And now for the collective sigh of relief! The long months of preparing for the AP Calculus exam are finally drawing to a close. Your students are confident and ready to derive or integrate whatever function comes their way. Yet there is always that one last little reminder you’d like to stress…don’t forget to __________! How can we bring closure to this journey?
I know that many students take their AP exams right at the school where they attend, so having a “last minute reminders” session in person is not only possible, but a great way to boost confidence one last time. My students, though, will travel to a site off campus to take their exams, so when I say good-bye to them on Friday, I won’t see them again until the exam is over. That is exactly why I created my “Last Minute Reminders” sheet for them to review in their cars right before they walk into the exam site. It’s all of the things I would tell them if I could be there!
My reminder list contains some very simple things that I know students tend to forget in the heat of exam time: the +C, the dx, correct units, and labeling their functions. Yet there are other – more critical – things that I want them to remember, such as the requirements for all of the theorems we’ve been studying or the set-up for our various volume methods (when do I use pi and when don’t I?). I also want them to remember the three important pieces of information they need to include when asked to explain something in the context of the problem or to justify using one of our theorems. Finally, I want them to know what is expected when they are asked to find a max/min value (y-value, not x-value!) or to use local linearization (find the tangent line!). You can download my list of last minute reminders below!
After all is said and done, though, I think the most important reminder that we can send our students on exam day is that we are proud of all of the work they’ve put in this year. Regardless of how they do on the exam, they have learned a tremendous amount of calculus and their problem-solving skills have soared. The AP score is just a number; what they carry with them is much more important for their future success. So wish them luck and know that you have done your best to prepare them, not just for the AP Calc exam, but for all of their future academic pursuits. Congratulations to all of them…and to you!