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julie239
Posts: **9**Registered User New Member

I will be a junior next year and I am debating whether to take AB or BC calculus. This is my current schedule:

AP calculus AB or BC?

APUSH

Honors Spanish III

AP english language and composition

Honors criminal law and justice

AP environmental science

At my school, both classes are year long. BC calculus covers both AB and BC, so I'm assuming it moves twice as fast as AB. My pre-cal teacher told me to take BC, although I'm a little hesitant. Math has always been the hardest subject for me. I have made A's in all my highschool math classes (geometry, algebra II, pre-cal), but I have had to work hard for them at times. I found geometry and trig to be much easier for me then alegbra II or the alegbra parts of pre-cal. One of my main questions is how much harder is BC than AB? Is there a lot more material covered in BC than in AB?

I am normally a person who wants to take the hardest classes and challenge myself as much as possible, but math is a subject where I'm not completely 100% confident because I have struggled a little in the past. I want to take BC because I know it will look better for college, but I also have a lot of other AP's next year, plus several extracurriculars. I don't want to stress myself out too much next year by tackling BC and finding out that it's too much for me to handle. Will it hurt my admissions to college if I take AB over BC, or will this not be all that important to colleges? Do I have a tough enough schedule as it is or should I try to push myself by taking BC?

Any advice is appreciated and thank you to anyone who read this whole thing!

AP calculus AB or BC?

APUSH

Honors Spanish III

AP english language and composition

Honors criminal law and justice

AP environmental science

At my school, both classes are year long. BC calculus covers both AB and BC, so I'm assuming it moves twice as fast as AB. My pre-cal teacher told me to take BC, although I'm a little hesitant. Math has always been the hardest subject for me. I have made A's in all my highschool math classes (geometry, algebra II, pre-cal), but I have had to work hard for them at times. I found geometry and trig to be much easier for me then alegbra II or the alegbra parts of pre-cal. One of my main questions is how much harder is BC than AB? Is there a lot more material covered in BC than in AB?

I am normally a person who wants to take the hardest classes and challenge myself as much as possible, but math is a subject where I'm not completely 100% confident because I have struggled a little in the past. I want to take BC because I know it will look better for college, but I also have a lot of other AP's next year, plus several extracurriculars. I don't want to stress myself out too much next year by tackling BC and finding out that it's too much for me to handle. Will it hurt my admissions to college if I take AB over BC, or will this not be all that important to colleges? Do I have a tough enough schedule as it is or should I try to push myself by taking BC?

Any advice is appreciated and thank you to anyone who read this whole thing!

Post edited by julie239 on

## Replies to: Calculus AB vs BC?

2,118Registered User Senior MemberIMO, BC's only a little harder than AB. In AB, you learn limits, differentiation (i.e. how to find the instantaneous rate of change of a function), differentiation techniques, integration (inverse of differentiation, think "area under a curved function"). In BC, you learn everything in AB, as well as some additional integration techniques, and series (including Taylor and Maclaurin series).

IMO, I would go with BC. It's a little faster pace, but worth it. In fact, some colleges (e.g. MIT) take AP credit from BC but not AB. Four AP's is quite manageable; I know students who took six AP's in one year and got 5's on most or all of them.

Good luck with junior year!

12Registered User New MemberPS: college likes to see you challenge yourself!

38,093Registered User Senior Member2,561Registered User Senior Member9Registered User New Member2,561Registered User Senior Member12Registered User New Member9Registered User New Member2,561Registered User Senior MemberYou would also have the fall semester to fill to match something before Calc BC if there is a semester of something you think you would like to take.

Alternatively, if you started with the AB/BC sequence Jr year and you felt the load was to hard, would they let you transfer down to the full year AB class?

9Registered User New MemberI'm sure they would let me transfer down if I felt AB/BC was too hard, but from what I understand AB and AB/BC are usually not offered during the same class period. So if I did want to transfer, my whole schedule would have to be altered and I may not be able to switch because it may interfere with some of my required classes. There is still a chance that both classes could be offered during the same class period though.

2,561Registered User Senior MemberAP Stat is also a entire year at our HS. Interesting that schools do things so differently. Our HS has very few semester classes overall.

I think if there is a semester class you would like that would match up with BC (which means it also has to be in the same time slot) then you could consider it. Maybe your guidance counselor has a idea of what would be available.

The only real advantage to taking BC in HS is that if you are planning to major in something in college where you need Calc, then taking BC and getting a high enough score on the AP exam allows you to skip the first semester in college.

If you don't plan on majoring in a science, then you may not even need Calc so taking AB will be fine. My friend's son majored in business. So he got to use his Calc BC credit and Physics credit for school credit because business majors don't need those subjects. I guess they applied it elsewhere.

2,118Registered User Senior MemberYou could also take multi-variable calculus or linear algebra if your school offers it (my school does, but only to the top students). I had the opportunity to take multi-variable calculus my senior year. It's a lot more fun than single-variable calculus IMO :)

9Registered User New MemberI have thought about majoring in a science, possibly biology. I kind of want to be a dentist or orthodontist but I'm starting to reconsider because I know it involves a lot of math and chemistry. I've also considered a career in law. As you can see I'm really undecided at this point, so I don't know if BC will be beneficial to me or not.

And my school does not offer multi-variable calc or linear algebra, so I think BC is the highest I can go.

2,561Registered User Senior MemberHope you are able to decide. As I said before, if you don't take BC in HS then you can just start with Calc in college. You will have so much other AP credit, that will also lighten your college load.

910Registered User Member~The college I'm going to BC doesn't get you any further than AB did, but some let you go right to multi-variable after BC.

Spending a whole year on AB though feels incomplete and is really slow, taking on BC too shouldn't be too much of a challenge because the material can be learned pretty quickly. In case you're doing Calculus competitions, AB people are at a huge disadvantage :D