What’s up with “Common Core”? Should I worry about it??

The Short Answer:

Everyone is talking about Common Core like it's some crazy new way of teaching math, as if in the span of a few years it's going to "fix" math by "catching U.S. students up" to the "rest of the world". It's intimidating, like everyone is suddenly going to have to be some kind of math genius doing calculus proofs at the board in the 8th grade. But that's just the crazy story being pushed forward by the press.
In reality, Common Core is just the same old math that your school has always covered, except with fancy new names for stuff. Algebra 1 is still "Algebra", but Algebra 2 is now "numbers and quantities" and “functions”. Your school may switch books to one that has chapters with the right names for everything, they may even change the name of the class, but the topics are still the same. Lines are lines, variables are variables, and the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus is still the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus (that's a math joke).
Each class is still going to cover the same types of topics and problems, so That Tutor Guy has you covered. It’s your school’s job to design the math curriculum to comply with the standards. Your job, with ThatTutorGuy’s help, is to learn the topics and take the tests which won't be much different from how they were pre-CC.

The Long Answer:

The “Common Core” is a set of national educational standards for grades K-12 that define what students should know and be able to do by the completion of each grade. They were published in 2010 and have since been adopted by all but a handful of states. There are actually two sets of standards, one for “English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects” and one for “Mathematics”. (There are currently no standards available for science courses like chemistry and physics.) Each state has its own implementation schedule, but essentially since the adoption teachers and school districts have been busy revising curricula to be able to cover the content within the standards.

What topics are in the math standards and how are they organized?

For K-8, math topics are organized by grade. Starting in high school, they are arranged by something they call “domain”, just another way to say grouping of topics. The standards recognize that different schools structure their classes differently, and they don’t attempt to prescribe the organization of the classes. For example, many schools go Algebra-Geometry-Algebra II, whereas another school’s sequence might be Algebra-Algebra2/Trig-Pre-Calc. Truth is they all cover roughly the same topics in three years, they just title the courses differently or cover them in a different order. The domains in the standard are called: Number and Quantity; Algebra, Functions, Modeling, Geometry, and Statistics and Probability. There are no calculus topics.

Does ThatTutorGuy cover the material in the standards?

Absolutely! The topics are covered on our site as topics within Algebra, Geometry, Algebra 2, Pre-Calc, and Trig. In addition to a list of topics, the Common Core standards place a high emphasis on conceptual understanding. Unfortunately, this means your classroom teacher is likely to spend less and less time on how to do problems and more and more time explaining why you are doing them. This is great in theory, BUT you will still be expected to execute on the problems on tests. So your teacher is going to spend even more time lecturing, and even less time working examples. As you already know if you’re a subscriber, that’s where ThatTutorGuy excels, showing you how to do the problems so you can get on with your life. And in our humble opinion, good teachers have always explained things with the types of examples and questions that Common Core is making standard, so our videos were Common-Core-ish before it was hip.

Will I be tested on it?

Yes and no. Since teachers are building it into their curriculums, you will cover (and be tested on) it as part of your normal coursework. There are also computer based “assessments” in development, designed to be taken in 11th grade, that states will use to validate whether students are learning the material or not. They are not exit exams, they are more like the standardized tests you take today that measure the school's performance. However, these are still very much under development (and controversial). We have not found any evidence that any states will be using the “assessments” to determine your grade or your ability to graduate.

Should I read and study the standards?

Goodness no! Believe us, we’ve done it and it is no easy trick to try and translate that crazy terminology into what a sample problem might be. Unless you're the kind of person who has always read your state's education Standards, just because you enjoy that kind of thing, in which case the question you should be asking is: why would you not read the CC standards?

Any study tips related to Common Core standards?

As always, the key to keeping up with a Common Core class is the same as any other: keep up with class, and do your homework on time. You’ve probably been asked a million times to read the book ahead of time and never done it (yes, we’ve been there too) because your book is boring and incomprehensible. Instead, try watching the relevant ThatTutorGuy videos prior to seeing the material in class. That way you'll be able to follow what's going on in class instead of just furiously taking notes, and armed with that knowledge, the homework might actually be a little bit fun.