Emily Xie
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Academic Blog

Academic Blog

AP Calculus BC

If you have heard of Mr. Thomas, then you must go to EPHS and you should read this paragraph. If you have no idea who in the world Mr. Thomas is, proceed to the next paragraph. Overall, if you had Mr. Thomas you should be very well prepared for the Calculus BC test. You'll be extremely nervous and think that it will be harder than the tests and quizzes we take in class, but you will be mistaken. Trust me, I did it too. As long as you understand all of the concepts, even if you don't actually have any formulas memorized, you will be just fine. Just take a deep breath and try to get some sleep before the test. Now, if you are attempting AP Calculus without a teacher as awesome as the one I had, I sure hope you had a teacher that was nearly up to par. I only have a few bits of advice for those taking Calculus BC. First of all, don't get hung up on memorizing formulas; in the end, the AP test will test you on whether you understand things conceptually, not whether you can memorize a formula and plug some numbers in. They want you to understand what a derivative tells you and what it can do for you. They want you to understand what a second derivative tells you and what it can do for you. They don't just want you to be able to find it. Next, do a lot of practice! The old AP questions are all available on the College Board website, so why wouldn't you do them? The more practice you get, the more likely you will be able to recognize questions on the test (and most importantly, get them correct). One final piece of advice, when you do practice questions whether its in an AP review book (I'd highly recommend getting one if you aren't doing a lot of review in class, my teacher used the Princeton Review book) or just online somewhere or wherever, you should know and understand why the right answer is the right answer. I don't know how many times I guessed right while doing practice questions and  didn't take that opportunity to learn why until my teacher pointed it out later! When you're practicing, you have the opportunity to figure out what you did wrong and how to improve on it. You don't have the same opportunity to do that during the real AP test, so do it now while you still can!

I'll have some extra tips for AP Calc BC up sometime soon so check back later!