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Question about Math AP courses

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by mhl12, May 20, 2005.

  1. mhl12

    mhl12 IncGamers Member

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    Question about Math AP courses

    Well I'm deciding my courses for next school at my high school. People out there who are in high school or past it, probably know that there are two AP Calculus courses recognized by most colleges (Calculus AB and Calculus BC).

    The math level I'm in right now at school is designed for me to go to the AB course. If I wanted to enroll in the BC course, I would have to move up to the "accelerated" math level, which according to many people in my schoo, is a nightmare.

    So I'm trying to decided whether or not to move up or stay at my level. I really really want to take the BC exam so I don't have to take calculus in college (many colleges, especially ivy leaguers, do not recognize AB or only give you partial credit). So I wanted to ask you people who have taken one of these two courses if that there was a big difference or not between them. Like how much extra information will I have to learn if I stay on the AB course? If I stay with the AB course, I can always take the BC exam but that means I will have to do some extra studying or get some tutoring.

    Any advice and other stuff is welcome.

    P.S. please don't post/joke about anything like I shouldn't take these courses or that math is for geeks or something. I'm looking for some serious help. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Fallen Creation

    Fallen Creation IncGamers Member

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    I went with BC. I think my teacher told me that AB only covers Calc 1, while BC covers both Calc 1 and Calc 2. I don't know anyone who took AB, so I don't really know how they compare.
     
  3. txmielnik

    txmielnik IncGamers Member

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    It depends how well you are doing in your current level course, if your not getting at least 80 percent i wouldn't switch, because there's no point in taking BC and getting a bad mark that colleges will look twice at. But if you have a good understaing of math than there isn't a huge difference, as long as you do your homework and practice problems.
     
  4. AeroJonesy

    AeroJonesy IncGamers Member

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    My experience is that calc BC covered 2 extra chapters, though I can't recall which two. There were students in the AB class who studied the extra material in order to take the BC test.

    I'd go with calc BC as two extra chapters of material isn't all that much more work, but it is more readily recognized, and it does offer more credit at some schools. Unless you know exactly where you want to go to college, and even then, it's best to keep as many doors open as you can.
     
  5. SelfBaisResistor

    SelfBaisResistor IncGamers Member

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    You would think that since I am a math teacher I could help you with this, but I can't. I only have experience in taking and talking to my co-workers about AB. That's all the school districts I either went to or teach at now have/had. It has also been so long ago since I took Calc in high school, but our students probably get through what would be Calc 1 in most college.
     
  6. Tor

    Tor IncGamers Member

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    Bc was easy in my opinion. thats cuz i had to take ab first sophmore year
     
  7. CookiesnCream

    CookiesnCream IncGamers Member

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    At our school, BC was only 2-3 extra chapters at the end so you got through the first couple of chapters faster than AB. I took BC as a Junior and ended up taking statistics as a senior which was a pointless class.
     
  8. 5Ws

    5Ws Banned

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    I personally took both AB and BC, in two separate years in HS. To do BC you must know AB first of all. And it is definitely possible to do both in the same year. Taking AB first however, gives you a firm foundation for the higher maths. If you are going for Engineering or Math related, I do think AB first will be more benificial. However, if BC is what you will ever need, and you are willing to work harder, then I see nothing wrong with taking BC, skipping AB.
     
  9. Stevinator

    Stevinator IncGamers Member

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    whoa, we didn't have any of these levels. all i did was take level 3 math and then take a test to get out of all the pre-req math classes in college. there wasn't any ab/bc stuff

    there was a level honors math, but they were basically just one semester/year ahead. frankly, I think they could've crammed most of hogh school math into three semesters, but that's just me.

    I say go ahead take the harder class. A wise man once told me to always fish for whales. he said, if oyu fish for whales and catch minnows, you still have minnows. if you fish for minnows and catch nothing, well, you have nothing.

    aim high man. and don't worry about college math. it's the same deal. read a chapter parrot out what you just read...if you don't get it, look at the examples. blah blah blah.

    the hard part of college is going to class sober.
     
  10. AeroJonesy

    AeroJonesy IncGamers Member

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    For the record, getting a 4 on the BC calc test earned me 15 hours of math at OSU. That's 3 quarters of math I didn't have to take. That amounts to a full year with one less class per quarter than other people. It's how I'm able to graduate in 4 years (only 12 quarters). So taking harder classes in high school can save you tuition money in college.
     
  11. Stevinator

    Stevinator IncGamers Member

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    which equates to more beer money.




    see i said equates cuz it's a math thread:)


    seriously, 15 hours? wow. I don't know how much of the credit I got in math, but I did get enough credits from the placement exams to become a sophmore in one semester. kinda cool. I think part of that was science though. helped me get out in four years. but now I wish i could've stayed and drank a bit more. that was the life.
     
  12. Tor

    Tor IncGamers Member

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    BC is just AB + ~10 super hard topics

    mainly dealing with mclauren/Taylor series, and hella hard integration crap
     
  13. zarikdon

    zarikdon IncGamers Member

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    Well, you can find the topic list for Calc BC here. The topics with a + or * next to them (starting on page 12) are the topics in BC that aren't covered in AB. As you can tell, the main differences are that 1) BC covers derivatives and integrals in polar and parametric coordinates, 2) BC covers slightly more applications of integrals to various sorts of problems, and 3) BC has a long section on series expansions.

    Topic 3) is going to take some effort to learn no matter what, and you'll be best prepared to tackle it after understanding all the stuff about derivatives and integrals that came before it in class. However, 1) and 2) CAN be made easier because they're basically just trying to get you to combine stuff you learned in pre-calc with the stuff you will learn in calc. The better you know the stuff from pre-calc, the easier your life will be. For example, do you remember parametric and polar coordinates? Trig identities? Basic geometric facts like the Pythagorean Theorem? If so, and if you can at least keep up with the calc stuff you're learning, then the additional BC topics will probably be no harder than the AB stuff.

    Keep in mind, however, that calculus really is a very layered subject. The better you learn the stuff about limits at the beginning, the easier it'll be to understand derivatives. The better you learn stuff about derivatives, the easier it'll be to face some of the harder problems with integrals, etc. The stuff about series expansions (Topic 3) comes at the very end of all this, so if you want to do well on that part, make sure you've worked hard the rest of the year.

    But despite all this, I really think you don't have much to lose by taking Calc BC (the class), unless you're one of those people who's deathly afraid of math. If you're marginally interested in a career involving engineering, math, or science, the stuff in BC is only the very beginning of what you'll be learning in college. If you do well in the class and ace the exam, well, you'll have a head start in college. If you don't manage to get credit, then at least when you take the class again you won't be seeing it for the first time, and you'll be able to solidify the stuff you learned before. Win-win either way to me. You might be worried that BC will hurt your high school grades compared to taking AB, but honestly, do you think that 3 additional topics in one class is going to make the difference between getting amazing grades and getting into all your colleges, or having a terrible term and getting nowhere in life? It might be possible, but you probably wouldn't want to put any money on it. There are other factors of course, like how good is the teacher, do you work with other people, are you motivated, are you taking lots of other AP classes, etc., and you'll have to take all that into account. But assuming all those other things are pretty reasonable, I doubt that switching up from AB is going to be the end of you.
     
  14. mhl12

    mhl12 IncGamers Member

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    Ok thanks for the replies people.

    I'm just worried that if I take BC calc, I'll end up getting C's and D's while in AB calc I can still get an A. Because from what I've heard from other students in my school, BC is pretty hard.
     
  15. AeroJonesy

    AeroJonesy IncGamers Member

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    If it's the same teacher teaching both classes, I can't see BC being []i]that[/i] much harder than AB. If it's a different teacher, then it's a different story.

    I was a sophomore after one quarter. You need 45 hours to be a sophomore, and I had 15 from math, 5 from physics, and 20 from Spanish. That's why AP tests rule.
     
  16. mhl12

    mhl12 IncGamers Member

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    No, math teachers at my school don't teach AB and BC calc. That will be too much of a strain on them. Because, I go to a private school, things are a little bit different and harder than public schools.

    Also, AB calc has just been added this year to the math curiculum because before, it was either you were smart enough to do BC calc on the accelerated math course, or you would stay in the regular math course and not do calc at all.
     
  17. bigD72

    bigD72 IncGamers Member

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    BC is cake dude. Seriously, you get an extra two or three chapters over AB. If you don't do well on it, you still get an AB subscore. Technically you could just do awesome on the AB (60% of the total BC exam) get a 5 on the AB subscore and a 3 on the BC score without answering a BC question.
     
  18. Garbad_the_Weak

    Garbad_the_Weak IncGamers Member

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    Don't be worried. It is rarely much harder.

    Take a chance - worst case you can still take the AB test without the class (trust me, I know - I took several AP classes without taking the course and got credit).

    Garbad
     
  19. bigD72

    bigD72 IncGamers Member

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    To further comment about your grades, I pretty much B'd the entire year of BC. I would have probably B'd the entire year of AB, all from lack of doing homework. Since it probably is your senior year, it won't be that big of a deal if you make a C or D. Applying to schools they will see you taking the harder class and recognize that you could be making straight A's in Mickey Mouse classes.
     
  20. SuggestiveName

    SuggestiveName IncGamers Member

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    I took AB and got college credit for it, and I'm a math major. My school doesn't differentiate between AB and BC in terms of credit given, all they care is that the score is >3.

    I would go for BC, might as well take the hardest stuff offered if you are planning on getting into a top tier school. I would have done BC if my school had offerred it. Since BC is second semester mostly, your grade in it will mean exactly jack to admissions.
     

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