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Help! D is deciding between taking AP Comp Sci or regular calculus for her math class senior year...

13

Replies to: Help! D is deciding between taking AP Comp Sci or regular calculus for her math class senior year...

  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 24,191 Forum Champion
    I would not make a blanket statement about non-AP calc being watered down. The rigor of non-AP calc will vary from HS to HS. My D took honors (non AP) calc because of a schedueling issue -- her class was not much different from Calc AB and covered pretty much everything in her college calc 1 class. It can be a good choice for the OP.

    I'd suggest the OP and her D discuss the regular calc option with the guidance counselor and current math teacher.
  • naviancenaviance Registered User Posts: 593 Member
    I would strongly encourage Environmental Science and Regular Calc from your list of options. With these classes
    he will have 4 years of science and 4 years of math. This would put her in a much stronger position application wise as a senior. Otherwise, she could find herself disappointed in her college acceptances next year. I wish her the very best! I bet she will do better in Calc then she fears :)
  • MNgurl101MNgurl101 Registered User Posts: 104 Junior Member
    I would encourage calc over comp sci as well. Even if she doesn't get the credit she will still have some exposure to the subject and it'll make the Calculus that'll be required for business less painful. That goes double if the class is the equivalent of calc 1 extended over a year. The much slower pace will let her absorb more imo. My friend is a freshman business major who wasn't able to get on the track to take calculus in senior year (due to a teacher who didn't like his way of solving algebra problems) so he only had a watered down version of precalc going into college. He was able to test out of college algebra but is now struggling with calc 1. If she really likes comp sci see if she could find a community college course to take over the summer or do an online course through edX.org (although she probably won't get credit).
  • citymama9citymama9 Registered User Posts: 2,637 Senior Member
    @thelonliestmonk Here's a description of the regular calculus class:

    Calculus – This course includes an overview of analytic geometry and trigonometry as it applies to the study of functions, graph limits, derivatives and their applications
  • citymama9citymama9 Registered User Posts: 2,637 Senior Member
    For those saying to drop AP Psych or AP Env, that's not an option since she wants to take 4 yrs of science. I need to see if the colleges will see psych as a sci. If not she will have to take AP Env. She actually wanted to take AP physics, her favorite sci, but I think it's too much. There will be no way she is taking AP Calc. I don't care what the colleges will think, lol.
  • citymama9citymama9 Registered User Posts: 2,637 Senior Member
    @melvin123 I so agree about the difference a good teacher can make. My D hasn't had the best luck with math teachers. Sometimes her teacher teaches them something and she doesn't get it. A friend will explain it to my daughter and it makes perfect sense.
  • citymama9citymama9 Registered User Posts: 2,637 Senior Member
    I want to thank all of you so much for your thoughts and suggestions. You guys are the best!
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,096 Senior Member
    citymama9 wrote:
    Here's a description of the regular calculus class:

    Calculus – This course includes an overview of analytic geometry and trigonometry as it applies to the study of functions, graph limits, derivatives and their applications

    That looks like precalculus (or a review of such) plus a small introduction to calculus. If she has been struggling in the high school's accelerated math sequence you described (four years of math compressed into three years), this may be a way of reinforcing her precalculus knowledge before she has to take calculus in college.
  • citymama9citymama9 Registered User Posts: 2,637 Senior Member
    edited January 2018
    @ucbalumnus Right now she has a B avg in Alg2/Trig. Otherwise she's an A student. She does well on all the HWs and tests, but has messed up some of the pop quizzes which brought her avg down. I think she gets anxious when a quiz is sprung on them. Also when they have quizzes they are given a short amt of time to finish. I think she is someone who benefits from some time to check over her work. Telling you all of this so you have a sense of what kind of math student she is.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,096 Senior Member
    B grade is not really "struggling". But if she gets stressed and anxious easily, pop quizzes seem tailor made to trigger that and cause her to lose confidence in her ability to do math. Are the pop quizzes something specific to this course or teacher, or are they common in other math courses at the high school?

    In the end, the math choice should really be based on how ready she is for calculus (one of the AP courses) or whether she needs more reinforcement and review of precalculus material (the non-AP calculus course that appears to be mostly that). The previously-linked "are you ready for ... ?" quizzes can help her determine that.

    If she does need more reinforcement and review of precalculus material, and it is too much to review on her own, she may want to take that non-AP calculus course so that she will have more solid knowledge of precalculus material when she takes calculus in college if she majors in business or something else that needs it.
  • citymama9citymama9 Registered User Posts: 2,637 Senior Member
    edited January 2018
    @ucbalumnus I agree with you. I think the regular calc is the most appropriate choice. She has shown that she has challenged herself in all the other subjects so I think it's fine. She isn't aiming for a an Ivy. I feel bad that she can't just take whatever she wants, but rather has to take classes to impress the admissions people. As I told my husband, it's a game and we have to play the game. It's just what it is. Oh, and all the math classes so far have those pop quizzes.

    To sum up the thread, I will tell her she should take Calc instead of AP Comp Sci and she should take AP Env Sci instead of AP psych. She can always take psych in college where it will probably be more interesting.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,096 Senior Member
    edited January 2018
    Seems odd that the course with a description suggesting that it is mostly precalculus with a small introduction to calculus would be titled "calculus" rather than "precalculus with introduction to calculus".

    Or maybe not. Perhaps the school wants to be able to claim that "all" or some high percentage of students take "calculus", so titling that course as "calculus" can help it in marketing itself as a "better" school. It may also avoid awkward questions about why some students skip that course and go directly to AP calculus but others take another year of precalculus. But such marketing may be a negative point for students who are less confident in math and may not feel that they are ready for "calculus" yet.
  • citymama9citymama9 Registered User Posts: 2,637 Senior Member
    @ucbalumnus Good points.On the other hand, I notice that all the course descriptions on the school's website aren't exactly accurate based on the classes she's already taken so who knows what it will really be like.
  • wisteria100wisteria100 Registered User Posts: 4,158 Senior Member
    @citymama9 . Yes, part of the course selection is to ‘look good ‘ to admissions people, but if she plans to study business in college it will help her tremendously to have had some Calc prior to college.
  • curiouspupcuriouspup Registered User Posts: 59 Junior Member
    You need to check graduation requirements for math. Assuming thats ok what other classes is she taking? What will the workload be? Then check out school websites you might be interested in or naviance. They list recommended courses for acceptance.
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