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How bad does a B in Calc BC look?

  1. Dec 13, 2005 #1
    I'm applying to all my universities as a potential mathematics major, and unfortunately if I don't do very well on this final tomorrow I could make a B in my Calc BC class. Is this something to worry about? I know this won't make or break my application, but I would hate to get rejected over something like this.

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 13, 2005 #2
    I think you are seriously over concerned if you're worried about getting a B in calc BC. I think the fact that you're even taking Calc BC gives you a nice leg up. My high school didn't even offer it. Universities would rather see a B in a top level class than an A in easy classes.
  4. Dec 13, 2005 #3
    Ah thanks. That makes me feel a little better.
  5. Dec 13, 2005 #4
    Universities in the US generally don't admit you for a specific major such as mathematics, and the odd non-perfect grade will probably not be the determining factor in your admissions (certainly not at anything other than the most selective schools). But the truth is of course is that there's no way to tell whether or not it will be the deciding factor.

    Study hard, and good luck!
  6. Dec 13, 2005 #5
    If you're applying to the most selective schools, grades are not going to be the determining factor because all the students have nearly perfect grades anyway. The determining factors are usually extra curricular then: Did your parents donate $1 million to the school? Did you slave in East LA soup kitchens? Are you not white? Are you an olympic caliber athlete?
  7. Dec 13, 2005 #6

    Tom Mattson

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    I can't imagine it would be that big of a deal. But if it is then I would think that you could completely negate any negative effect of not getting an A by scoring a 5 on the AP exam for BC Calc.
  8. Dec 13, 2005 #7
    I have been to 3 different undergraduate colleges, I have to say the calibur students in each is equivalent, independent of the "prestige" of the university. Point is, there are worse things in life than a b on in calc.
  9. Dec 13, 2005 #8
    This is my story. I am a below-average student according to my GPA in HS (2.6). no college even accepted me b4 the AP test grades were released.
    The day after it was released, 2 colleges accepted right away.
    i am not saying GPA isnt important, but standardised test grade is always more important.
    I am maths major too. I made C in my calculus AB class but i scored 5 in the BC test.
    (although during the interview, the professor asked me why i got a C in stat, and he is a stat PhD -0-)
  10. Dec 14, 2005 #9
    Thanks everybody. I just took my Calc final and I feel good about it. I'll post the results when they come!
  11. Dec 18, 2005 #10
    Getting a 5 on the AP test might be the make or break--almost everyone gets a 5, so if you don't get one, it'll look bad. Don't worry too much about the B.
  12. Dec 18, 2005 #11
    I've heard from many college admission people that getting a 5 on an AP test completely overshadows a B in the class, so it won't even matter that you had a B. They might just think that your course was that challenging, etc. So... get a 5 on the ap test! :)
  13. Dec 19, 2005 #12


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    In my freshman classes I have almost never met anyone fresh out of high school who knew *** from shinola about calculus, no mattter what they got on their AP exam. One exception was this semester a kid with 5's on everything did get an A from me.

    To be more precise he got a B on every test and an A- on the final and I cut him some slack and gave him the A.

    So the real question is "how good does any grade at all on an AP test look?"

    Frankly it does not mean much in college. high school in most places (except maybe Andover and Exeter and the Bronx high school of science, and even those back in the 60's but probably no more), is mickey mouse compared to any decent college, and that includes AP courses. AP courses are simple minded standardized test preparation. College courses are also about understanding concepts and proofs.

    So I do not hold it aganist a student that he did not learn diddly in high school since his teacher probably did not know diddly and besides his parents wanted him to get a high score on the AP test and get, into a "good college" rather than learn something.

    So they all come to us pretty much alike, naive, knowing zippo, some with AP some without, and it is hard to tell the promising ones from the unpromising ones. That distinction emerges after they have been exposed to some real math, not the trivia they peddle in high school as "AP BC, Blah blah".

    This is the professors' viewpoint. the admissions office has a different one. They also do not know squat about academics, and are more or less like the high schools and the parents. so getting past them and getting in is one thing, succeeding in the courses afterwards is quite another.


    don't worry. scores do not mean a THING! once you get a real opportunity, TAKE IT!! and you will be a roaring success.

    best wishes,

    old guy
  14. Dec 20, 2005 #13
    Agreed, I found alot of my college professors didn't believe in giving "A"s. If you got an "A" then they felt they failed as a professor in challenging you. I remember I got a "D" freshmen year thermodynamics and honestly it was the most proud I've ever been because it was so difficult for me. lol So as franznietzsche said difficulty of the class is very important, not just getting straight A's and sometimes straight A's can make it look like the class was easy.
  15. Dec 20, 2005 #14
    One thing that is much worse than getting any D's is to worry way too much about not getting straight a's.
  16. Dec 20, 2005 #15


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    Very true.

    I'd rather struggle to get a D, then struggle to get an A.

    Note: I mean getting a D as in the work is difficult, and not in the I-never-went-to-class-and-lucky-if-I-got-a-D thing.
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