalog page. We recognize that CTY's curriculum may be different from what is offered at your school.

Please select a course:

Credit and Placement

Whether or not you get credit or placement for your summer programs course work depends on your school or district.

The Center for Talented Youth is accredited for grades 5 through 12 by the Commission on Secondary Schools of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, but does not award degrees or diplomas and cannot grant credit or placement. Credit or placement can only be awarded by the student's school. For fast-paced high school science courses, you must work with your child’s school to see if the school will grant credit or placement for a CTY course.

To help determine whether you should pursue placement, please review our Parents' Guide for Requesting Credit and/or Placement document.

Often, the documentation CTY automatically provides upon completion of a fast-paced high school science course is sufficient for receiving credit or placement. Also, in the past several strategies have helped parents work with schools for credit or placement. Families should ask schools whether they will allow a student to sit for the school/district final exam after the summer session to demonstrate content mastery. Additionally, they might ask the school what additional documentation CTY can provide for the student to receive credit or placement. For example, letter grades, lab notebooks, and exam scores can usually be provided when requested before the session begins; a copy of the final exam cannot. In rare cases, school officials have spoken to CTY science representatives about the course, labs, and final exam content to make a final determination about credit or placement.