AP Calculus AB and BC

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Discus: SAT/ACT Tests and Test Preparation: October 2003 Archive: AP Calculus AB and BC
By Number9 (Number9) on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - 09:29 pm: Edit

Next year, I'll be moving on to AP Calculus. Now from what I understand, the class is Calc AB, but there were about 3 or 4 who took BC. I really want to get into the BC class, and wondered what the differences were.

Im assuming its based on either a choice, grades, or taking AB during summer school (because there is no other working way at my school)

By Jason817 (Jason817) on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - 09:32 pm: Edit

Dont even try getting in to BC without taking AB. BC is a continuation with the assumption that you know and can apply everything you learned in AB.

By Number9 (Number9) on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - 09:35 pm: Edit

Thats what I figured. I wonder how these kids got into BC, though.

Our school does not offer AP Calc AB in the summer, and there is no possible way for a senior to already take AB (Advanced Freshmen start with Geometry, then Algebra II, then PreCalc and Trig, then AP Calc AB. Only Geometry and Algebra II can be taken the same year and thats for non-advanced students.)

Really strange. I'll have to ask the teacher about this. I really want to learn as much as possible.

By Justice (Justice) on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - 10:02 pm: Edit

Not true at all. I'm taking BC at this very moment and we're into integration, and this is my first year of calculus as a junior. Last year I took precalculus.
BC has a more difficult curriculum in terms of the degree of sophistication, but AB is no cakewalk either. However, they're both year-longs. I have no idea how it is done at your school, so it's more of a question to ask your teacher.

By Mew24680 (Mew24680) on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - 10:05 pm: Edit

yeah thats true, in BC i learned euler's method and going to learn more stuff; a continuing of AB.

By Futureal (Futureal) on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - 10:21 pm: Edit

it really depends on your teacher.... for example, last year we finished AB topics before the AP test and worked on BC topics after that.
We will finish this years BC topics by christmas and do strictly multi-variable calc for the rest of the year

By Encomium (Encomium) on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - 10:25 pm: Edit

In my school no one does AP Calc AB then BC...in fact we were having a discussion today about how dumb that would be since it would be redoing half of it

By Aspirer42 (Aspirer42) on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - 10:45 pm: Edit

I agree with Junior and Encomium. I went straight from Precalculus to AP Calc BC, and actually even had a bit of overlap between those two courses. I don't see how you could stretch out the material you only learn in BC and not AB over a full year.

By Jason817 (Jason817) on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - 10:49 pm: Edit

maybe your BC class is different. You guys must have started on an earlier chapter or have done some sort of a review or something. We started in the middle of the textbook so we didn't go over the basics which you guys had to. We immediately started with trig substitution integration (extremely hard stuff).

By Andy7733 (Andy7733) on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 - 12:36 am: Edit

yeah, at my school, BC is a seperate start to finish course, for calculus, from AB, then presumably II. BC=calc AB + calc II, though we do some extra stuff in calc II than is covered in the BC course.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 - 01:58 am: Edit

At D's school its Pre-Calc/CalcA (usually junior year) and then CalcBC. A weak grade in Pre-Calc/CalcA gets you invited to take CalcAB instead. As near as I can figure, at *most*, 25 percent of those who start with Geometry Honors in freshman year make it to CalcBC. The CalcBC teacher is amazing...in ten years she's had *one* student get lower than a 3 on the AP exam...about 50 percent get 5's.

By Ajhayes (Ajhayes) on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 - 02:13 am: Edit

I'm in AP Calculus BC this year and I was in Pre Calculus last year. Taking AB helps, but usually isn't necessary.

By Techieguy (Techieguy) on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 - 02:21 am: Edit

At my school the dumb kids take AB and the smart ones take BC. AP Calc is only offered senior year so you cannot take both.

By Interested123 (Interested123) on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 - 03:49 pm: Edit

uhhh, I took BC as a first year calc course and did fine, i even got a 5 on the exam. in my school AB is kind of the median between BC (motivated students) and regular Calc (unmotivated students)

By Jlq3d3 (Jlq3d3) on Thursday, October 16, 2003 - 03:33 pm: Edit

I dono but my school it goes geometry-alg2-precalc/trig-calcab/bc. There is no room to make ab and bc two seperate classes. After precalc, everyone goes to ab or bc. Im in bc and were learning the same stuff as ab but faster so by second semester we will have started bc work. We are on differentiation now.

By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, October 16, 2003 - 03:55 pm: Edit

There are many ways to handle AP Calculus.
AP-Calc AB is usually considered worth 1.5 semester of college calculus and AP-Calc BC is considered worth 2 semesters. So BC covers only a bit more material than AB.
Some schools offer AB and BC separately right after Pre-Calc. Students who feel they need a slightly slower pace go into AB; those who can go at a faster pace go into BC. In other schools, AB and BC are taught within the same class, perhaps because there are not enough teachers to teach separate classes or perhaps because there are not enough students to justify them. It is considerably harder to hae AB and BC together both for the students and the teachers. Some schools do let students take AB first then BC, supplemented by math modelling or differential equations to round out the year.
The AB and BC exams are substantially the same except for one section on the MC part and one section on the Free REsponse Question part. When a student takes the BC exam, his or her score will include an AB subscore.

By Jason817 (Jason817) on Thursday, October 16, 2003 - 06:06 pm: Edit

Whoever doesnt take AB and enters my BC class will not ace the class. In fact, nobody in my class aces it and some people in that class are the smartest people I know. YOu guys must have really easy BC classes then that would start w/ the derivative then go on to integration, etc. YOu'd fall so behind in BC because you would already have to know stuff like volumes of revolutions for example

By Frenchfries (Frenchfries) on Thursday, October 16, 2003 - 08:50 pm: Edit

At my school, you must take AP Calc AB before taking AP Calc BC. The advanced students can take Algebra 1 is 8th grade, so as Freshmen they can start with Geometry. Last year for the first time there was the option to "double up" in math by taking Algebra 2 first semester and Pre-Calculus second semester, and many of my friends and I took advantage of this, so right now we have AP Calc AB as juniors. Most of the students who took AB though, are seniors. There was also supposed to be a normal non-AP Calc class, but it was cancelled because of scheduling conflicts. Many students dropped the class in the first month because they found it too difficult. So far, we did a chapter of review, limits, and derivatives. Next year whatever members of the class of '05 who want to continue with math can take Calc BC, but the class will probably have way less than 10 students. I think the calc class now has around 6 students, and they must have taken summer courses to reach that level, because AB is a prereq for BC.

By Cleanfreak (Cleanfreak) on Thursday, October 16, 2003 - 09:00 pm: Edit

at my school, u can skip pre cal and go straight to bc calc. as of now, the class is ok. its not too hard, and not as east as sequential or something
c ya

By Justice (Justice) on Friday, October 17, 2003 - 12:05 am: Edit

Yeah my BC calculus class is pretty easy, but it's well-taught. Last year we had over 60 out of 70 kids in my school get 5s on the BC AP and all of them get at least a 4. My teacher's class last year only had one person get a 4 in the entire class. No one takes AB before BC; it's not even allowed. If you take AB Calculus, you are not allowed to take BC or go to Multivar/Linear Alg. Your only choice is AP Stats. I don't see any reason to take AB if you think you can handle BC. Then again I go to a really good school and the teachers know how to make everything understandable. Calculus really isn't that complicated.

By Jason817 (Jason817) on Friday, October 17, 2003 - 12:51 am: Edit

So you're expected to self-teach integration, taking the derivative, volumes of revolutions, related rates, etc?

By Anduin (Anduin) on Friday, October 17, 2003 - 02:05 am: Edit

At my school, it is possible to take AB and then BC or just BC. Some people start the year in BC but then drop to AB, but because BC is so well-taught at my school, those people have a solid foundation going down to AB. It seems to me that the theory of teaching BC is to beat everyone to death with a course that is twice as hard as the AP Test. Because of the great teaching and large amount of work, well over 90 percent of BC students get 4's or 5's.

By Altsuperhero (Altsuperhero) on Saturday, October 18, 2003 - 11:21 am: Edit

interesting interpretations ...
well, at my school, the (new) typical path is H Adv Alg (Alg 2 with a fancier name), H Pre-Calc, AP Calc AB or Calc BC, AP Stat/Class TBA ... yeah, our school is the nascent stage of developing a higher level calc course ... on the first day of BC, our teacher was said, "alright, do you have any questions on the first three chapters?" (no reply) "alright, open your books to Section 4.1" ... we still had to go over some facets of differentiation and integration but we're moving at a pretty fast pace and we'll catch up with other BC classes

By Hyphen (Hyphen) on Saturday, October 18, 2003 - 01:40 pm: Edit

Stanton's typical path:

Algebra 2 or Geometry
Geometry or Algebra 2
Pre-Calculus with Trig elements
Calculus AB or Statistics

My path:

Algebra 2
Geometry & Pre-Calculus with Trig elements
Calculus AB
Calculus BC

One senior is currently taking both Calculus BC & Calculus AB. He is taking the AB course online at a virtual school.

By Underqualified (Underqualified) on Saturday, October 18, 2003 - 02:10 pm: Edit

At my school you cannot take BC until you have already completed AB. The BC course reviews AB, teaches BC material, and then goes beyond what the AP covers. Our AB classes score about 90% 5s, and the rest 4s, with maybe one or two threes. Our BC class always score 99% 5s, with maybe one four.

By Carolineqs (Carolineqs) on Saturday, October 18, 2003 - 05:31 pm: Edit

I'm in BC having taken precalc last year. At my school, BC is two class periods, so we cover AB and BC in one year.

By Chrisjr (Chrisjr) on Friday, January 09, 2004 - 12:46 pm: Edit

what does AB and BC actually stand for?

By Paul_Dirac (Paul_Dirac) on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - 10:47 pm: Edit

A - the first semester of college calc.

B - 2nd semester

C - 3rd semester

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