Get(ting) ready

August and the school year is about to start!

As I did last year, this year my weekly posts will point you to previous posts on topics that will be coming up a week or two later. I try to stay a little ahead of you so you’ll have time to read them and incorporate what you feel is helpful into your plans. I will occasionally write some new posts as ideas come to me. (You could help them come by sending them. Send your questions and suggestions to


First, here are some suggestions on pacing.

The Course and Exam Description

  • The Course and Exam Description  (CED)This is the official course description from the College Board. The individual list of topics that are tested on the exams (the Concept Outline) begins on page 11 and are listed in the Essential Knowledge (EK) column along with its Big Idea (BI), and Learning Outcome (LO) . Also, you will find the Mathematical Practices (MPACs) starting on page 8. These apply to all the topics.



  • To help you organize all this see my post on Getting Organized using Trello boards. A board listing all the Essential Knowledge and MPAC items are included.

Exam Questions

AP Calculus teachers should have a collection of the past AP Exams handy. Use them for homework, quizzes, and test through the year. Study them yourself to understand the content and style of the questions. Here are some places to find them:

  • The College Board has “home pages” for each course with links to past exams and other good information. AB Home Page and BC Home Page.


  • Another good reference is Ted Gott’s free-response question index and his MC unsecure Index by topic 1998 to 2018 The indices reference all the released free-response and multiple-choice questions. They are Excel spreadsheets. Each question is referenced to its Key Idea, LO and EK and includes a direct link to the text of the question. Click on the drop-down arrow at the top of each column and choose questions exactly on the EK you want to see. Ted plans to update this after the new multiple-choice questions are released. I will let you know when and where it is available. Thank you again, Ted!


  • I have an index of a different sort. It lists the ten Type Problems and which question, multiple-choice and free-response, that are of each type. You can find it here. This will be updated when the 2018 exams become available.


  • Past free-response questions that have been released along with commentary, actual student samples, and data can be found at AB FRQ on AP Central and here BC FRQ on AP Central. Be aware that these are available to anyone including your students.


  • Multiple-choice questions from actual exams are also available. The 2012 exam in the blue box on the course home pages (see above). This is open to anyone including students. More recent exams can be found at your audit website under “secure document” on the lower left side. This must be kept confidential because teachers use them for practice exams – they may not be posted on-line, on your school website or elsewhere, or even allowed out of your classroom on paper. Unfortunately, some teachers have not obeyed these rules and the exams can be found online by students with very little effort. Be aware that, nevertheless, your students may have access to the secure questions. For my suggestion on how to handle that see A Modest Proposal.

The AP Calculus Community

  • Finally, if you are not already a member, I suggest you join the AP Calculus Community. We are fast approaching 17,000 members all interested in AP Calculus. The community has an active bulletin board where you can ask and answer questions about the courses. Teachers and the College Board also post resources for you to use. College Board official announcements are also posted here. I am the moderator of the community and I hope to see you there!

Have a great year!

PS: Here is a link to some precalculus topics that come up in calculus


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