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What's the difference between Calculus AB and Calculus BC?

vivelaviebohemevivelavieboheme Registered User Posts: 100 Junior Member
edited May 2008 in High School Life
Just wondering.

Yes, I am a freshman.
Post edited by vivelavieboheme on

Replies to: What's the difference between Calculus AB and Calculus BC?

  • AeroEngineer3141AeroEngineer3141 Registered User Posts: 3,607 Senior Member
    Calc BC is like "Honors" Calc AB (you move through it faster), with additional material.
  • AznPwydAznPwyd Registered User Posts: 446 Member
    Calculus AB is usually first year of AP Calculus and Calculus BC is usually second year of AP Calculus.

    AB consists of derivatives and integrals
    BC consists of derivatives and integrals and parametrics and series and..

    AB is usually 2 semesters of college calculus
    BC is usually 3.

    oh yeah and some schools have it so you can skip AB and go to BC because BC is just a review of AB and has even more concepts, my school you have to take one before the other
  • HarrietMWelschHarrietMWelsch Registered User Posts: 2,149 Senior Member
    At many schools you choose one or the other - you don't take AB and then BC.
  • kidwithshirtkidwithshirt Registered User Posts: 294 Junior Member
    As a BC student here is my input.

    I learned AB material in a university course in about 6 weeks, it was a 4 univ credit class and I got an A

    When I enrolled in BC for my school (which i just finished, and took the test today >.<), I must say I had to catch up with a tiny bit of material that my univ class didnt go over.

    Overall there isn't much difference, except maybe 2 weeks of more material

    new things that comes to mind is mostly:

    Series/Sequences (taylor, lagrange, limit ratio rules etc)
    Integration by parts uv-int(vdu)

    We learned this in one semester (wow.) and this semester we basically only reviewed for AP test, nothing else

    Take AB, then BC, both 5.0 classes. I consider my BC class a free period
  • bts7390bts7390 Registered User Posts: 488 Member
    BC is basically AB with some more material added:
    -Polar & Parametric Coordinates
    -Integration by Parts
    -Partial Fractions
    -L'Hopital's Rule
    It's really not that much stuff. The only thing that is somewhat difficult is series.

    At my school, the same teacher teaches BC and AB, so we cover all the BC topics during AB. BC is basically 8 months of multivariable calc with a month of review of the BC topics.
  • kidwithshirtkidwithshirt Registered User Posts: 294 Junior Member
    I think BC is much easier than AB since once you cross the AB ramp then anything else is fine

    BC stuff like series and polar were definitely not as new and challenging as what I experienced when I was first exposed to Calc AB stuff
  • AC419AC419 Registered User Posts: 142 Junior Member
    I'm in AB,

    we learned L'Hopital's Rule though ;)

    the ap exam yesterday WAS AWFUL
  • RacinReaverRacinReaver Registered User Posts: 6,608 Senior Member
    AB is covers what's in a typical first semester calc class and BC covers the second semester. If you take both you should be able to skip a year's worth of math and go straight into multivariate calc. Knowing calc freshman year is a huge advantage if you're going into a technical field, as you generally start using concepts from it within the first few days of your other classes.
  • piccolojuniorpiccolojunior - Posts: 2,629 Senior Member
    There's no difference. They both have ridiculous curves, BC only changes some AB questions to make it look "different."

    BTW, have I said it before? Precalc is the biggest waste of a year in school math.
  • vivelaviebohemevivelavieboheme Registered User Posts: 100 Junior Member
    Piccolojunior, if precal is a huge waste of time, could I skip straight from Algebra II to Calculus.

    I didn't take advantage of the advanced math thing in middle school (I was already in all Pre-AP and gifted/talented) so, my school does math like this:

    9th- Algebra I
    10th- Geometry
    11th- Algebra II
    12th- Precalculus

    9th- Geometry
    10th- Algebra II
    11th- Precal
    12th- Calc
  • thelittlemermaidthelittlemermaid Registered User Posts: 1,006 Member
    My school has:
    9th: Math I (Honors)
    10th: Math II (Honors)
    11th: Math III (Honors)
    12th: Pre-Calc (Honors) or Calculus

    9th: Math II (Honors)
    10th: Math III (Honors)
    11th: Pre-Calc (Honors)
    12th: Calculus (or AP Calculus AB)

    So someone can skip pre-calculus and go straight to Calculus if they take Math III as a junior, but it's only recommended for those in Math III Honors. Sophomores in Math III/III Honors have to take a pre-calc course if they continue Math.

    What is pre-calculus anyway?
  • somnisomni Registered User Posts: 1,185 Senior Member
    ^ at my school, pre-calc is an incoherent, yet useful course with topics like limits, polar graphs, matrices, and a brief introduction to calculus.

    Kidwithshirt is right about the differences.

    We learned taylor polynomials and maclaurin series in 1 day.. and I wasn't there.
  • piccolojuniorpiccolojunior - Posts: 2,629 Senior Member
    Skip pre-calc by any means necessary.
  • RacinReaverRacinReaver Registered User Posts: 6,608 Senior Member
    I remember precalc being a pretty easy math class, and I wish they had covered a bit more material with it. That said, having spent half a year learning the unit circle and trig identities, I'm still the only one of my friends here in grad school that still knows them by heart.
  • infmousinfmous Registered User Posts: 72 Junior Member
    if you are going to skip pre calc, make sure your good at math... im skipping pre calc to go straight to ab calculus. it varies with schools but usually they dont let you skip pre calc unless ur "special"
This discussion has been closed.