Why AP Calculus is the Scariest AP Test of All

Why AP Calculus is the Scariest AP Test of All

3 minute read

It’s no secret that The College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) program is a major force in American higher education. How does it work? You take an AP class in high school, pass one of the College Board’s standardized AP tests for the subject you studied, and earn college credit for your work.

How many AP tests are there?

Thirty-eight subjects are now part of the program. When you visit the College Board online, you’ll find that you can take an AP test in a variety of areas, including Art History, Biology, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Chemistry, Chinese Language and Culture, Computer Science, Macroeconomics, English Literature, European History, French, German, Japanese, Latin, Music Theory, Physics, Psychology, Spanish, and more.

Which AP Test is the scariest?

So, what is the one subject that causes the most fear and anxiety in students who are hoping to pass an AP exam to earn college credit? We’re going to go out on a limb here and say, for many, it’s AP Calculus. Why AP Calculus? It’s because Calculus stands pretty much at the pinnacle of all high school math courses. Not everybody takes it in high school. In fact, lots of college students never attempt it. More than other AP subjects, AP Calculus is a true college-level course.  To quote from The College Board’s introduction to the test . . . “The AP Calculus Development Committee recommends that calculus should be taught as a college-level course. With a solid foundation in courses taken before AP, students will be prepared to handle the rigor of a course at this level. Students who take an AP Calculus course should do so with the intention of placing out of a comparable college calculus course. This may be done through the AP Exam, a college placement exam or any other method employed by the college.” And then there’s the fact that if you walk up to most high school or college students and whisper the words “AP Calculus,” you can cause them to fall down on the floor, writhing in fear.

Can calculus be more enjoyable and less stressful?

Yes! An effective way to tone down the stress of calculus is by taking two of StraighterLine’s powerhouse online Calculus courses. You can start with Precalculus and then move on to General Calculus I. Even if you have already taken AP Calculus in high school, these two courses can prepare you for the industrial-strength rigors of The College Board’s AP Calculus tests and for any Calculus courses you will take in college. So, is AP Calculus the scariest AP test of them all? Maybe. But it needn’t be, thanks to these two great StraighterLine courses. 

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