__Dr. Q’s Calculus MCQ Tips__

(See the screen casts at the bottom of this page)

One of the biggest issues on the first part of the AP Exam is not having enough time. You will not have enough time to think deeply about every question. The AP exam is designed to cover a wide range of topics, and it is difficult anyone to know everything. The following tips should help you pick up speed on the test while maintaining quality answers.

**The overarching goal is to use the time available to answer the maximum number of questions correctly. The goal is NOT to get everything right!**General Tips

1. Know the basics well

- Know the derivative and integral rules, especially the Product Rule
- Know the PreCalc Basics
- Graphs of basic functions
- Exponential and Log rules
- Trig identities and the Unit Circle

- Understand how units can affect the set-up of a problem
- Expect the Chain Rule

2. Use the three-pass method. (The screencast is coming)

- On your first pass, answer all the questions that deal with concepts you know best and can do quickly. Mark the questions on which you are less confident or which you know will take more time. Put no mark on the questions where you do not have a clue.
- Part of the goal for this pass is to establish a sense of confidence that there is material that you do know and can do.

- On the second pass, do the problems on which you have some idea but need to think more deeply.
- Use process of elimination on this pass if applicable (see #4 below).

- Third pass, look more closely at the questions you initially thought you had no clue. You might realize that now that you've settled into doing the math you recognize something you didn't before and should give it a try. If you still have no clue, guess and move on.
- If you really have no clue, you should have a strategy to guess without bias, like always picking B. When you have no clue, your "intuition" to eliminate an answer is not likely a good one and you could eliminate the right answer.

3. Know what you know best.

- Know what the types of problems are and where your strengths lie.
- Don’t try to know everything.
- Later in the year, practice on a full AP MCQ test (see below)

4. Use Process of Elimination. (The screencast is coming)

- Learn about distractor answers. What makes a “good bad answer”?
- Know and avoid the common errors.
- Use Guess and Check for integrals. Narrow down the answers and find the derivative of the likely answer rather than doing the integral of the original.
- Trust your instincts. Don’t spend valuable time second-guessing yourself.

5. Read carefully and answer the question

**that is asked**.

6. Value diagrams, graphs, and tables.

- These tend to be quicker problems.
- Be careful to pay attention to the scales on both axes.

7. Don’t forget about your calculator’s graphing capabilities.

Process for Practicing for the Chapter Tests

- Use your first attempt on the Prep Quizzes to practice your timing. Try to stick to an average of 2 minutes per questions.
- Use the three-pass method.
- Keep track of which questions you skipped on the first pass and on which questions

you guessed. - Use the second and third attempts to solidify your knowledge (and score).
- Use the multiple-choice questions from another past chapter test (or the practice tests in the text) for a second timing-practice.

Process for Practicing for a Final Exam or the AP Exam

Take at least one full-length, timed practice test at least two months before the Exam, and do the following:

- Keep track of all the questions you guessed on, even if you guess correctly. The questions you guess on are your weaknesses.
- Separate your incorrect guesses from your correct guesses.
- Reflect on your choices and why you guessed incorrectly vs. correctly.
- Did you simply read it wrong?
- Were you running out of time?
- Are you confused by a certain type of function?

- Write down why you got each question wrong and what you will do to prevent a similar mistake from happening again.
- To further refine your three-pass approach, draw up two lists of exam topics. Label one list “I Know These” and label the other list “I am not confident. about these”
- Pick half the topics on the second list to study so as to move them to the first list.
- DO NOT TRY TO KNOW EVEYTHING.
- Do not pick the hardest topics to move. Get all the easier material right first.

Consider forming a study group with three to four other students (a screencast is coming).

- Work with people who have some of your non-confident topics on their Know-Best list. Knowing WHY someone else has a topic on their confidence list where yo do not can really help you move a topic.

Resources

https://www.kaptest.com/study/ap-calculus/ap-calculus-exam-multiple-choice-question- strategies/

https://magoosh.com/hs/ap-calculus/2017/ap-calculus-multiple-choice-questions-tips/ https://www.albert.io/blog/ap-calculus-tips/#AP_Calculus_MultipleChoice_Tips https://markseducation.com/six-tips-conquering-ap-calculus-exams/ https://magoosh.com/hs/ap-calculus/2017/ap-calculus-process-of-elimination/

Screencasts

Tips #1 (the Three Pass Method)

Tips #2 (Process of Elimination)

Tips #3 (Practice for a Final or the AP Exam)

Forming Online Study Groups