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Studying AP Calculus

  1. Mar 12, 2016 #1
    Hello everyone, I was just wondering what AP Calculus is compared to a regular college class and if they are comparable. For example does AP Calculus teach computational skills over conceptual over vise-versa? Or how does the AP Calculus curriculum compare to a regular college calculus class? Also the most common book that AP Calculus classes use is Calculus Graphical Numerical Algebraic by Demana, Finney, Kennedy, Watts
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 12, 2016 #2


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    AP calc courses are designed to prepare you for the AP test, so take a look at that test. 20 years ago when my sons were students, AP tests seldom featured any theoretical questions at all, or at most one, maybe on the BC test. College calc courses range over a wide spectrum of difficulty levels, and are aimed at many different audiences, some at engineers, some at arts and aciences majors, honors versions aimed at math majors and very advanced classes aimed at future mathematicians, essentially on a graduate level. In my own experience, my college students who came in with AP preparation usually knew very little about the ideas of calculus and struggled in my class even if they took the beginning version. unfortunately for financial reasons many of them chose to opt out of th beginning class and start in a second semesater class with only AP background in first semester calculus. Since not only did they not learn much in that high school AP class, but they had actually forgotten what little they did know, and had not reviewed it before coming to college, they usually did poorly. I usually advise students with only AP preparation to start college with a beginning but honors level calculus course. Thay way the computational skills they have learned in AP class will help them as they learn the more significant and more difficult theoretical ideas taught in the honors class. But every professor and every school is somewhat different. I know college professors whose calc clases are no harder than a high school AP class. Some of them have gradually dumbed down their classes because of hard earned experience with weak entering students.
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