This seems to be the question on the mind of many a parent and student alike. Which one to take? Well it all depends what your aspirations are and what your college degree program is like. If you are going into engineering, business, the sciences, and/or math then by all means press on and take Calculus. If you have a full schedule and don't want to be too overwhelmed then just go for the AB Calc. This class will cover less material and at a slower pace. If you are up for it and can devote the time to your studies the BC Calc will put you in a good position to pass out of two full semesters of college calculus i.e.Calc 1 and Calc 2. Now if your schedule is full of other AP classes, extracurriculars, and/or higher math is not needed for your college degree then by all means take AP stats. But, keep in mind everything you have been learning over the past 4 years or more has been preparing the ground work for you to take Calculus so don't bail out now unless you have some good reasons(see above)!
If you are not getting the results you want I encourage you to try something different. It may be something big or it may be something small. Here are some ideas I have been ruminating over the last few days:
1. If you feel you are totally lost it may help to get a map. A number of calculus students and parents have contacted me this year because they or their student feel totally lost. Sometimes I know it is easy to get confused in the minutiae of infinite details so having an overview and understanding of how all the pieces fit together can be invaluable. The Idiots Guide or Dummies Guide to Calculus as well as others like these are resources that can give you that perspective of what Calculus is, how it works, and how all the pieces fit together.
2. Make it a goal to ask your teacher 1 question every day. Whether it's before class, after class, during class, on your lunch hour, before school, or after school 1 question a day every day can help you turn things around or accelerate your understanding if you are already doing well.
3. Help others. Try and help explain a difficult concept to one of your friends and classmates. You will either solidify what you know or quickly realize there are some aspects of that concept you need clarification on as well.
Ok, so that's a few ideas and I'm sure you can think of many more as well, but try and do something new and improved to help you succeed in Math!
If you would like me to write about other topics or answer any other questions please comment below and I'll discuss them right here on the blog.
Until next time - keep studying!
It's the SuperBowl today, but that's not the game I'm referring to....rather, Second Semester Math. The holiday break has ended, finals/midterms have come and gone, and we've had a number of snow days this year. All of these have given students a well needed mental rest but now it's time to refocus your efforts on where you'd like to see your grades come the end of the year and to build a nice foundation of understanding that will be needed for next year's class due to the cumulative nature of math.
My favorite technique for students is getting a head start and staying ahead of the game. Imagine you are running a race and you fly off the starting blocks, sprint down the lane, but get this....the starting gun has yet to even go off! When it does finally fire you settle into a steady pace even saving a little extra energy for the sprint at the end. And, there is no penalty for doing this....in math that is. When students take advantage of this I see changes in their confidence level, their grades, and a sense of relief and even enjoyment when it comes to their math class. A student yesterday told me that their teacher said jokingly to him, "stop raising your hand...give the other students a chance!" He was so proud when he told me this and that he knew what was going on in class and that it was now so much easier. I always try and spend some time looking ahead at upcoming material with students to help give them this head start but students can do this for themselves as well. Just take a few minutes and "speed read" the section ahead of class. You don't have to understand everything you are reading, just skim it spending a few extra moments on the formulas in the boxes, bolded terms, italicized sentences, etc. Give this a try and let me know what it does for you!
Helping students succeed in math for over 15 years. Individualized attention makes the difference!