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AP Calculus vs. College Calculus

  1. Jun 27, 2006 #1
    Next semester, I will have the option of taking Calculus AB (AP) or Calculus 1 at a local community college. From what I heard, Calculus AB only covers topics in Calculus 1. I also heard that college courses are superior to AP courses and they are better preparation for future college coursework. Is is better for me to take Calculus AB or take Calculus 1 at a community college during the night (then I could take Calculus 2 second semester)?

    By the way, I will be in 12th grade so I won't have a chance of taking Calculus BC in high school. Thanks for your advice.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 27, 2006 #2
    Take the community college course. And do be prepared to have your grade depend solely on 3-4 tests and a final. No homework, no bonus, no exceptions.

    You will be much better off. High school is a waste of time, you will be in a class full of immature kids as opposed to adults who want to be there.

    Oh yea, and no one is going to hold your hand like in high school either.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2006
  4. Jun 27, 2006 #3
    Personally, I would :!!) that //
    (But, perhaps, with more than just 3-4 tests/)

    !By the way:
    1) ...that's not what happens in non-community-college humanities courses...
    2) Don't forget the midterm! :wink:
    3) it's "solely" and "exceptions"...not "soley" and "acceptions"

    But...this is just Calculus I, nothing too advanced...
    (bubbles will be better off, but not by "much"...perhaps)

    ^True :approve: (unless a certain proposal be implemented, perhaps...)

    For the most part...but not quite;

    even in my community college Calculus III (multivariable) class (where homework = 0%...i.e., counts nothing towards a grade), I still found "adult" classmates pleading "...but...I did all of the homework! Effort! Please raise my grade!" :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2006
  5. Jun 27, 2006 #4
    Thanks for the quick replies. I think I'll take the community college course. I like the the idea of having no homework (which means that I don't have to do those easy problems that don't help me at all) :smile: .

    I thought I would love that too...until I took 1st semester General Chemistry at a community college. The tests in college are pretty much designed so no one gets an 'A' so that the instructor could set the highest test-taker's score as the highest score. (College students take tests VERY seriously, too) Nothing like high school.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2006
  6. Jun 27, 2006 #5
    I took Calculus 1 and 2 at a community college instead of APs (hell, I didn't take any high school courses in senior year at all, just college) - best decision ever. Now i'm going into 4-year college straight to Physics 1 and Calc 3.

    The tests were absolutely not designed so that no-one gets an A, however I will say that is true with AP courses. They are rushed, and the grading is curved. I received an A for both College Calculus', very straightforward grading, 3 tests and a final (with participation credit, demonstrating problems).
  7. Jun 27, 2006 #6
    Dear god, why the hell did I spell those wrong!? :rofl:

    Nice catch.

    And the tests are the midterms..

    Do your homework or expect an F.

    That's not being immature. I mean the teacher having to stop because the children are always talking and playing around in class. I.e., highschool.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2006
  8. Jun 27, 2006 #7
    Yeah, I know. I was talking about not doing all of it because teachers often assign more than they need to. But nobody actually does all the homework, right? :confused: I specifically don't do all of the monotonous homework problems that require you to plug in the same formula over and over again and crunch numbers, unless I have to do it for credit. (High school teachers especially like assigning monotonous homework problems that don't require thinking.)
  9. Jun 27, 2006 #8
    The one's that get the A do all the homework and extra if they really care about the course, and you should too.

    Don't worry, you won't be getting problems that are so simple that you 'crunch numbers.' Walk into this class with very serious study habbits and work ethic. If you get an F, it will stay with you for the rest of your life, even if you don't go to that school after you finish high school.
  10. Jun 27, 2006 #9


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    Nobody does all the homework? :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

    It'll only feel like your crunching numbers if you skip the hard questions that require you to think.
  11. Jun 27, 2006 #10
    Just to throw a curveball: In my limited experience with community college courses (Chemistry 1 and 2 over a summer semester), community college was actually much easier than my high school classes. I worked my butt off in high school. During that summer, I barely studied, daydreamed in class, and still got As. (This is vastly different from my undergrad college, where I worked my butt off to get Cs sometimes.)

    In general, I’d agree with the above and say take the college course over the high school course. However, there can be exceptions to that advice.

    Definitely attempt the homework even if it's not required. It helps in the long run!

    Best of luck!
  12. Jun 27, 2006 #11
    In college sometimes you have to ask for more homework. The professor might only assign one or two problems to cover an entire topic that's on the test.

    in math/science/engineering it's not unusual to have only one or two midterms and a final as the total grade.

    Take it seriously, make sure you don't become complacent. A lot of people don't really understand the amount of work they need to put in, then bomb the first midterm and put themselves in a GPA pit.

    And I'm not sure I agree with the "designed so that no one gets an A" about college tests. The lowest top score in a class I've taken was 83%. These are often really really hard tests, with low scores in the 20's/30's, but there's always the top people who score well.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2006
  13. Jun 28, 2006 #12
    Thanks for all the support and advice everyone. I will definitely take the advice and do all the homework.

    Actually I've only taken one quiz so far in my summer chemistry class, the highest score was perfect and the second highest was an 80%. So only one person got an A on that first quiz.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2006
  14. Jun 28, 2006 #13
    You have to use your best judgment on how much homework to do. The professor always gave us a good amount of set problems, usually I did them all. Sometimes I felt I understood the concept when she said it, so I didn't do the homework and I did fine.
    But then there are people who give you way too much homework, and tell you to only do as many as necessary.

    The way I studied for calc was this: Take every type of question that is being tested and do one problem each. If I get a question wrong, and/or I still have doubts about my understanding of that particular concept, I do another until I get it right. Never takes more than an hour to study for a test, I don't use that many problems, and I get an A.

    Granted, you may have to do more for a class like Physics.
  15. Jun 28, 2006 #14
    Keep in mind bubbles, for every hour of class time, you are expected to put in two hours of study at home.
  16. Jun 28, 2006 #15
    I just finished my first year with a 4.0, and I never did all of my homework. (I took Calc. III and Diff. Eq.) Be wise. Your ultimate goal is to learn the material. This is something rather intuitive, and you'll know when you have it. Solving a horde of monotonous problems thereafter is a waste of time. Again, let me repeat: Your ultimate goal is to learn the material. Let this be, and you will fare well.
  17. Jun 28, 2006 #16
    No... you wouldn't, especially if the tests are each hour long tests or less... bleh. Not knowing one tiny thing for one problem could affect your total grade by a few percent :/

    Do take the Calc at the CC. I'm still mad that my AP Calc teacher didn't teach us hyperbolic trig functions simply because they arent on the AP test. Im taking Calc 2 at a university over the summer and its way way way better than AP Calc AB was...

    I do like that the homework is completely optional here. I do about half of it the two days before each test and it works perfectly. Everyday, I spend about 10-20 minutes looking over notes to make sure I understand everything....
  18. Jun 28, 2006 #17
    No, I do :!!) that system (and I have many a good experience with that system :approve:).
    Besides, the longer the test, the less effect a few stupid mistakes might have.
    Depending on the instructor, some give partial credit and some don't. As for the "tiny thing for one problem", stupid mistakes count little on a lengthy test, from my experience.
    Well, I'm not the one deciding where to take Calculus I (bubbles is, not bomba923). However, I did take Calculus I in CC during summer 2004, and took AP Calculus BC @ HS as a junior, after which I took Calculus III in CC in fall 2005.

    As for your calculus, AB covers only Calculus I material. Of course, Calculus II is better!
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