AP Calc AB/BC AP Physics

I am genuinely confused on how some high schools do AP Calc and AP Physics. Our high school does Calc BC which is one year of essentially Calc AB/BC (not 2 whole years of Calc AB and then Calc BC). Same with AP Physics- which is 1&2 in one year. Do some high schools do Physics 1 for the whole year? And then Physics 2 for another? What is most common for high schools?

For Physics, most high schools that offer AP Physics 1 teach it as a full year course. Substantially fewer even offer AP Physics 2.

For calc, it’s a mixed bag. Some offer AB as a full year followed by the BC topics as a full year. Others offer BC as a full year encompassing both AB and BC topics. Still others offer both options, with the top math students taking the more accelerated option.

As a data point, my HS did not offer either AP Physics 1 or 2, just a regular HS physics class, but did offer AP Physics C as a follow-up course for those interested. For calc, they offered the third example I listed.

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Thank you! So I hope my kid’s counselor will put higher rigor when doing the counselor rec. Our school basically says if you don’t want to do engineering- just do the honors/CP physics which is what most kids do. Very few do the AP course. Thanks again for the clarification!

The first several topics of BC are the same as the AB curriculum. As my daughters’ school requires AB before BC, the teacher significantly accelerates them, covering them in a matter of a few weeks, iirc.

When I was in school, we had the option of AB or BC (I don’t remember whether you could even do them sequentially) so the AB topic were covered at a normal pace. I don’t recall the details, but suspect they should take approx. 1/2 the class.

College Board’s course definitions actually show eight of BC’s ten topics to be the same eight as AB.
https://apstudents.collegeboard.org/courses/ap-calculus-ab
https://apstudents.collegeboard.org/courses/ap-calculus-bc

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Wow- which means to drag it out 2 years seems a bit much, imo. Thanks!

I was looking at the detailed units and they are identical for the first five and only have one additional topic for 6 through 8.

They two additional units say they cover ~30% of the material on the BC exam, so they appear to be more substantial than the other units. If the additional topics in the two enriched units are proportional, that’s another 10%.

Yes, I certainly wish our school had offered BC directly. I probably could have fought to have my daughter take it, but she would have had to learn AB in the first 4-6 weeks, alongside classmates that had a full year to learn it, and would have finished our school’s math sequence in 10th. We used AoPS, MIT OCW, and competitive math to enrich her math learning instead.

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