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  1. #1
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    Jul 2002
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    Math...is it really that important?

    I decided to take Calculus AB (equivalent to one semesters of Calulcus in college) for my senior year of high school. Unfortunately, there was a problem with my schedule and being the idiot that I am, I decided to switch to Calculus BC (equivalent to two semesters of Calulcus in college; in other words, faster and harder than AB) so I can fit one of the clasess that I really wanted to take in my schedule. Normally, I'm okay at math; I either get it or I don't. One of the reasons I decided to take calculus was so I could at least get some background in it before going to college. I was going to major in engineering (changed my mind during my junior year of high school), which math would have played a big part in, as of now I'm undecided.

    I guess it would be easier to answer this if I had a major in mind (I've taken out engineering, but I would still like to work with computers, whether it be programming or some other field). But the question that I would like to know is, is it worth it to take Calculus BC? I mean, I know that if I end up failing one six weeks than more than likely I'll be dropping out, but if I do okay in it (get B's), is it worth it to stay in?

  2. #2
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    I thought you had to take AB before BC. At least, that's how it's done at my school. And since there's not enough kids for a seperate BC class, it's an independent study class. You get stuck with the AB kids and learn the stuff the AB kids learn as well as the BC stuff seprately.

    Anyways, I'd keep my options open, just in case you want to return to engineering or major in math or something.
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  3. #3
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    i remember calculus

    "never drink and derive....way too dangerous"

    take calc bc if you're prepared for it, otherwise take ab....you'll probably end up taking a version of it again in college, depending on your major

  4. #4
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    Is AB a whole lot easier? Let's say that I do decide to stay in BC, what's one word of advice you'd give me? (Ex: If you don't understand something, get help fast.)

  5. #5
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    Get help, fast.

  6. #6
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    calculus is easy and fun took me one hour to prepare for my Final exam ... wow, that was quite a while ago already
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  7. #7
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    All AP classes have some level of difficulty. They're college courses.

    I took Calc AB last year and got a 4 on it, so I might be able to help you if you need it.
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  8. #8
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  9. #9
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    Originally posted by edude
    AP = Advanced Placement, it's a program mostly in the USA that gives you college credit for certain classes you take in high school if you pass the exam at the end of the year. Your grade on the exam ranges from 1-5, with anything above 2 passing.
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  10. #10
    Originally posted by Kit
    Is AB a whole lot easier? Let's say that I do decide to stay in BC, what's one word of advice you'd give me? (Ex: If you don't understand something, get help fast.)
    As someone who has marked innumerable first year calculus exams, I'd say there are four major points to remember:

    1. Make sure you understand the theoretical basis behind differentiation and integration (ie, the limit as t tends to zero...). If you don't understand it, you might be able to cope for a while by memorizing formulas but eventually you'll get lost.
    2. If you're asked to prove something, there is a 99% chance that the correct proof will start "Let epsilon be a real number greater than zero."
    3. If you're integrating something and you end up with a really really messy answer, you made a mistake. If you integrate random things, you will get messy answers, but exam questions are always chosen in such a way that the integrations work out nicely.
    4. Once you're done, look at your answers and decide if they make sense. I've seen students decide that the Earth was moving around the sun at twenty times the speed of light... if the question is phrased in terms of physics, the answer should be physically plausible.
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  11. #11
    I took AB as a junior and found it to be pretty easy, but I don't regret not taking BC because I'm a lazy guy. If you major in engineering or cs, I know that several college programs won't let you place out of certain calc classes.

    My advice would be to take BC, if it gets too hard switch to AB (if that's possible). If you do switch, you'll be months ahead and can sleep through class . If BC isn't too hard, continue with it, but you might also want to consider taking an equivalent level class again in college. Some high schools have great math teachers, but most can't compare to the ones found at most universities.
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  12. #12
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    Explain to me what Calculus is and what it involves.
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  13. #13
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    Jan 2002
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    Talking

    hahah take bc, you'll enjoy it..

    actualy why are you only taking BC in senior year of highschool..

    shouldn't you be taking multi-var and diff eq?

  14. #14
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    Apr 2002
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    Back when I started college (like, uh, 10 years ago, or something) I started in Calculus II as a first-semester freshman. The University of Tennessee Nuclear Engineering program didn't seem to mind me skipping CalI with the 4 I got on the AP exam... I got out of TWO WHOLE SEMESTERS of Chemistry with my 5... That was nice... Unless things have changed a whole big bunch since then (probably not), I'd say there's very little likelihood that a 4 or 5 on the AP exam will not let you skip CalI.

    Also, as far as Calculus goes, it starts out very hard and gets MUCH easier. They waste all kinds of time teaching you l'Hopital's Rule (a useless little methodology for differentiating equations that involves the use of at least one full sheet of paper per problem) and then they spent 30 seconds teaching you the easy way that you'll actually use from then on out... Sad but true... If you make it through the first 3 weeks, then you'll be golden... Once you figure out that Calculus is really just equational physics, it just gels... At least it did for me... That could be just because I'm weird though... I aced CalIII and DiffE in the second semester of my freshman year but struggled to get a C in Matrix Comp, which is supposed to be like the easiest math class in college...

  15. #15
    Originally posted by Artemido
    They waste all kinds of time teaching you l'Hopital's Rule (a useless little methodology for differentiating equations that involves the use of at least one full sheet of paper per problem) and then they spent 30 seconds teaching you the easy way that you'll actually use from then on out...
    Eh? First, l'Hopital's rule is used for finding limits; second, it is far from useless. For example, how would you compute the limit as x tends to zero of (exp(2*x)-2*x-1)/(exp(x^2)-1) without l'Hopital?
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  16. #16
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    Originally posted by cperciva


    Eh? First, l'Hopital's rule is used for finding limits; second, it is far from useless. For example, how would you compute the limit as x tends to zero of (exp(2*x)-2*x-1)/(exp(x^2)-1) without l'Hopital?
    In the words of my Philo 1100 teacher: Why bother?

    But, seriously... As long as you have a firm grasp of:

    1) Trig
    2) Advanced algebra (w/ emphasis on exponential equations)
    3) OMG I'm drunk and I can't remember the technical name for this. When you take [ 1x +2x + 3 = something simpler ] arggg!!
    4) A mind that can conceptual understand what is happening in a graph of a function.

    If you can do that and pay attention in class Calc will be extremly easy. Well, as long as you do derivatives. After that, it simply get s to be a pain in the ass but, it's easy after you figure out the basics.
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  17. #17
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    Jul 2002
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    314
    actualy why are you only taking BC in senior year of highschool..

    shouldn't you be taking multi-var and diff eq?
    Sorry, I don't understand your question.

    Well, I just took my first test today (over limits and continuity), I hope I did well. If anything, I probably just made stupid mistakes.

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