Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.

Regular Calculus vs. AP Calc AB

nickd123nickd123 Registered User Posts: 20 New Member
was wondering what course I should take next year. I'm currently a junior about to plan my senior schedule. For calculus, I was deciding between regular Calculus or AP Calculus AB (definitely not BC). I'm currently in Trig Honors and have a B+ after the first semester. My teacher recommended me for the normal Calc class, however I can "waive" into it. But if I were to waive and were to have a bad experience in the class next year and start getting like C's or D's and I drop out to normal calc, I get a "withdrawl" on my transcript which won't look good to colleges. I spoke to the AP Calc AB teacher and he said regular calc and AB are essentially the same, just AB goes much faster and a little more in depth.

Next year I am definitely taking 2 AP's (Italian and Stat) and maybe 3 depending on which Calc I took. My question is how much harder is AP Calc AB than normal Calc? Also, would colleges prefer struggling in AP or doing better in regular, because either way Calculus is still for college students. Also, speaking with students, they say the regular Calc class they still struggle to get B's. I'd rather struggle to get a B in AP than CP. I'd be fine with getting a B. Any answers would be largely appreciated. Thanks.

Also, would one or another be better if I plan in majoring in something business related?

Replies to: Regular Calculus vs. AP Calc AB

  • SwaggyCSwaggyC Registered User Posts: 510 Member
    edited February 2014
    **** is regular calculus. Do you mean precalculus?
  • halcyonheatherhalcyonheather Registered User Posts: 8,987 Senior Member
    Presumably it's a calculus class that isn't AP.
  • DarthelmetDarthelmet Registered User Posts: 108 Junior Member
    BC. I was a B or worse math student up until I took AP BC Calc. Sure it's harder, but I found that in some ways that made the material more logical to me. It's really hard to describe, but suddenly the things which I couldn't properly learn in weeks from previous years came as second nature to me because I needed them to.
  • SwaggyCSwaggyC Registered User Posts: 510 Member
    @halcyonheather
    That sounds like you learn the exact same material but don't get a boost in GPA. If that's the case might as well take AP Calc.
  • preamble1776preamble1776 Registered User Posts: 4,731 Senior Member
    edited February 2014
    I've never been the strongest math student - B's and low A's mostly for my honors math classes - however, AP Calculus AB is perhaps the most interesting and the easiest math class I have ever taken; the material itself is pretty tame and depending on your teacher, you can pick up on it a lot more quickly than other lower level math subjects, since Calculus (AB) is three primary sections - Limits, Derivation, and Integration: Limits are very easy, and you may have had previous exposure - it is just the behavior of graphs at certain points. Derivation and Integration are counterparts/opposite functions, so understanding one will make understanding the other considerably easier.

    I struggled far more in Geometry than in Calculus -- I'm talking low B's in Geometry and high A's in Calculus. It isn't as bad as you think - plus, there's a plethora of resources on the internet, including Khan Academy, which I've found tremendously helpful. If you stay on top of the work, seek extra help when needed, and study, you should be fine.
  • nickd123nickd123 Registered User Posts: 20 New Member
    at my school regular calculus is calculus where you learn the same things except go until june and isnt ap or honors. while the ap class ab learns same things just quicker. I'm not really looking to boost my gpa, i was wondering how much more colleges would appreciate ap calc ab rather than just "calculus" at my school
  • DarthelmetDarthelmet Registered User Posts: 108 Junior Member
    Not sure how it affects grades/college admissions, I just know BC is more fun. We have a running joke in our BC class that we don't have any friends in AB. :P
  • wisconsin13wisconsin13 Registered User Posts: 50 Junior Member
    Hi. Im also a Junior but I am in AP Calc AB this year and will take BC next year. My school has Intro to calc which i believe is like your regular Calc class you are talking about and I know that intro to calc is very easy compared to AP calc AB. I had an A- in Precalculus last year and I also have gotten an A- every quarter for AP calc AB this year if that helps. I also know that at my school our actual AP Calc AB class is very tough because a lot of people get Bs and Cs in the class but for the AP test like 95% of people in my school get a 4 or 5. I feel like you could pull off a similar grade to whatever you got in your trig class last year in AP calc AB, maybe a little lower. It will definitely be more work though but I think it is worth it because you will get 5 college credits if you get 3 or more on the AP test and it gives you a great calc background for college. Calculus isn't that hard if you are good at algebra, can remember a bunch of trig rules and identities, and grasp concepts easily. If you know the teacher for AP calc is good and willing to help if you struggle than for sure go for the AP class. Also i don't know if you've taken precalc or if everything precalc related was already covered in your classes but don't skip precalc and take any calculus because precalc gives you a necessary background. Hope this helps.
This discussion has been closed.