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Welcome to ADVANCED PLACEMENT CALCULUS

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Things that I say to parents that make them nervous. Calculus is the first real math class. All of the other classes were just getting your kid ready for this one. Calculus is considered the bottom of the food chain for most mathematicians.

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This class is hard and I try to challenge the smartest students in the room. Your kid has a teacher who is teaching to a test. The national average on the AP test is a 3.0 which is about a 40-50%.

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Things that I say that make parents feel a little bit better. Even though this class is hard, and I shoot for the top of the class, and I expect others to rise to meet my standards... Kids almost always do rise to this higher level. If a student does not do well on a test, I give other opportunities for students to learn the material. My philosophy is that sometimes kids just don’t get it the first time around and I just want them to learn the material – THAT IS MY PRIMARY OBJECTIVE.

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The people who have designed the AP Calculus class and tests have over- compensated as a reaction to criticism from colleges that the high school experience for math cannot compare to the college experience.

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Possible scores on the AP test are 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 While the national average score each year is around 3.0, my average is well above this. Last year, of my 74 students who took the test, 46 of them had 5’s. I am one of the graders for the AP Free Response section. I know what the graders are looking to read. I will give your child every opportunity to be ready for this test.

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I do not go over homework in class, but the students have numerous opportunities to ask me questions. On Math XL – they get immediate results and can immediately see how to do a problem.

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Recommended calculator – TI 89 Note – I teach to the TI83/84 and the 89. The people who make the AP test recognize that those students with the 89 have an advantage on the test.

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A way to re-coup after a test - If a student does not do well on a test, there is an opportunity for him / her to do a packet of test-like questions for more points. I give two weeks for these packets to be completed.

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The complete list of my homework – for the year - is on on Math XL. It may seem like a lot of work if a student is doing an extra credit assignment at the same time s/he is doing the regular work… and students often wait till the last minute to do the curve packets… There is a 1.5 – 2 week assignment in the 3 rd nine weeks.

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In the beginning of the year in both AB and BC, we always do an SAT review, then we have a pre-calc review. In AB, we will finish a semester and a half of college calculus work. In BC, we will finish 2 semesters.

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The difference between AB & BC - BC covers 2 ½ chapters more than what the AB class does. BC receives 2 scores on their AP tests – a score for both the AB and BC sections. ---------------------- Post AP test – The AB students work on Chapter 9 (sequences and series). The BC students do some calculus material that isn’t covered in the book, and we do a chapter of Linear Algebra.

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Please keep an eye on your child’s grades once Tyler becomes available. Please make it your child’s responsibility to talk to me about any grade issues first, and then we should move into meetings that include the student, a parent, an administrator and me. There is no excuse for numerous 0s on homeworks! The best way to contact me is by emailing me at svolpe@northallegheny.org

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AP curriculum can be found online at http://www.apcentral.collegeboard.com/ There are tutors available. Mrs. Sechler (in the phone book under “Gary Sechler”) tutors the majority of my students who get tutoring– she works in her home, and there are almost always students who have expressed interest in being paid tutors.

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Volpe gift 1 - The B rule – Students who do all the homework and available extra credit who still fall below a B-average will receive an 80%.

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Volpe gift 2 A Student who has an 85-89 final class grade and earns a 5 on the AP test will have his/her grade changed to an A. Grade changes do not happen till the following September! NO changes take place in the summer!!!

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Both tests use the following breakdown: 28 questions multiple choice without calculator 17 questions multiple choice with calculator 2 free response with calculator 4 free response without calculator The test is about 4 hours long

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Your child / children will receive information about the dates of the AP exam as soon as that information becomes available.

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For the entire month before the AP exam, we do nothing but sample tests to get ready. Your kids will be ready on the day of the AP Calc test. I promise.

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What comes next? My son is off to college next year? Shouldn’t he take Calc 1 and get the easy A to boost his GPA? No – If he had AB, he will have already finished most of Calc 2. If he had BC, he can safely start Calc 3 which is reputed to be easier than Calc 2.

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My daughter is in 6 th grade! What will she take for the next 6 years??!!?? [insert laugh even though I am only half-joking] There are 3 other appropriate classes to follow BC – AP Stats, AP Comp Sci, and AP Physics C. After AB, students who plan to major in a mathematical / engineering field are welcome to take BC.

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