High School Classes

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by bmcfarlin, Apr 8, 2012.

  1. bmcfarlin

    bmcfarlin Member

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    I understand that in order to make yourself stand out, it is beneficial to take the most challenging course load possible. However, does anyone have any idea whether the Academy would distinguish the difficultly between two different AP Math Classes?

    In my case, I have the opportunity to take either AP Calculus AB or AP Calculus BC, both of which are challenging math classes. However, Calculus AB teaches many of the prerequisites to Calculus BC, so if I were to take AP Calculus BC, I would essentially be skipping a year of math, thus greatly increasing my workload. In all other cases, I would suck it up and take the harder course load and go with AP Calculus BC. However, I will be taking AP Physics, AP Government, AP Economics, AP Literature, and Spanish 4 next year as well.

    That being said, I am leaning towards taking AP Calculus AB to make sure that while I still have a VERY challenging course load, I don't end up overdoing it. Seeing as how West Point has a very strong Engineering background, would it harm my profile any if I opted to take the slightly easier AP Calculus AB instead?
    Thanks

    On a side note, I've posted a lot of questions on the forum lately. Thanks to everyone for the responses. You've been a ton of help.
     
  2. USMA2016

    USMA2016 Appointee - Class of 2016

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    This is not true. While the quality of courses may differ from school to school, the content of AP courses must remains essentially constant because of the need to teach necessary test material in May.

    AP Calculus AB teaches about basic differentiation, basic integration, applications of diff. and int., differential equations, and volume calculation using int. and diff.

    AP Calculus BC teaches all of that along with some intermediate integration and differentiation and sequences/series.

    You do not need calc AB to take calc BC

    Now, a little about myself. I LOVE math. It's always been my strongest subject (A+s every semester), but I, too, was worried about the rigor of my senior courseload. Ergo, I opted for AP Calculus AB. I switched into BC within a week because I was just not being challenged enough. My advice is this: if you love math and you find it interesting, take BC. If you are just "getting by", take AB.

    Good Luck!
     
  3. TheChicagoan

    TheChicagoan Member

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    I would like to (respectfully) disagree with USMA2016's opinion.

    I'm currently a Jr. in HS right now taking AP Calculus BC - last year I took AP Trig/Calc A. And I personally would not recommend skipping the semester/year long period in which you are eased into calculus. I did struggle early on in Calc. A, but I eventually got the hang of calculus. And I think this "easing" into calculus is what allowed me to fully grasp what calculus is really about, and eventually, get solid A's as opposed to B+/A-s.

    Basically, while it is NOT required to take AB before BC, I strongly recommend it. I don't think anyone should be rushed into calculus.

    So, even though USMA2016 recommends taking BC or not based on how good you are at math, I would recommend taking AB, or if available (my school has one class) AP Calculus ABC - which prepares people for the AP AB and AP BC tests, though most people at my school only take the BC AP test.

    I do get A's in math, but I certainly don't get A+s like USMA2016. And while I am considered someone who is "good" at math, I also don't find it to be my favorite subject. So take my recommendation with a bit of salt.

    PS - before taking either AP Calculus AB or BC, be sure to know all of your graphs from Algebra II. A strong intuition (so being able to sort-of draw the graphs in your head) really helps with AB and BC.

    -TheChicagoan
     
  4. USMA2016

    USMA2016 Appointee - Class of 2016

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    http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/ap-calculus-course-description.pdf

    See pages 6-9 for the course topic outlines for AB and BC. BC is simply a little bit more.

    Also, if you're worried about your AP score, don't be. If you take the BC exam, you get an AB subscore (the only AP test with a subscore) that reflects your performance on solely the AB topics.


    EDIT: The OP also asked about how it looks on an application. With the corps shrinking back to its legally permitted size, admission is becoming more difficult. You need to separate yourself from the pack as much as possible. Getting into USMA is simple: do well in everything you can do well in.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
  5. hormiga13

    hormiga13 Member

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    Im currently in AB now and personally i think you might get bored a bit in AB, but you might also struggle in BC. AB isnt a walk in the park but you wont stress out. BC isnt the hardest class in the world but you might have some long nights. They're both AP and with all of the other classes you are taking AB might be a good "light" class.
     
  6. clamelken2

    clamelken2 Member

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    I just finished BC calc, and it is no cakewalk for sure. I finished with a B, but honestly I'm no genius when it comes to mathematics. Depends on how comfortable you are and whatnot. As long as you are taking and AP class, you should be alright :thumb:
     

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