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Does calculus AB or BC matter?

kkchenkkchen Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
I'm going to be a sophomore and am deciding on whether to take AP calc ab or bc. Does it really matter which one I take? I'm not extremely confident I can get an A in bc, but I am fairly certain I can get an A in ab.

Off Topic: Does being in the school band actually help? Or would a higher (weighted) gpa be better.
Post edited by kkchen on

Replies to: Does calculus AB or BC matter?

  • MN9001MN9001 Registered User Posts: 126 Junior Member
    You need to take AB before BC. You will be completely lost in BC if you do not take AB and will probably end up with a D or an F.
  • Johnson181Johnson181 Registered User Posts: 4,226 Senior Member
    MN- you can in fact take BC without AB at several schools.

    OP, I can't give you insight to the admissions committee's minds (especially since my school didn't offer BC), but I can tell you MN has no idea what they're talking about.
  • Can2010Can2010 Registered User Posts: 226 Junior Member
    I know not one person who has taken AB before taking BC (all of my friends who take APs have skipped straight to BC). Frankly... it's a waste of time to do both since in BC you will repeat a lot of the parts you would have learned in AB...

    BC is more challenging yes, but it's quite easy to get a 5 (40%+ of the people do). Of course, only those who are confident about their abilities in math would favour BC over AB.

    Regarding the school band, if you're excelling in it, yes of course it will help in your admission process. If you're just an average player in the band with no significant promise, being in it won't hurt you, but it will also not allow you to stand out and might be just a waste of time. If band is not your passion and you think this is just another thing to add to your list of things to impress the admission committee, then maybe it's better to focus on achieving a higher gpa.
  • WCASParentWCASParent Registered User Posts: 2,099 Senior Member
    You do NOT need to take AB before BC. At many (most?) schools you don't take either until your senior year, and then you pick one. BC is much harder, and includes the AB material (which is why the AP exam for BC includes an "AB subscore").
    If you are a strong math student, I would usually recommend the BC.
    In your case, you must be strong at math, because you don't often hear of a sophomore taking either. So you might be in a position to take AB sophomore year and BC the next. CAN2010 is correct that there would be substantial repetition at the beginning of BC, but if you've got the time to take both, as you do, it is clearly an option. I know of several kids who've done it.
    Final thought: remember that when colleges review your transcript, the first thing most of them look for is how hard your curriculum was relative to the hardest available at your school.
  • perplexity215perplexity215 Registered User Posts: 62 Junior Member
    You dont need to take the AB AP Exam before the BC AP Exam. But you should definitely take the AB class before BC class. At my school, you need to take the AB class before BC. I would recommend doing both, AB, then BC. I had the worst BC teacher ever! He barely even taught. I had to teach myself, but luckily I had a wonderful AB teacher and since a large portion of the BC exam was AB stuff, I wasnt too bad off. Knowing AB really helps for BC
  • RaVNzCRoFTRaVNzCRoFT Registered User Posts: 998 Member
    I took BC without ever taking AB. I consider myself to be a good math student and I won't lie: the class was difficult. But hard work got me a 5 on the exam.

    If you're good at math, take BC for a challenge. If you're not, take AB. Whichever math class you place into in college will review AB material while still introducing you to newer material as well.
  • marcdvlmarcdvl Registered User Posts: 1,315 Senior Member
    I took BC my sophomore year of high school and got a 5 (an AB subscore of 4 lol). Wasn't bad and if you're good at math its more than doable. Taking AB first is retarded.
  • kkchenkkchen Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    Thanks for the replys but taking Ab then BC isn't really a posibility for me. Basically what I'm asking is how much harder is bc than ab (especially in terms of work load) and if that extra work is worth it (easier ap exam, looks a lot better on application, etc)
  • marcdvlmarcdvl Registered User Posts: 1,315 Senior Member
    BC contains all the material on AB (Calc 1), plus the BC material (Calc 2) which is an extra semesters worth. It will be harder, faster paced, and more work. And the AP exam certainly won't be easier. Do whatever you feel comfortable with based on your math ability.
  • givingsgivings Registered User Posts: 672 Member
    The way it was explained to us was that BC is the equivalent of one year of college calculus whereas AB is the equivalent of one semester.

    This turned out to be true at D's school, where she received 2 semesters of credit for the BC.
  • charlie5504charlie5504 Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
    How was your pre-ap PRE-CAL class? Becuase everybody in our school takes BC right after precal if they get an A in precal (that class is pretty hard). Most say that BC is easier than pre-cal! Dont do both though, thats a waste of brain space
  • nngmmnngmm Registered User Posts: 5,708 Senior Member
    You need to take AB before BC. You will be completely lost in BC if you do not take AB and will probably end up with a D or an F.
    That's nonsense, and many schools will only allow to take one. BC is faster paced. AB is basically the first semester of BC spread over a whole year.

    If you are good at math, take BC, and drop to AB if you feel overwhelmed. (You can't do it the other way around if you are bored in AB)
This discussion has been closed.