The Effect of Calculus on Standardized Testing

<p>At my school, many students take Calculus; not only may they take it in their senior year, but they may also forgo a "filler" class (while still taking pre-calculus) to take calculus in their junior year, filling their senior year, typically, with a class like AP Statistics.</p>

<p>Is this at all beneficial? Can it potentially be harmful?</p>

<p>I'm curious as to whether taking calculus in the junior year may help or harm students. Will it aid at all with the basic problems of the SAT I/ACT, or would taking pre-calculus concurrently be a better aid? </p>

<p>Further, does taking Calculus in the junior year tend to lead to a better chance at a good Math II score? Essentially, do the ideas and concepts learned in calculus have any benefit whatsoever on standardized testing?</p>

<p>Not really.</p>

<p>I don't think Calculus really helps you on the Math II test, although I think it would make you more comfortable with questions involving limits. Taking Calculus when you take SATs only hurts in the sense that you haven't seen the material in a good year or two, but I think taking Calculus in your junior year would indicate that you're a strong math student, and would have no problem reviewing the material on the SAT before the test date.</p>

<p>I took calc bc this year (junior). I must say I get pretty excited when I could use calculus on certain types of questions for ACT math and SAT 2 math but it is by no means required. I don't think at all that it is detrimental. If you learn the concepts well enough you can apply them to some problems on standardized testing that make it quicker to solve them.</p>

<p>^^^when ever I saw a limit, I would always use l'hopitals rule right away and it would take 1 or 2 sec to solve (of course, checking first if it is an indeterminate or not)</p>

<p>Calculus is definitely useful on the SAT II math exam (though not required). For the June administration, there were some limits to infinity (horizontal asymptotes, really) that I got instantly from taking calculus. And then there was a volume of a solid of revolution that was just a cone, but since I knew how to use calculus, I used it. With calculus, you definitely bypass the risk of picking a wrong answer. For example, the cone question on the SAT II asked for the volume ((pi/3)<em>r</em>r*h) of the cone, and the incorrect choices were derived from the wrong formula or the wrong numbers for r and h. With calculus, you avoid picking the wrong numbers or using the incorrect formula.</p>

<p>That's my take on calculus. Granted, I may be a bit biased since I love calculus because my calculus teacher was amazing and because the AP exam (for BC) was a joke to me.</p>

<p>If you can learn calculus there is no doubt that you can get 750 + on SAT I</p>

<p>Thank you for all of your responses.</p>

<p>I'd like to note that I understand that anyone taking Calculus has the potential of doing very well; both students who take it in their junior year and those who take it in their senior year are equally adept at Calculus. I was simply inquiring into the direct effect of taking Calculus versus pre-calculus at the time of the testing.</p>

<p>Not to belabor the point, but would it be the general consensus, then, that a student should not bother going out of his way to, say, take a summer class in precalculus just so that he may be in calculus as a junior? The only other benefit would be one more slot free for an AP senior year.</p>

<p>sorry, but bump!</p>

<p>To be honest, it can help but I feel like it can also hurt. Well, at least for me and a few of my friends, because here's our situation, we took our ACT sophomore year and then after calc, our score in math dropped. It's not a huge drop by any means, but I was slightly disappointed when after taking Calc BC my junior year, my math score dropped on the ACT from a 36 to a 35. It can help on some problems, but the most important thing is that you can't forget the basics simply because you know calc, that'll kill you.</p>

<p>I think many people take Pre-Calculus over the summer, but I think it might usually be followed by Calculus AB. (There's no BC at my school, so I'm not sure if you can go from Pre-Cal to Calc BC)</p>

<p>In my opinion, you should take Calculus in your junior year (if you think you can do well), so that the rigor of your classes is more impressive on applications. Unless Pre-Cal is an honors class at your school, taking Calculus would raise your GPA; you would want your GPA as high as possible during 10-11 grade as that's what colleges primarily look at.</p>