Calculus in Secondary School

For students planning on going into engineering, computer science, economics, or similar fields, taking calculus is a necessity. This branch of math can be used to study changes, analyze/predict trends, and create models of real-life situations. Since calculus has a variety of scientific uses, it will likely go hand in hand with the mathematics these students will use.

While taking calculus in secondary school isn’t mandatory, doing so will provide a head start going into post-secondary. The Calculus 12 course at Heritage Woods will lay the groundwork for calculus, teaching fundamental concepts and preparing students for calculus in post-secondary. In most cases, large amounts of stress and struggle in the first couple years of post-secondary can be mitigated by taking the course. Thus, taking Calculus 12 highly recommended for students planning to study calculus in the future.

Students looking for an even greater advantage may consider taking for AP Calculus 12. This course prepares students for the AP Calculus AB test. Examinations from AP (Advanced Placement) program allows secondary school students to obtain course credits in many (but not all) post-secondary institutions. However, course credits are only given to students who receive a relatively high score (typically a score of 3/5 or higher) on the AP exams. Credits gained from AP Calculus AB test is equivalent to a semester of post-secondary calculus.

Alternatively, students who are interested can opt to take the AP Calculus BC exam, which test provides credits equivalent to two semesters of post-secondary calculus. However, students will have to study independently as there are no classes at Heritage Woods on offer that prepares students for this test. Both the AP Calculus AB and AP Calculus BC exams take place each year in May.

Applying for AP Calculus 12 should be done with prudence. The course is fast-paced and often demanding, which could exert a lot of pressure on students. Since the exam is in May and the course is only offered in the second semester, all the material has to be covered in around 4 months. According to the 2020-2021 course book, only students with a 90% or higher in Pre-Calculus 12 are advised to take the course.

Written by Harper Kim


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