April 2016 – Exam Review

This is a copy of my March 2016 post. It is review time and here are the links to my post on reviewing for the AP Calculus Exams

This year’s AP Calculus exams are on the morning of Thursday May 5, 2016. This month AP Calculus teachers will continue their review for the exams. The links to past posts on getting ready and reviewing for the exams are below. I’m posting them ahead of time so you will have time to use them in your planning.

Exam questions:

Released free-response questions are available from AP Central. Click here for AB and here for BC. Released multiple-choice questions are available only to teachers at your AP Audit website (click on “Secure Documents” on the lower left of the screen. Remember that these four years’ exams (2012 – 2015) are not allowed to leave your room (literally) and they may not be posted anywhere on-line.

Indices to released exam questions:

Click the links to an index to the multiple-choice (2003, 2008) and free-response (thru 2015) exam questions. These are Excel spreadsheets; click the arrow at the top of any column and narrow your search by checking exactly what you are looking for. These were prepared by Mark Howell and are available thanks to Skylight Publishing. (www.skylit.com)

I have a shorter and much less detailed three-page free-response  (1998 – 2015) index and multiple-choice (2003, 2008, 2012 – 2015 ) index. Click here.The multiple choice question are grouped by the “Type Questions” referred to below. One interesting feature is that you can see at a glance the number of times each type question was asked from year to year; this may help you decide what to emphasize.

Getting Ready for the AP exams (links to past posts)

The AP Calculus Exams

Using AP Questions All Year

Ideas for Reviewing for the AP Calculus Exams

Practice exams – A Modest Proposal All the past exams are available online – what to consider when your students find them.

Writing on the AP Calculus Exam Don’t miss these 7+ FR points.

Interpreting Graphs AP Type Question 1

The Rate / Accumulation Question AP Type Question 2

Area and Volume Questions AP Type Question 3

Motion on a Line AP Type Question 4

The Table Question AP Type Question 5

Differential Equations AP Type Question 6

Implicit Relations and Related Rates AP Type Question 7

Parametric and Vector Equations AP Type Question 8 (BC)

Polar Curves AP Type Question 9 (BC)

Sequences and Series AP Type Question 10 (BC)

Calculator Use on the AP Exams

And some last-minute advice Getting Ready for the Exam













3 thoughts on “April 2016 – Exam Review

  1. How has the exam changed since the early 80s?

    Does it cover as much or is it watered down? I remember infinite series and second order diff eqs with constant coefficients and volumes of spun curves (washers, stadiums!) We also did epsilon delta (although that might have been precalc, can’t recall.)

    Technology: I took the exam in 83. I remember scientific calculators being allowed, but not really needed. (AP Chem is a different story…you need to be able to crunch stoichiometry.)

    I hear stuff about graphing calculators, but I don’t remember using them ever even in the late 90s doing a Ph.D. in chemistry (with lots of solid state physics). If you want to graph something you do it in excel. If it needs numerical solution, you might use Maple.

    Even in mid 2000s led a research lab group for a company (chemical engineering emphasis) and I don’t remember anyone bothering with graphing calculators. Do working scientists use them? I still see conventional calculators (or fancier ones, but not using the CAS) and then use of spreadsheets on the computer.


    • Surfer;

      Yes, the exam has changed since 1980. In 1998 a new course description was adopted that was a good deal different from the previous course description. This coming year (2106 – 17) another course description is coming on board, but the content changes are minor. The new couse description is here.
      “Watered Down” is a dysphemism, revised and improved might be a better term. Infinite series are still a major topic in the BC course (they were never in the AB course). Second order differential equations are no longer tested. Delta-epsilon is also not tested any longer. Teachers may still teach these topics. Volumes of rotation and the washer method are still tested on both exams.

      Scientific calculators were allowed (not required) for two years in the 1980’s as some kind of experiment. Graphing calculators (which became available about 1989 or 1990) have been required (you cannot get a few answers without them) since 1995. Certainly graphing calculators are not state of the art. Computers and iPads and their programs like Excel, Maple, and others are certainly mush more powerful. BUT computers and iPads can communicate with other class members and the rest of the world during exams and also can contain full textbooks and other online resources, therefore, they cannot be used on exams. Graphing calculators are the compromise. Since technology is here to stay, it looks like graphing calculators are too. I doubt that working scientists and engineers use graphing calculators. The idea is to get technology use and the concept of technology use into the high schools.

      I hope that answers some of your questions.


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