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Calculus AB and BC?

  1. Dec 14, 2007 #1
    So I'm studying calculus on my own, independently. I'm a junior in high school, and I'm getting help from my Physics teacher when I need help.
    I bought this book http://www.amazon.com/Calculus-James-Stewart/dp/0534359493/ref=ed_oe_h

    and it's great. I've learned a lot from it so far and haven't had any problems with the problems...

    So if I decide to take the AP Calculus exam, which I probably will, which one do I need to take... Calculus AB or BC?

    Thanks...
    Sorry if this is in the wrong place.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 14, 2007 #2

    Ben Niehoff

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    Depends on your confidence in your abilities. But if you're good enough in math that you're taking calculus early, then you should take the BC exam (it is more difficult, and will get you more college credits). If you have an easy time understanding the concepts, definitely the BC exam is for you.
     
  4. Dec 14, 2007 #3

    chroot

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    AB is intended to test student who have had roughly one year of calculus; BC is intended to test those who have had roughly two. If you have been studying the subject for less than a year, take the AB exam.

    Keep in mind that most schools will not give credit for scores lower than 4 on either test. If you think you could only manage a 3 on the BC, but a 4 or 5 on the AB, definitely take the AB instead.

    - Warren
     
  5. Dec 14, 2007 #4
    Alright, well I'm finishing up limits right now in the book, and I've been working on it for roughly a week. So I'm really early.

    But it's not the first time I've been exposed to it. I started to learn it last year, very briefly... but my foundations weren't solid enough.
    Now that I'm comfortable with everything, it's coming really easy and quick.

    Is there any difference in material on the BC compared to the AB?
     
  6. Dec 14, 2007 #5

    Ben Niehoff

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    Yes. Look them up online, and you can get detailed information on what topics are covered. Then you can probably make a better decision. If you are not taking the exam until your senior year, then you certainly have enough time to cover all of the BC material in detail, I would think.
     
  7. Dec 14, 2007 #6

    chroot

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    Uh, yes, the BC exam tests at least a semesters' worth of material that does not appear on the AB. That's rather the point. If you're just finishing up limits now, you're maybe one-quarter of the way to being ready to sit for the AB exam.

    - Warren
     
  8. Dec 14, 2007 #7
    Alright, is there any downside to taking the AB exam at the end of my junior year?
     
  9. Dec 14, 2007 #8

    chroot

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    It doesn't matter when you take it -- just make sure you're ready for it. I don't know the rules about taking it twice, or even if it's possible.

    - Warren
     
  10. Dec 14, 2007 #9
    I'll have to sit down with my guidance counselors and have a chat with them about it.
     
  11. Dec 14, 2007 #10

    Ben Niehoff

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    If you're only just now covering limits, do you think you'll actually be ready for the AB exam that soon? Read about the two tests here:

    http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/subjects.html

    and decide for yourself. But the BC is definitely more valuable, if you think you can learn all the material by the end of your senior year.
     
  12. Dec 14, 2007 #11
    Remember I'm a junior... Or do you think it would take that long to learn the material?

    That is, take me until my senior year to learn it.
     
  13. Dec 14, 2007 #12

    chroot

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    It should take about a year to learn the AB material, and another year or so to learn the BC material in detail. Supposedly, A, B, and C refer to semesters, but few schools break up their core classes into semesters.

    - Warren
     
  14. Dec 14, 2007 #13
    Hmm, I'll stick with the AB exam for now. :cool:
     
  15. Dec 14, 2007 #14
    Actually BC is intended to cover the first two college calculus classes in a lot of colleges. (Calc I and II) AB is like Calc I and 1/4
     
  16. Dec 14, 2007 #15

    mathwonk

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    learn some geometry and algebra. AP calc is a joke.
     
  17. Dec 15, 2007 #16

    Gib Z

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    Agreed. I don't know the distinctions between AP and BC or whatever, but if its being taught at a high school it probably is a joke. Wait for University, get a good book and learn from an experienced teacher, not a physics teacher. No offense, but the way physicists view/use/teach math can be shocking.
     
  18. Dec 15, 2007 #17
    Why do you say that? Physicists apply mathematics, isn't that the purpose of math -- to be used?

    Why do you say that? There are a few seniors who took Calc BC last year and are the taking Calc III at a university this year and are doing extremely well in the class. It's just basic calculus regardless of where you get it I mean unless you want to be a mathematician then it's fine, I don't get why you're so opposed to the idea? If you want every piece of theory behind it go read Apostol but I mean for future engineer's it's plenty for a starting calculus class.
     
  19. Dec 15, 2007 #18

    Gib Z

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    There is purpose of mathematics somewhat varies between your field - someone who specializes in mathematical physics will say maths is to be used, someone who specializes in number theory will say that it's quite hard to find an application to a certain theorem, but it's damn beautiful. I'm just saying, Physicists use unjustified steps to get to true results, just because they know beforehand the result. If they do not properly justify certain steps, its horrible math. A famous example might be where String theorists had to sum the positive integers from 1 to n, as n approaches infinity, and the value of this 1) paradoxically had to be finite for physical reasons and 2) it had to be -1/12 to fit in nicely with the number of dimensions in use. It was known however that not usual summation operator, but the Ramanujan summation method yielded that sum. Most papers however will 1) not tell you they switched operators hence 2) avoids having the justify the switch.
     
  20. Dec 16, 2007 #19
    I know some algebra and geom... haha How would I be learning calc if I didn't already know that stuff?

    And what the hell is wrong with trying to learn? I'm motivated.
    Just because I want to succeed, and I appreciate mathematics doesn't mean I shouldn't work hard in HS!

    I take it you didn't take calc in HS? Or maybe you had a teacher who didn't care?
    I never said I was taking the course. I said I was reading a text book, and comprehending every last word of it. I'm not a tool. It's not that difficult.

    I don't understand why you would ever say that taking calc in HS is a waste of time. Obviously you don't want to do much with life, or you're just not motivated enough. I'm sorry if you're that person who goes to work everyday, and hates every last bit of it. Which is kind of hard to believe considering you're spending a whole lot of time on this forum discussing physics and math.

    Maybe I don't want to do physics for a job, which I have no clue if I'm going to or not. I thought this would be a good resource to learn from when I joined, but from your attitude, I guess I was mistaken. It's just a place to get shot down, and have fellow members telling you that what you want to do is ridiculous and that it's a waste of time. Way to help a high schoolers self-esteem.

    Thanks,
    tell the mods that they just lost another member.

    Tool.

    BTW, this message is directed towards mathwonk and gibs z.
    And don't you think that I'll learn more proper math, and better ways to do it when I get to college? Hmm... for a Physicist Helped (if you can be called that) you're not really helping me.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2007
  21. Dec 16, 2007 #20

    chroot

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    chuckd1356,

    I don't think mathwonk and Gib Z are saying that you should not be studying calc in high school, nor are they trying to insult you. They're just saying that calculus is usually much better presented in college than in high school. They're suggesting that maybe you should take some calculus courses in college, even if you place out of them with an AP test, because you might get more out of them.

    I don't think anyone would fault you for trying to challenge yourself.

    - Warren
     
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