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AP Calculus BC 101: Knowing the Basics

Furthering mathematical and calculus studies are now made possible via AP Calculus courses. A student who wants to enjoy credit courses, which they can use in the university of their choice, should consider taking AP Calculus B during their high school years. This goes especially well for students who would want to major in a college degree that involves calculus or more advanced mathematics.

But first, know the basics of AP Calculus BC, the usual lessons, topics, and syllabus parts that would be involved in AP Calculus BC lessons, and the different textbooks that you can use as source materials when studying and reviewing for the Advanced Placement exam.

What is AP Calculus BC?

Contrary to popular notion, AP Calculus BC is not just an enhancement of the other AP course AP Calculus AB. Instead, it takes off from some of the topics discussed in that course, recaps past lessons that have been covered in AP Calculus AB, and builds up on the past lessons by having additional topics in the syllabus.

AP Calculus BC is given as a full-year course that concentrates on calculus of functions of a single variable. However, before a student can take this AP course, he or she should have already completed four years of mathematics that are at par with secondary mathematics. This is because this type of lesson is tailored for students who are about to enter college or university.

As such, some of the lessons that a student should already know about would be algebra, trigonometry, analytic geometry, elementary functions, and trigonometry, among others. Knowledge of the properties, algebra, and graphs of functions is a main pre-requisite requirement for those who want to study calculus. This would allow them to understand functions and apply them in the equations and lessons in a calculus class.

Why Take Up AP Calculus BC?

Several students who take up AP Calculus BC have specific goals in mind. Whether it’s to get the credit to give them credited hours for college or to give them the extra edge for when they are applying to different universities, AP Calculus BC looks great in a student’s transcript, especially if it is for a math-related college course.

However, the College Board also has a specific set of goals which it wants the AP Calculus BC course and exam to achieve to benefit the students. Among these goals is to give students better understanding on the relationships and representations of functions in terms of graphical, analytical, numerical, or verbal. A student should also have a solid understanding of derivatives in relation to solving problems, definite integrals, and the relationship of these two topics in relation to their roles in Fundamental Theorem of Calculus.

On top of all of these, a student should be able to communicate these concepts through oral or written means.

Sources for AP Calculus BC
When studying for AP Calculus BC, it is best to find and use textbooks that would teach the college-level instruction and meet the requirements of AP Calculus BC.

The following is a list of some of the textbooks that are currently being used in some AP Calculus BC classes, as well as in preparation for the AP Exam:

  • Calculus: Early Transcendentals Single and Multivariable, Eighth Edition by Howard A. Anton, Irl Bivens, and Stephen Davis
  • Barron’s AP Calculus Advanced Placement Examination: Review of Calculus AB and BC, 6th edition by Shirley O. Hockett
  • Calculus: Graphical, Numerical, Algebraic, 3rd edition by Ross Finney, Franklin Demana, Bert Waits, and Daniel Kennedy
  • Cracking the AP Calculus AB & BC Exams, 2011 edition by David S. Kahn
  • Calculus, Concepts, and Calculators by George Best, Stephen Carter, and Douglas Crabtree
  • Calculus by Ron Larson, Bruce Edwards, and Robert Hostetler

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