# Week 3ap Calculus

AP Calculus: Updates Help Contact Teaching Blog SBG /// Week of September 3. 9/4/2018 Tuesday Warm up was to use the definition of continuity to show that a piecewise. AP Calculus AB and BC Course and Exam Description This is the core document for the course. It clearly lays out the course content and describes the exam and AP Program in general.

So you’re in high school AP Calculus, and you know the AP exam is coming up in May. How should you study for it?

What if it’s already the beginning of April, and you haven’t even thought about a practice exam yet?! In this article, we’ll lay out a 1-Month AP Calculus exam study schedule. And along the way, you’ll get some helpful advice about prepping for the exam.

## The AP Calculus Exam

The AP exams are not your typical high school exam.

For starters, the AP Calculus AB or BC test has two main sections and takes 3 hours and 15 minutes to complete. Fortunately, there is always a short break between the two sections.

### Types of Problems

Section I of the exam consists of 45 multiple choice questions in an hour and 45 minutes. Section II has only 6 free response questions in an hour and a half. However, each free response question has 3 to 4 parts each, and you must show all of your work towards the final answer.

## Studying for the Exam

Effective studying consists of a number of different tasks. Some of these you do as part of your coursework during the year. Other parts you will do on your own before the AP exam.

- Learning the concepts
- Drilling basic skills
- Doing practice tests
- Reviewing weak spots

### Learning the Concepts

This is what your course work is all about. As you read through the textbook and listen to lectures in class each day, you are learning what calculus is all about. Pay attention to all of the examples. Try to understand every theorem and property.

It takes time, but this is the most important part of the process. You can only build upon a solid foundation.

### Drilling Basic Skills

Your teacher probably assigns a ton of homework. The purpose is not to ruin your weekend plans, but rather to give you enough practice to hone your skills. The more homework you do, the easier the material will become!

Practice truly does make perfect.

### Doing Practice Tests

I cannot stress enough the importance of practice exams.

Get a good AP Calculus prep book (either AB or BC, depending on which test you plan to take). If that book has less than 4 practice exams in it, buy an additional book from a different publisher.

You should strive to do at least 3, but ideally 4 or 5 practice exams before the real thing. This is why you should have started prepping earlier in the year!

It’s better to start preparing early. But if you only have a month to prep, there’s still hope!

### Reviewing Weak Spots

The purpose of doing practice exams is not to give you busy work to keep you occupied before test day. Instead, you should use each practice exam as a diagnostic tool to discover your weak areas.

Let’s say you breezed through every limit and derivative problem on the practice test. However integrals caused you great anxiety, and you were basically guessing at those. In that case, you know that integrals should be your top priority for intense study.

Use your AP Calculus textbook as a resource. Let’s say you forgot how to integrate trig functions. Leaf through your book and find that topic. Then work out some exercises at the end of the section. Often, a textbook will have the answers to odd-numbered problems in the back so that you can check your understanding.

Hopefully, the next time you sit down for a practice test, those integral problems will be much easier to do.

## The Content of the Exams

The material tested on the AP Calculus AB exam is the equivalent of roughly one semester of college Calculus. On the other hand, the AP Calculus BC exam covers two full semesters.

Basically, the BC test covers everything that the AB does but in more depth, and it covers new material not found in a first-semester calculus curriculum.

### Three or Four Big Ideas

The AP Calculus AB exam content is broken up into three **Big Ideas**,

- Limits
- Differential Calculus
- Integral Calculus

For a detailed list of topics see What Topics are on the AP Calculus AB Exam?

The AP Calculus BC exam covers one additional Big Idea, Sequences and Series.

- Limits (including L’Hospital’s Rule)
- Differential Calculus (including vector, parametric, and polar derivatives)
- Integral Calculus (including vector, parametric, and polar integrals)
- Sequences and Series

More information about the BC topics can be found here: What Topics are on the AP Calculus BC Exam?

## 1-Month AP Calculus Exam Schedule

While I normally recommend to prep for the test at least three months in advance, this shorter schedule is effective if you have only four and a half weeks to prepare.

Week | Test | Review |
---|---|---|

Week 1 | Practice Test 1 | Limits |

Week 2 | Practice Test 2 | Differentiation |

Week 3 | Practice Test 3 | Integration |

Week 4 | Practice Test 4 | Sequences/Series (BC) or All Topics (AB) |

Week 5 | AP Calculus Exam Week! |

Basically, each week you will take a practice exam and then use the rest of the week to focus on your weak spots from one of the Big Ideas.

What works for many students is to take each practice test on Sunday. Then use the weeknights to review. Saturday can be also be a study day or it can be more flexible.

Don’t take another practice test on the last Sunday before test day. Instead, use that week to review all of the topics one by one. Keep in mind, the exam may occur a Tuesday (as it does in 2017).

### Practice, Practice, Practice!

If you follow the above 1-month schedule, then you will do a practice exam every week leading up to the real deal. While at first that may seem like a ton of work (and it is; there’s no question about that!), it’s important to do those practice tests in order to succeed on the AP exam itself.

Check out this helpful article for more explanation concerning practice tests: How many Practice Problems should I do to Prep for my AP Calculus Exam?

## Final Thoughts

The main idea is that you must prepare for your AP Calculus exam far in advance of the actual test. Cramming the night before will do no good.

This post serves as a 1-month AP Calculus Study Guide, however if you can spread the prep time out over two or three months, then that would be even better.

Good luck on the exam!!!

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##### About Shaun Ault

Shaun earned his Ph. D. in mathematics from The Ohio State University in 2008 (Go Bucks!!). He received his BA in Mathematics with a minor in computer science from Oberlin College in 2002. In addition, Shaun earned a B. Mus. from the Oberlin Conservatory in the same year, with a major in music composition. Shaun still loves music -- almost as much as math! -- and he (thinks he) can play piano, guitar, and bass. Shaun has taught and tutored students in mathematics for about a decade, and hopes his experience can help you to succeed!

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The AP Calculus exam (AB or BC) is not your typical high school exam. It requires substantial preparation. In this article, I’ll present some tips for prepping for the exam and suggest a 3-month AP Calculus exam study plan.

## The AP Calculus Exam

The AP Calculus AB or BC test has two main sections, taking a total of 3 hours and 15 minutes to complete. Fortunately, there is always a short break between the two sections.

There are two types of problem on the exam.

Section I consists of 45 multiple choice questions. You will have an hour and 45 minutes to complete them.

Be sure to fill in your answer choices completely on the multiple choice section.

Section II has only 6 free response questions in an hour and a half. However, each free response question has 3 to 4 parts each. Most importantly, you must **show all steps** of your work.

Both sections are divided into a Part A and Part B. One part requires a graphing calculator while the other does not permit one to be used at all. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the features of a good graphing calculator well in advance of the test.

## Preparing for the Exam

Effective studying consists of a number of different tasks spread out over the whole year.

- Learning the concepts (classwork)
- Drilling basic skills (homework)
- Doing practice tests
- Reviewing weak spots

### Learning the Concepts

This is what your course work is all about. As you read through the textbook and listen to lectures in class each day, you are learning what calculus is all about. Pay attention to all of the examples. Try to understand every theorem and property.

This takes time, but it’s essential to building a firm foundation.

Pay attention in AP Calculus class! Credit Shiho Fukada for The New York Times

### Drilling Basic Skills

If you have ever felt that you have too much homework to do, you are not alone. However, all that homework provides you with enough practice to hone your skills.

### Week 3ap Calculus Practice

The more homework you do, the easier the material will become!

### Doing Practice Tests

Once you have learned the fundamentals and practiced your skills on homework, it’s time to get your feet wet by taking practice exams. In fact, your teacher has probably been giving you actual AP questions as part of their in-class quizzes and tests.

But as early as **February**, you should start taking entire practice tests on your own.

I recommend doing as many practice tests as you can get your hands on. Most AP Calculus prep books have at least 3 tests included, so my advice is to get two books from different publishers.

There are also practice problems from past tests available on the AP Students page at CollegeBoard.

### Reviewing Weak Spots

As you work on each practice exam, take note of every problem that gives you trouble. You can either mark the problem number in the test booklet, or jot it down in a journal.

In fact, think of each practice exam as a diagnostic tool to discover your weak areas.

During the rest of the week, review each incorrect problem as well as any problems that you may have gotten correct due to a lucky guess but that you didn’t fully grasp.

If a certain topic consistently causes you headaches, then you must go back to your class notes and textbook to review that concept. Make notes like, “I just don’t get velocity!” or “What do they mean by the term *vector field*?” Then find those topics in your book and study them thoroughly.

## The Content of the Exams

It’s important to know what concepts will be tested on the AP Calculus Exams. The AB test covers three **Big Ideas:**

- Limits
- Differential Calculus
- Integral Calculus

For a detailed list of topics see What Topics are on the AP Calculus AB Exam?

The AP Calculus BC exam covers one additional Big Idea, Sequences and Series, as well as more advanced topics within the other three Big Ideas:

- Limits (including L’Hospital’s Rule)
- Differential Calculus (including vector, parametric, and polar derivatives)
- Integral Calculus (including vector, parametric, and polar integrals)
- Sequences and Series

More information about the BC topics can be found here: What Topics are on the AP Calculus BC Exam?

## 3-Month AP Calculus Exam Schedule

Because the Calculus AB and BC tests usually occur in the second week of May, you should start prepping in February. The following 14-week schedule is based on the 2017 test dates.

Note, the suggested review topics depend on whether you plan to take the AB or the BC test.

Week | Practice Test | AB Review | BC Review |
---|---|---|---|

Week 1 (2/5 - 2/11) | Practice Test 1 | Review test | Review test |

Week 2 (2/12 - 2/18) | Interpreting graphs / asymptotes | Limits, Continuity, asymptotes, etc. | |

Week 3 (2/19 - 2/25) | Limits and continuity | Derivative rules | |

Week 4 (2/26 - 3/4) | Practice Test 2 | Review test | Review test |

Week 5 (3/5 - 3/11) | Derivative rules | Applications of derivatives | |

Week 6 (3/12 - 3/18) | Velocity and Acceleration / Analysis of graphs using derivatives | Antidifferentiation rules | |

Week 7 (3/19 - 3/25) | Practice Test 3 | Review test | Review test |

Week 8 (3/26 - 4/1) | Related rates / Optimization | Applications of integrals | |

Week 9 (4/2 - 4/8) | Antidifferentiation rules | Vector, parametric, and polar functions | |

Week 10 (4/9 - 4/15) | Practice Test 4 | Review test | Review test |

Week 11 (4/16 - 4/22) | Applications of integrals | Sequences and Series | |

Week 12 (4/23 - 4/29) | Practice Test 5 | Review test | Review test |

Week 13 (4/30-5/6) | All topics | All topics | |

Week 14 (5/7-5/9) | AP Calculus Exam Day! |

### General Tips

According to this schedule, you will take a practice exam every two or three weeks. Then use the rest of that week to review missed problems.

On weeks in which you have no practice test, review challenging topics from the suggested category. Feel free to adjust the review topics as needed.

## Final Thoughts

The main idea is that you must prepare for your AP Calculus exam far in advance of the actual test. Cramming the night before will do no good.

This post outlines a 3-month AP Calculus study plan that should give you plenty of time to work on your skills before the test.

Good luck on the exam!!!

#### Improve your SAT or ACT score, guaranteed. Start your 1 Week Free Trial of Magoosh SAT Prep or your 1 Week Free Trial of Magoosh ACT Prep today!

### More from Magoosh

##### About Shaun Ault

Shaun earned his Ph. D. in mathematics from The Ohio State University in 2008 (Go Bucks!!). He received his BA in Mathematics with a minor in computer science from Oberlin College in 2002. In addition, Shaun earned a B. Mus. from the Oberlin Conservatory in the same year, with a major in music composition. Shaun still loves music -- almost as much as math! -- and he (thinks he) can play piano, guitar, and bass. Shaun has taught and tutored students in mathematics for about a decade, and hopes his experience can help you to succeed!

### Leave a Reply

### Ap Calculus Ab Review Week 3

**Magoosh blog comment policy:** To create the best experience for our readers, we will approve and respond to comments that are relevant to the article, general enough to be helpful to other students, concise, and well-written! :) If your comment was not approved, it likely did not adhere to these guidelines. If you are a Premium Magoosh student and would like more personalized service, you can use the Help tab on the Magoosh dashboard. Thanks!