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05/24/2020 at 05:40PM

Tips for doing well in BC Calculus

Hello! I am currently in an honors math analysis class (pre-calc and "A" part of AB Calculus), and I was recommended for BC Calculus, however I don't really feel prepared for it. Are there any resources or other things (websites, practice worksheets other things like that other than khan academy) I can use to prepare myself for this class over the summer and maybe get ahead in the syllabus so that I have an easier time in the class (i know the class is super hard but maybe make it less hard)? For reference, I am currently a sophomore. Also, since I'm going to engineering, would you recommend I take both AB or BC or would it be okay to go straight to BC? I still have time to change it. My course load for next year is APUSH, AP Lang, AP Music Theory, Intro to Comp Sci, AP Physics C: Mechanics, AP AB/BC Calculus, and Engineering Studies III.

@cp83905/24/2020 at 06:07PM

Is your choice to skip AB and go straight to BC or take both?

[🎤 AUTHOR]@sanrad05/24/2020 at 06:07PM

go straight to BC

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3 answers

05/26/2020 at 04:20PM

If you feel able to handle the workload of all of those AP classes, then the difference between AB and BC might not be as huge as you think. AB and BC actually cover a lot of the same material at the start; BC just moves a lot more quickly, and by the end it encompasses what's basically two full college courses instead of just one. (AB is Calc 1; BC is Calc 1 and Calc 2). For people who are particularly inclined to math and science, there's really no point in taking both, since if you take AB then the first half of BC will be very repetitive and basic, and colleges are rarely going to give you credit for both scores (since the classes they replace would also be redundant).

Basically, my advice is that if you feel you can handle the workload, it sounds like you should go straight into BC. There's really no point in taking both, and AB is usually taken by seniors who don't feel ready for BC or won't need to go beyond Calc 1 in college.

With regard to getting ahead of the syllabus, you can try to get something like an AP review book (e.g. Princeton Review) and study that, but a lot of the concepts you take on in BC Calc (or AB Calc) will be unlike the stuff you've done in math up to this point. So I'm not sure how helpful that will be—some people really need a classroom environment to learn those things effectively.

Accepted Answer
@cp83905/26/2020 at 06:52PM

This answer makes me hate that they require AB to take BC at my school. I'd add that any practice with algebra helps because that's where I see most of my classmates struggle in calc.

05/26/2020 at 07:05PM

Giving your school the benefit of the doubt, that might mean that your BC Calc class skips over a lot of AB topics if *everyone* in it has taken AB. That way they can spend more time on more complicated integration methods and the like. I can see the merits to that approach—but it would only work if everyone is actually required to take both.

@cp83905/26/2020 at 07:44PM

Yeah to be fair I'm on a block schedule so it's a worthwhile trade-off since I get to take more classes

05/25/2020 at 05:06PM[edited]

Hey! I was a sophomore this year and I took BC too! Professor Leonard on Youtube and the videos on really helped me out. (Fiveable also has resources for some of your other AP classes). Also look up Pauls Online Math Notes. His website has the whole curriculum with notes and practice problems and great explanations as well! One thing you could keep practicing is algebra. Algebra is hit hard in Calculus so I would recommend really practicing that during the summer. Lots of mistakes during problems usually happen with not doing the algebra right so thats why I suggest you start practicing that. Definitely also review limits. Also, if you are good at math and don't mind a really fast paced course, going straight to BC is good. Take your other classes into consideration as well... ask yourself if you can handle all the workload together.

05/24/2020 at 06:34PM

If you're typically good at math and have had an easier time with the lower level courses, then I think you should be fine going straight to BC. However, you'll definitely need to self study basic derivatives/integration, and touch up on limits if you haven't had much time with them. I can't think of any sources besides Khan Academy to help you but I'm sure there are some. I'd also recommend reaching out to the teacher to see what previous students who have skipped AB did to prepare themselves for BC. I'd also only do this if you're taking year-long courses because the pacing is slower so there would be time for review of the basics. If you really want an easy time in BC then you should take AB, but since you have the opportunity to take BC right away I would.