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Difference Between Calculus AB and BC

Calculus AB vs BC

Advance placement (AP) calculus AB and Advance Placement calculus BC are exams that students take in the schools to familiarize themselves about college level calculus. In fact, these courses have syllabi that are similar to what students get when they take a math course in their first year of college. The topics in AB are roughly the same as those found in BC which is what confuses many students. Despite similarities, there are differences between calculus AB and BC that will be talked about in this article.

To begin with, calculus AB has a syllabus that is nearly the same as that of Math 1a. On the other hand, the syllabus of calculus BC relates with the course of math 1b. This is despite the difference in duration of the two college level courses. While math 1a is a single semester course, math 1b is a year long course.

It has become common to see high schools in US offering AP course in calculus. The students are allowed to take a competency test at the end of the course to let them know if they are ready for the college level course. The differences between these two advance placement courses lie in their difficulty levels and the fact that BC contains topics that are, in addition to those found in, AB. There are students who say that the topics in BC are the same as in AB. This is only partially true. Yes, both courses are designed to let students grasp the fundamentals of integral and differential calculus, but when we take a look at the syllabus of the courses we find that AB covers topics like limits, functions, derivatives and their applications, the definitive integral, the theorems of calculus, also integration by substitution. All these topics are there in calculus BC also, but there are additional topics such as sequences, power series, series, and applications and techniques of integration. In fact, you would be surprised that there is a single document to let students know their syllabus in the two courses.

There is another minor difference that relates with credits awarded. Some school award lesser credits for calculus AB than calculus BC. This difference matters depending upon the college selected and the requirements of the course in the college.

What is the difference between Calculus AB and BC?

• AP calculus AB and AP calculus BC are two different courses officered in high schools across US these days, and are meant to familiarize students with the course of math in college.

• The syllabi of the two courses look similar, though calculus BC has additional topics, and the duration of the courses is also different.

• The syllabus of calculus AB correlates with math 1a offered in colleges while the syllabus of calculus BC corresponds to the course Math 1b in colleges.


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