View Full Version : Should I drop AP Calc for easier class?


appa215
08-18-11, 03:19 PM
My friend informed me today that I can drop AP Calculus for Analytical Geometry Honors (I think that's what it's called...?). School hasn't started yet, but it starts Monday (but I'm signed up for AP Calc).

I really don't know if I should drop the harder class (AP Clac) or not...I took Pre-Calc but got the teacher who doesn't teach. The class was a really easy "A", but I didn't really learn much. Everyone says that if you have the teacher I had for Pre Calc, you won't be prepared for AP Calc. Cosidering I'm going to be taking 2 other AP classes of that, part of me wants to take the easier route and do the easier class. On the other hand, Analytical Geo doesn't look as good as AP Calc on my transcript and I feel like I'm being lazy by not taking AP Calc. If I want to get into University of Florida and go to medical school, I feel like taking AP Calc would be best. But I'm really scared about that class!! I'm not nearly as prepared for it as much as the students who got the better teacher. And I know it sounds like I'm blaming this on the teacher I got, but c'mon...we all know how some teachers are...

Anyway, help me please!! What should I do? Take the harder one (Calc) or the easier one (Analyt.)?? I'm certain I would make better grades in the Analytical Geometry class, but AP Calc looks better! :confused:

Abi
08-18-11, 03:54 PM
Take Calculus if you intend on studying Math (Pure/Applied/Statistics); Physics; Engineering; Computer Science; Actuarial Science; Economics or Finance in College

Otherwise take Analytical Geometry if you want to. It's useless and boring tho.

TygerSan
08-18-11, 04:10 PM
Could you feel your way through the first couple of weeks before making a final decision? You should get a feel for how well/ill prepared you actually are.

I know I tend to worry about things before they happen. :)

I actually liked calc better than most other math courses, but I'm probably kind of a freak. . . one of the things I liked about it is that I could see the real-world applications of it in physics.

KronarTheBlack
08-18-11, 05:43 PM
If you got an A in pre-calc with a crap teacher and it was easy then calculus ap will be no problem. Calculus is really easy if you study. I just found it boring.

warbeak1245
08-18-11, 06:49 PM
Depends greatly on what you plan to do in the future. Are you looking at what colleges you plan to attend? What AP tests do they give credit for? and as abi2010 said, it also depends on what you plan to major in. For getting in to colleges, more AP classes under your belt are never a bad thing, I got C's in most of my AP classes, but 5's on the AP tests, and was able to get into a pretty decent college with a C average in high school.

I found Calc to be pretty entertaining, but it was almost all new material for me, I didn't even take pre-calc (long story). If you enjoy math in general, I'd say you should take it, otherwise, why bother?

Alex9
08-19-11, 09:33 AM
I don't know what grade you're in, but if you're not a senior I would advise you to wait until senior year to take it. In my school, AP calc is one of the harder AP courses and it's only taken by seniors.

You also should consider your goals and what you plan to major in for college. sf you want to go into a math-based field such as engineering, physics, or just mathematics then AP calc is probably a class that you should take sometime in high school.


This I kind of related but I'd appreciate answers to this question too: How hard is AP chem? Last year I took AP Bio and I thought it was pretty easy. I got an A in it both semesters and I barely had to study. How does Ap chem compare to AP bio?

anonymouslyadd
08-19-11, 10:35 AM
Anyway, help me please!! What should I do? Take the harder one (Calc) or the easier one (Analyt.)?? I'm certain I would make better grades in the Analytical Geometry class, but AP Calc looks better! :confused:

You really do need a solid foundation in Pre-Calculus in order to do well in Calculus, forgetting about AP. How's your Algebra? I think your success in the AP Calc course will be predicated on how good you are at Algebra.

I would say skip AP Calc for the Analytical Geometry. Maybe it doesn't look as good as AP Calc but neither does a poor grade. I can't imagine one course that would make or break you in terms of getting into the University of Florida and med school.

By the way, you don't need Calculus for med school. I'm fairly sure you don't need it as a pre-requisite for any of the science courses which you do need.:)

Alex9
08-19-11, 01:35 PM
You really do need a solid foundation in Pre-Calculus in order to do well in Calculus, forgetting about AP. How's your Algebra? I think your success in the AP Calc course will be predicated on how good you are at Algebra.

I would say skip AP Calc for the Analytical Geometry. Maybe it doesn't look as good as AP Calc but neither does a poor grade. I can't imagine one course that would make or break you in terms of getting into the University of Florida and med school.

By the way, you don't need Calculus for med school. I'm fairly sure you don't need it as a pre-requisite for any of the science courses which you do need.:)

I plan on going to med school too and I've always been under the impression that calc is a pre req for med school. I was actually planning on taking AP calc senior year to prepare me for college calculus. Maybe that's not necessary.

I also thought that a lot of colleges/universities require calc as part of a core curriculum or as a gen ed. Maybe I'm wrong though.

anonymouslyadd
08-19-11, 02:04 PM
I plan on going to med school too and I've always been under the impression that calc is a pre req for med school. I was actually planning on taking AP calc senior year to prepare me for college calculus. Maybe that's not necessary.

I also thought that a lot of colleges/universities require calc as part of a core curriculum or as a gen ed. Maybe I'm wrong though.

It's really not a prerequisite. You need eight science courses (Bio, General Chem, Physics, Organic Chem...I think-two of each). Of course, probably most people major in a science like Biology or Chemistry and have many more than that. The reason why I know this is, because I entertained the idea of going to medical school. I had my Bachelor's in Psychology, but I did not have the science courses necessary to apply. Plus, those science courses are only necessary for the MCATs. You still need to do well. What I mean is that they prepare you for that test, which is very important. My stepdad is an MD, and I think he told me once that he didn't even need those science courses in medical school.

I don't know how good of a medical school the University of Minnesota is, but I pulled something off their website on what you need to get into their school. I'm fairly sure these requirements are universal to all medical schools.

http://www.med.umn.edu/medical-school-students/medical-school-admissions/prerequisites/index.htm

If necessary, you could take a class like Business Calc, which is considered to be less rigorous.

Don't take more than you absolutely need. It's not being lazy. It's being smart.;):)

Alex9
08-19-11, 02:32 PM
It's really not a prerequisite. You need eight science courses (Bio, General Chem, Physics, Organic Chem...I think-two of each). Of course, probably most people major in a science like Biology or Chemistry and have many more than that. The reason why I know this is, because I entertained the idea of going to medical school. I had my Bachelor's in Psychology, but I did not have the science courses necessary to apply. Plus, those science courses are only necessary for the MCATs. You still need to do well. What I mean is that they prepare you for that test, which is very important. My stepdad is an MD, and I think he told me once that he didn't even need those science courses in medical school.

I don't know how good of a medical school the University of Minnesota is, but I pulled something off their website on what you need to get into their school. I'm fairly sure these requirements are universal to all medical schools.

http://www.med.umn.edu/medical-school-students/medical-school-admissions/prerequisites/index.htm

If necessary, you could take a class like Business Calc, which is considered to be less rigorous.

Don't take more than you absolutely need. It's not being lazy. It's being smart.;):)

Thanks :) I plan on majoring in either neuroscience or biochem and then applying to med school. Again thanks for the info, I found it helpful. Also, I have a cousin who's a doctor and his wife is a doctor as well so I could get some advice from them too.

AddaptAbilities
08-19-11, 06:37 PM
Could you feel your way through the first couple of weeks before making a final decision? You should get a feel for how well/ill prepared you actually are.

I know I tend to worry about things before they happen. :)

I actually liked calc better than most other math courses, but I'm probably kind of a freak. . . one of the things I liked about it is that I could see the real-world applications of it in physics.

I second the "try it for a few weeks" approach. Every school I've ever been to, including my high school, has had a drop/add deadline.

I have dyscalculia (think "math dyslexia") so I never got anywhere near calc, but I've heard from a lot of mathy people that they liked it (and were better at it) than any math they'd taken previously.

insight needed
08-19-11, 08:23 PM
I have nothing to add except that your HS guidance counselor may be able to help you with this question. Have you considered making an appointment with him/her?

Alex9
08-19-11, 11:09 PM
Agreed, guidance counselors know the school and classes better than people on this forum so your guidance counselor can give better advice than we can.

namazu
08-19-11, 11:17 PM
I plan on going to med school too and I've always been under the impression that calc is a pre req for med school. I was actually planning on taking AP calc senior year to prepare me for college calculus. Maybe that's not necessary.
Some med schools, though not all, do require calculus.

And even among those that don't, they may prefer an applicant who's taken calculus in college and done well to one who hasn't. And many competitive applicants will have taken calculus, so you may be at a disadvantage if you never take it.

Furthermore, if you want to major in either neuroscience or biochem, you will almost certainly be required to take calculus for your major.

So having taken calculus in high school may be a big help to you if you take it again in college.

Does your school offer AB and BC calculus? You could take AB now, which would be an easier introduction than BC calculus. However, if you feel your background is lacking, it might be a good choice to go for analytic geometry and also review your algebra.

Good luck!

Alex9
08-19-11, 11:42 PM
Some med schools, though not all, do require calculus.

And even among those that don't, they may prefer an applicant who's taken calculus in college and done well to one who hasn't. And many competitive applicants will have taken calculus, so you may be at a disadvantage if you never take it.

Furthermore, if you want to major in either neuroscience or biochem, you will almost certainly be required to take calculus for your major.

So having taken calculus in high school may be a big help to you if you take it again in college.

Does your school offer AB and BC calculus? You could take AB now, which would be an easier introduction than BC calculus. However, if you feel your background is lacking, it might be a good choice to go for analytic geometry and also review your algebra.

Good luck!

Unlike the op I'm actually not considering AP calc this year. In my school calculus (whether AP or not) is always taken senior year. I'm taking pre-calculus this year and most likely Ap calc next year when I'm senior. Also, I'm not sure if my school offers both AB and BC. I'm not really sure how it works yet.

namazu
08-20-11, 01:29 AM
Sorry, Alex -- got you and the OP confused. (Both names start with "A" and I didn't read carefully enough!) Pre-calc is (obviously) a good choice before you take calculus next year, and you'll have plenty of time this year to figure out your options for next year.

For the OP -- I agree with the advice to speak with your counselor, but in general, I'd advise taking whatever you think will give you the best foundation for challenging work in college. If that means reviewing analytic geometry/pre-calc, go for it; if it means taking AP Calc, go for it!

For what it's worth, here's a list (from ~2007-2008, it appears?) of med schools that require or recommend calculus (or just a year of math): http://www.dartmouth.edu/~nss/nav/pages/advice/MedSchlMathReq08rev.pdf (http://www.dartmouth.edu/%7Enss/nav/pages/advice/MedSchlMathReq08rev.pdf)

Requirements may have changed since then, and they may change again by the time you apply to college/med school.

Alex9
08-20-11, 11:30 AM
Sorry, Alex -- got you and the OP confused. (Both names start with "A" and I didn't read carefully enough!) Pre-calc is (obviously) a good choice before you take calculus next year, and you'll have plenty of time this year to figure out your options for next year.


Well I did kind of hijack this thread so I can see why you confused me with the op.

Honeybadger
08-24-11, 07:29 AM
All I can add is that many colleges are not accepting AP credits anymore (the AP system is SOLD by collegeboard, which is NOT a non-profit organization. By that same measure, a few are beginning to phase out SAT scores as well, focusing more on your grades and extracirricular.)

I vote you have fun in your senior year. I boycotted AP classes after an AP government class jr year. And god was I glad for it. My peers in AP classes were miserable with the amount of work they had.

AddaptAbilities
08-24-11, 03:34 PM
All I can add is that many colleges are not accepting AP credits anymore (the AP system is SOLD by collegeboard, which is NOT a non-profit organization. By that same measure, a few are beginning to phase out SAT scores as well, focusing more on your grades and extracirricular.)

I vote you have fun in your senior year. I boycotted AP classes after an AP government class jr year. And god was I glad for it. My peers in AP classes were miserable with the amount of work they had.

Dropping the SATs? Aw man, I'd have been screwed. High test scores were what made up for my inconsistent (undiagnosed ADD) GPA.

I *love* your handle, BTW. Every time I see it on this forum I think "Honey Badger don't care! Look at him eat that snake!" :)