Course Spotlight: AP Calculus

Blog post by Yatziri Carmona, class of 2020

If you’re taking AP Calculus, you’ll raise a lot of eyebrows. It’s a course that not many have the opportunity to take. As a junior who made the choice to take AP Calculus, I honestly did not know what to anticipate. I realized too late what the expectations and demands of this course were. I’ll be honest, AP Calculus is the most rigorous course by far that I’ve taken. However, don’t let this discourage you from taking AP Calculus. As long as you have a passion for math along with determination and commitment, then you’ll succeed.

Calculus is the study of of change. Some fundamental concepts are limits, derivatives, related-rates, optimization, and integrals. Limits are used to describe how a function behaves as it reaches a certain point. A derivative is the slope at a given point. Related-rates problems involve 2 or more variables that change at the same time. Optimization looks for the largest or smallest value that a function can take. An integral is the area under a curve and is often referred to as ‘the reverse of the derivative’.

AP Calculus has a routine. We start off with a warm-up which usually takes around 10 minutes. We work on the problem on the board individually then go over it as a class. Afterwards, we get time for homework questions. Homework questions usually last till the end of the period. If we have time to spare, we’ll either get time to work on our homework or a lecture will take place.

I decided to take AP Calculus because I’m an ambitious student. I did well in pre-calc so ‘why not?’. Not only would I be a competitive college applicant but I’d also be making my parents proud. If you’re an honors/ AP student who is strong in mathematics, then I highly recommend this course for you. There are plenty of resources out there to take advantage of in order to thrive in this class. For example, tutoring is available Monday- Thursday from 3-4:30 pm. After school tutoring guarantees you one-on-one help and it’s a quiet environment that allows you to focus. Khan Academy and Youtube provide exceptional calculus videos. The youtube channels I found to be helpful are Nancy Pi, My Secret Math Tutor, patrickJMT, and The Organic Chemistry Tutor. AP Readiness sessions at UC Riverside are also helpful and fun. Teachers with some of the highest AP exam scores in the area teach the lectures. The sessions are held on Saturdays once a month.

Homework is a daily must. The only days there isn’t any homework is the day before and after a test. Homework can take up to 1-2 hours per day. Falling behind on homework is a nightmare so it’s important to stay on track. Homework helps you understand your strengths and your weaknesses and it’s great practice.

The values of the class are “ Integrity, Work Hard, and Earn It”. These values are the road towards success in the class and the AP exam. AP Calculus is a great class because it’s a healthy challenge. This class has taught me important skills such as time management, perseverance, and organization. At times the curriculum can be daunting but there’s so much support available. AP Calculus is a unique math class because it relies on your critical thinking skills rather than standard steps towards a solution. If you decide to go through with AP Calculus then consider it an accomplishment because it’s the highest level of math available at Chaffey High School.

First Semester Final Exam Review:

file:///C:/Users/yatzi_000/Downloads/First%20Semester%20Final%20Examination%20Review%2018.pdf

First Semester Unit Reviews:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/14rxNdL4u8nZUXyn-LV2ePCre4lhg9VbPrBcbctYvU3g/edit?usp=sharing