Is AP Calculus AB Hard? Know Everything in Details

“Is AP Calculus AB hard?” – is the most common question before an AP exam. Everyone gets so confused about this every year before the exam.

You may also be confused and want to know the right answer to this question, right? Then continue to read. Indeed, Calculus is so hard for a large number of people. There is not a single thing to remember easily and repeat continuously.

But if you are a math person, you will not have a problem with that. The concepts about other maths will help you to learn it quickly if you have learned algebra well.

Is AP Calculus AB Hard

Is AP Calculus AB Hard?

Let us get deeper!

How Much Is AP Calculus AB Hard?

This AP Calculus exam is designed to be difficult because it allows you to go after college-level education even when you are in high school.

Also, it allows you to get college credits if you do great in exams. That is why it is hard, and you will have to learn to solve difficult maths to pass the exam.

AP Calculus AB is a difficult course, but it is nothing to be near impossible. But you know, everything is hard if you don’t practice. And AP Calculus AB needs more practice than others.

If you study well, you will get a good result on it. There are a lot of people who skipped pre-calculus and still got good results.

What Are The Units Of AP Calculus AB?

There are eight units in AP Calculus AB. Here those are:

  • Limits and Continuity
  • Differentiation: Definition and Fundamental Properties
  • Differentiation: Composite, Implicit, and Inverse Functions
  • Contextual Applications of Differentiation
  • Analytical Applications of Differentiation
  • Integration and Accumulation of Change
  • Differential Equations
  • Applications of Integration

Skills For Doing Better In Learning AP Calculus AB

Well, everyone who knows math can do better in AP Calculus AB. But if you know what skills you should have, you will get more confidence. Let us show those skills that will help you to be better in AP Calculus AB.

  • Mathematical Process Applying: You need the skill to identify the mathematical values, expressions and process them mathematically.
  • Merging Representation: You should have the ability to translate information like differentiation to Integration.
  • Justification: You will also need the ability to solve problems.
  • Communication and Explanation: You must have the skill to use the correct symbols, notations, and language.

These skills are needed for doing every math subject. That’s why it helps you also in AP Calculus AB if you have these skills from before.

AP Calculus AB vs. AP Calculus BC

A common question most students have is which one is harder? AP Calculus AB or AP Calculus BC? If you struggle with learning math basics, calculus AB will seem very hard.

Calculus BC covers further calculus topics; hence having a clear concept of calculus AB is essential.

And if you like math, you can easily memorize the symbols, equations, applications, then both calculus AB and BC will seem simple to you.

Again if you like math with small answers, you will like AP calculus AB but not AP calculus BC because AP Calculus BC requires long answers with full details.

In the end, the fact is math itself becomes a hard subject when you don’t have enough confidence in yourself and your skills.

How Is AP Calculus AB Exam Taken?

AP Calculus AB exam lasts 3 hours, and within the given time, you have to answer questions from two different sections. The first section covers multiple-choice questions, and the second section covers free-response questions.

Both the sections are again divided into two parts denoted A and B. We are discussing the two sections differently for your ease of understanding.

Section 1

Section one’s part A has 60 minutes duration for answering. This time is fixed for 30 multiple-choice questions. Part A doesn’t allow the use of calculators.

In the next part, B, you are given 45 minutes to finish answering 15 multiple choice questions. Part B allows the use of calculators.

Section 2

Thirty minutes is fixed for section 2, part A where you have to answer two free-response questions. You can use a calculator in part A.

The last 60 minutes is for section 2, part B, where you must answer four free-response questions. Part B allows you to use a calculator.

How Is AP Calculus AB Exam Scored?

The total mark of your exam will be 100, where multiple-choice questions are worth 50 percent and the other 50 percent is for free-response questions.

For each correct answer to multiple-choice questions, you get one solid point. The AP board doesn’t deduct numbers for incorrect answers.

Therefore you must not leave a single question unanswered, you don’t know you might get lucky, and many of your answers become correct. On the other section, six free-response questions score 54. Each has 9 points.

How to Do Better in AP Calculus AB Exam? Tips

Calculus is tough, so use these tips if you want to get a great score in the AP Calculus AB exam.

  • Learn Important Formulas

There are specific formulas for AP Calculus AB. Try to memorize all of them. There will be no chance to get those on exam time.

  • Learn to Use Your Calculator Perfectly

There are four parts to an exam of AP Calculus AB. You are allowed to use your calculator in two parts of them. By using a calculator, you will be able to answer correctly in a short time.

  • Show All Your Works

Don’t forget to show your works from intermediate periods with your answers. It has more value than anything in the exam. The graders will see how you tried to get the answers even if your answer becomes wrong.


AP Calculus AB is a difficult course, but not an impossible course to complete with a high score. There will be no risk on your GPA if you are a good student and do class regularly.

And practice makes perfect. Practice can make everything possible. Try to practice more from now—That’s all for this topic. Hopefully, you have got your answ

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