Friday, February 13, 2009

My classes- Part 3- AP AB/BC Calculus

So Math has pretty much always been easy for me. I think Math is the only subject area in which I've actually never gotten a C on a test (I've had some grades of C- and lower- on tests/assignments in science, English, French, and humanities).

In 6th grade, I took Pre-Algebra. It was easy. Pythagorean theorem? Cool! In 7th grade, I took "Algebra 1 part 1 honors" (or something like that). Inequalities? Very, very awesome. I got a 100 on the final, I think. In 8th grade, I took "Algebra 1 part 2 honors" (or something like that). Parabolas were hard to learn, but pretty interesting. In 8th grade, I didn't think it was "cool" to be good at math, so I made a point out of purposely not trying as hard as I knew I could. Trigonometry was kind of hard, but pretty cool.

Before 9th grade, I took a placement test at the private school that I now go to (9th grade was my first year) to determine what math I would be in for 9th grade. The results came back, and I was recommended for Geometry Honors.

Geometry was okay. But it was weird because it wasn't really like Algebra. In Geometry, they give you the answer; you have to prove how you got there, whereas in Algebra, it's more about getting to the answer.

At the end of 9th grade, we started learning some Trigonometry. This time, Trigonometry was really cool.

At the very end of the year, we took a placement test to determine what class we'd be in for the next year- Algebra 2/Trigonometry, Algebra 2/Trigonometry Honors, or Math 3/4 (basically, Algebra 2/Trigonometry Honors and Pre-Calculus Honors combined in one year). The placement test and our final grade would determine which class we'd be placed in. Most people would go from Geometry Honors to Algebra 2/Trig Honors, but if you did really well (A-/A average for the year and a good score on the placement test), you'd go to Math 3/4, and if you didn't do so well (I'm guessing below a B average for the year) you'd go to Algebra 2/Trig.

I did really well on the placement test, but I had a B+ average for the year, so in 10th grade, I took Algebra 2/Trig Honors. At first, it was extremely easy, and the teacher talked to my parents and said that I probably should be in Math 3/4 because I was doing so well. But I didn't want to mess up my schedule or have to make up what I'd missed in Math 3/4, so I stayed in Algebra 2/ Trig Honors. I had multiple perfect scores on tests- and many times, the teacher would actually announce, "Guess what everybody, Molly got a hundred". The teacher would also shake the hand of everyone who did well or got an A (though both of these practices stopped part way through the year). I ended up with an A for the year.

So in 11th grade (last year) I took Pre-Calculus Honors. The first time we learned derivatives, I was really confused, but eventually they became really fun. We did trigonometry for most of the winter term, and on the first 3 tests, I got a 100, which was pretty cool. Since I had an A in Pre-Calculus, I was recommended for AP AB/BC Calculus for this year.

What, you ask, is AB/BC Calculus? Surely you've heard of AP AB Calculus and AP BC Calculus. Well, at my school, most people go from Pre-Calculus Honors to AP AB Calculus then AP BC Calculus. But if (like me) you did really well in Pre-Calculus Honors, then you take AB/BC Calculus, which is basically AP AB and BC Calculus combined in one year.

And let me tell you- AP AB/BC Calculus is awesome. Calculus in general is really cool, actually. I love numbers. It's just awesome. Picture a bowl, shaped like half a sphere. Okay, now picture water pouring in to the bowl at a constant rate. With calculus, you can figure out how fast the depth of the water is changing.

I ended up getting a B+ for fall term. I probably could have done better, though Riemann Sums basically ate my soul (not to mention the fact that I was extremely busy with college applications all fall).

For midterms this term, I had an A (zomg!). Since then, my grade has dropped to an A- (I got a 96 on the first test of the term- which is what was on the midterm- but an 83 on the second test). We're now learning about sequences and series- which is easy, but also pretty hard! I have a test on Tuesday- wish me luck, oh blog readers.

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