# The Calculus Experience at Bronx Science

How Calculus has affected Bronx Science students’ pursuit of higher-level mathematics.

All Bronx Science students know about the mathematics exams on Fridays.

Students rush to their bus stops or subways early in the morning each Friday, looking forward to their last school day of the week and anticipating the weekend to come. However, it is almost a tradition at Bronx Science where students either walk off campus on Fridays proud, feeling that they did well on their mathematics exam, or concerned that perhaps they could have done better on their mathematics exam.

Bronx Science does not offer these math exams on a weekly basis but rather on a two to three week schedule for each exam, per Mathematics department policy. Nonetheless, these exams could be considered a high benchmark for Bronx Science students as the exams challenge a student’s deep understanding of the curriculum. When junior year begins, many students choose to take Calculus, one of the more rigorous courses in the Mathematics department.

Calculus in mathematics education is one of the more challenging level courses because of its complex use of mathematical skills that must be learned in previous years. “You have to put in the work to make sure that you understand all of the topics which are taught in the course,” said Leo Chen ‘22.

Even if a student did well in her individual geometry, algebra, and trigonometry courses, she will be further challenged by calculus, given that it essentially combines all three courses. The mathematical skills of students are also really tested and put into practice in Bronx Science’s Advanced Placement Calculus courses. The difference between Advanced Placement Calculus BC or AB and standard calculus is notable, as the Advanced Placement courses are more intense and cover more material, which requires teachers to move more quickly in the curriculum in order to cover all topics covered on the AP Exam, before the exam itself is given each May. Higher-level Bronx Science calculus classes such Multivariable Calculus and Linear Algebra further challenge students on what they have learned in previous years.

Andy Ouyang ‘22 shared his opinion after having completed the AP Calculus BC in his junior year.

“I feel like Calculus is a journey worth embarking on, because unlike with previous mathematics courses, it builds upon unfamiliar concepts such as limits, differentiation, and integration. I originally felt like it was too difficult, but as soon as I started to become more efficient and began to truly understand the concepts, I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

After challenging himself for a year, Ouyang came to a conclusion. “The course requires a certain mindset where one is not stopped by failures and obstacles, and one must learn to overcome them and learn from them. Keeping a clear mind and having confidence in one’s own abilities are essential.”

Some of the Bronx Science students currently taking AP Calculus AB have the same mindset as well. Leo Chen ’22 said, “If you work hard in calculus, you will do well. But you do have to put in the work in order to make sure you that you understand the topics that are taught.”

It seems that the overall consensus on calculus at Bronx Science is that the course requires a strong work ethic. Taking a calculus course will not be easy for many students.

Of course, the difficulty of calculus is not one that is limited to Bronx Science students. Many high school students across America eventually take Calculus, which is often considered to be the starting point needed to pursue higher-level mathematics at college and universities.

“I feel like Calculus is a journey worth embarking on, because unlike with previous mathematics courses, it builds upon unfamiliar concepts such as limits, differentiation, and integration. I originally felt like it was too difficult, but as soon as I started to become more efficient and began to truly understand the concepts, I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Andy Ouyang ‘22.

Jason Dai is a Staff Reporter for ‘The Science Survey.’ He finds journalism to be valuable because of its importance in providing information to the...