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Prep Session: AP Calculus Exam Tips

Philosophy (AP College Board)

Calculus AB and Calculus BC are primarily concerned with developingthe students’ understanding of the concepts of calculus and providingexperience with its methods and applications. The courses emphasizea multi-representational approach to calculus, with concepts, results,and problems being expressed graphically, numerically, analytically,and verbally. The connections among these representations also areimportant. Calculus BC is an extension of Calculus AB rather than anenhancement; common topics require a similar depth of understanding. Both courses are intended to be challenging anddemanding. Broad concepts and widely applicable methods areemphasized. The focus of the courses is neither manipulation normemorization of an extensive taxonomy of functions, curves,theorems, or problem types. Thus, although facility with manipulationand computational competence are important outcomes, they are notthe core of these courses. Technology should be used regularly bystudents and teachers to reinforce the relationships among themultiple representations of functions, to confirm written work, toimplement experimentation, and to assist in interpreting results. Through the use of the unifying themes of derivatives, integrals, limits,approximation, and applications and modeling, the course becomes acohesive whole rather than a collection of unrelated topics. Thesethemes are developed using all the functions listed in theprerequisites.

Goals (AP College Board)

• Students should be able to work with functions represented in avariety of ways: graphical, numerical, analytical, or verbal. They shouldunderstand the connections among these representations.• Students should understand the meaning of the derivative in termsof a rate of change and local linear approximation and should be ableto use derivatives to solve a variety of problems.• Students should understand the meaning of the definite integral bothas a limit of Riemann sums and as the net accumulation of change andshould be able to use integrals to solve a variety of problems.• Students should understand the relationship between the derivativeand the definite integral as expressed in both parts of the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus.• Students should be able to communicate mathematics and explainsolutions to problems both verbally and in written sentences.

• Students should be able to model a written description of a physicalsituation with a function, a differential equation, or an integral.• Students should be able to use technology to help solve problems,experiment, interpret results, and support conclusions.• Students should be able to determine the reasonableness of solutions, including sign, size, relative accuracy, and units of measurement.• Students should develop an appreciation of calculus as a coherentbody of knowledge and as a human accomplishment.

AP Exam Format (AP College Board)

Section I Part I (55 minutes): 28 multiple choice non-calculatorquestionsSection I Part II (50 minutes):17 multiple choice calculator-activequestionsSection II Part I (45 minutes): 3 free response calculator-activequestionsSection II Part II (45 minutes): 3 free response non-calculatorquestionsStudents may go back and work on problems in Section II Part I duringthe last time period but

without

a calculator.

AP Exam Scoring (AP College Board)

The scores for Sections I and II are given equal weight. The rawmultiple choice score is calculated by taking the number of questionscorrect and subtracting one-fourth the number of questions missed.Questions left blank score no points. This score is then multiplied by ascale of factor of 1.2 so that the highest multiple choice score astudent can earn is 54. Each free response question is worth 9 pointsso that the highest free response score a student can earn is 54.However, students are not expected to answer every question. Themultiple choice and free response scores are added to give acomposite score. The composite score is then converted to a grade onAP’s 5 point scale.5 Extremely well qualified4 Well qualified3 Qualified2 Possibly qualified1 No recommendation

AP Exam grades of 5 are equivalent to A grades in the correspondingcollege course. AP Exam grades of 4 are equivalent to grades of A-, B+,and B in college. AP Exam grades of 3 are equivalent to grades of B-,C+, and C in college.

2008 AP Calculus AB Free Response Scoring Statistics (APCollege Board)

QuestionNumberMeanScorePointsPossible14.8923.36932.45942.60953.70963.069

Calculator Do’s

•

Do plot graphs of a function within an arbitrary viewing window.

•

Do find zeros of functions (solving equations numerically)

•

Do calculate numerical derivatives of functions

•

Do calculate numerical values of a definite integral.

•

Do put your calculator in radian mode.

Calculator Don’ts

•

Don’t trace to find an intersection.

•

Don’t calculate a definite integral from the graph window.

•

Don’t use a regression to curve fit a function from a table.

•

Don’t round a number in the middle of a problem. Store valuesin memory so the entire number can be used in calculations.

•

Don’t use a program or built-in utility to do the work for aproblem that is not one of the above mentioned (e.g. if a Trapezoidal Rule problem is on the free response section, youmust show the original equation and a solution).

•

Don’t forget to put fresh batteries in before the AP exam.

•

Don’t forget to take your calculator to the AP exam.

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