Math Course Gives Eager Students a Challenge

By Kieran Bissessar’16 and Jeffrey Dong’16

Calculus is a beneficial class in preparation for college. Many students who take calculus either in their junior or senior years find calculus in college much easier, but it requires a lot of work.
“In retrospect, taking calculus in high school helped me tremendously in college,” said Emily Finkelstein, a former student who took calculus in her senior year. “I was able to apprehend the lessons and didn’t stress out about the class.”
Many students who took calculus in high school have found it much easier in college. Even though calculus may not be the most fun, taking the class allows you to grasp a common understanding of what to expect in college.
In Midwood, there are three calculus courses offered, two of which are APs (BC and AB), while the other is standard.
Standard calculus is open to all who desire to extend their mathematical knowledge. They will follow a standard curriculum, learning the basic areas of calculus. The course’s intention is for students to learn enough to be better prepared to tackle college calculus. This course is taught by Mr. Ross, Mr. Moore and Ms. Ramos.
“I recommend that everybody take calculus, especially those who aren’t taking any math classes senior year,” said Mr. Moore. “It is a standard curriculum: no regents, no common core, and some group work- pairs if needed.”
For the more ambitious students, AP Calculus is offered. The class covers college material and ends with an AP exam. If you do well enough on the exam, certain colleges will transfer the credits so you won’t have to retake the course in college.
“I want to pursue a career in mechanical or some other form of engineering,” said William Dadario ’16, who wants to into Calculus BC next year. “As such calculus is required for AP Physics C. The reason why I’m choosing BC is because I feel as though it will stimulate a college level calculus course and gaining as much college classroom and curriculum experience before getting there is extremely beneficial as I will enter with prior knowledge and experience. In addition, AP courses, calculus in particular, looks superb on college applications.”
Many students, like William Dadario’16, want to get into AP Calculus in preparation for college, help in other classes, and for college applications.
According to College Board, Calculus AB and Calculus BC were made to develop students’ understanding of the topics and offer them experience with its methods and real life applications. Both courses emphasize a multiple representational approach to calculus, with concepts and problems being expressed graphically, analytically, numerically, and verbally.
“Calculus BC is definitely my most difficult class, I actually spilled red bull on my test once because I was so nervous,” said Siddique Shafi ’16, a student currently taking Calculus BC. “Although, there is a lot of work, I enjoy the challenge. I’m looking forward to continue calculus in college and I know that this class will help me.” Calculus BC is one of the more advanced classes in Midwood but students taking this class hope to gain more knowledge for calculus in college.
According to College Board, the difference between AP Calculus AB and BC is its material, not difficulty. Calculus AB, taught by Ms. Copeland and Ms. Bueno, covers techniques and applications of the derivative, definite integral, and Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. It is considered a one semester of calculus at most colleges and universities. On the other hand, Calculus BC, taught by Ms. Grabowski, includes all topics in AB as well as differential and integral calculus (including parametric, polar, and vector functions) and series. It equates one year of calculus at most colleges and universities. Think of Calculus BC as an extension of AB. Each class is difficult, demanding, and requires an in-depth comprehension of the topics.

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