AP Class Reviews

Calculus taught by Susan Gilleran

by Students and Parents

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Great course! posted by Hannah Che on May 28 2012 at 03:03:57

This course definitely prepared me for the AP Calculus BC exam.  All the topics found on the exam were thoroughly covered in the course material, and the loads of sample tests, AP prep book assignments, review sheets, etc. that Mrs. Gilleran assigned really prepared me well for the questions on the actual exam.
This course is one of the heaviest I've taken-- assignments are assigned daily, and I generally put in around 1.5-2 hrs each day reading the Daily Comments, studying the assigned textbook reading, and completing problems.  
I think the videos that Mrs. Gilleran assigned us to watch were incredibly helpful, especially for particuarly confusing topics (sequences and series, anyone?).  The countless Free-Response tests we did throughout the year were also very useful for solidifying review and familiarity with the actual AP exam.
I think this course really allowed me to see the immense amount of material found in mathematics, and the truly countless applications of just two basic concepts (differentiation and integration).  I wasn't a math person from the beginning, so this course didn't really affect my future college plans, but it was definitely an interesting and eye-opening experience.
The class was not very interactive (how interactive can you get with math?), but we did have a discussion board, where people would frequently post questions about specific problems, which was quite helpful.
The class moves at an incredibly fast pace, so it is very easy to fall behind.  As I said earlier, I'm not a math person at all, and I entered the course directly from pre-calc, but I still managed to complete the class (somewhat) succesfully. This course could be potentially difficult for people who prefer interactive, lecture-type learning to just reading testbooks/doing problems...I know several people that had to find math tutors halfway through the year, and I myself had to use quite a lot of help from my engineering-professor dad. But all in all, it's a great course with a terrific teacher, and I would highly recommend it to any student who is motivated and hard-working.


A great course! posted by Michael Thompson on May 25 2012 at 03:39:41

I absolutely loved this course. Although calculus is challenging, it makes a lot of sense. The assignments have a lot of real life applications which are so much fun. The class moves at a very fast pace, which is really nice because it gives you a lot of time in March and April to study for the exam. I think the most useful assignments were all the practice FRQs in April. The best part about these FRQs is that Mrs. Gilleran would go over them in her comments the next day; this allowed us to know exactly what to do for any type of FRQ. This class definitely enhanced my interest in math, and I would recommend it to everyone who enjoys math. 


posted by Benjamin Noble on May 16 2012 at 21:11:02

I really liked Mrs. Gilleran's style of teaching; she always felt open and available if you needed any help.  The one thing I didn't like, and this is inherent with the set-up of this kind of class, was the lack of face-to-face interaction.  I personally feel like I perform better in an actual classroom, but despite that drawback, I enjoyed the class.  She also made math more fun.


AP Calculus BC Cource posted by Jasmine on May 16 2012 at 01:37:23

This was simply an excellent course for learning Calculus BC. It was very well organized and utilized every opportunity to prepare students for the AP exam. I probably put in at least 2 hours of work a day learning the material, but that is to be expected for an online AP class (allowing at least one hour to learn and another to do the assignments). I found the numerous practice tests we did extremely helpful in preparation for the test. I feel like by the end I really knew my stuff, from AB to BC. The communications between the other students was a great tool where you could ask anyone any questions you had and they would be answered usually the same day. Math has always been my favorite subject and I think that you should really be either into higher math or one of those people that likes taking advanced classes to do well in this course. Overall, I really applaud Mrs. Gilleran for organizing the course so well and all the work she put into it, and I think anyone who enters the course will feel very rewarded by the end.


Mrs. Gilleran's Calculus BC posted by Nathan Thomas on May 11 2012 at 22:05:00

Mrs. Gilleran's class is not for the fain of heart...it certainly required time and committment--like 6 to 8 hours of work a week at the minimum.

That being said, the course was both extremely interesting and helpful. I felt very prepared for the AP exam due to the reviews she gave. In addition, I felt as if I learned the material very well.

I would very much recommend it. Overall, A+


AP Calculus BC for the win! posted by Zac Barnett on May 11 2012 at 17:15:05

First off, looking back over the year, I am very glad that I took this course.  Mrs. Gilleran does an excellent job teaching and organizing the assignments.  If you apply yourself and do all of the assignments, this course will be fun to complete everyday, provided that you like math.

I feel pretty confident about the AP exam.  Over this course, we did such a huge amount of Free Response and Multiple Choice Practice Tests that when I did the actual AP exam, it was if I had seen almost every problem in some shape or form already through the practice tests.  The Be Prepared for the AP Calculus Exam book that we studied is extremely useful for studying for the exam. 

A normal day in this course: Read Mrs. G's comments (5-15 minutes), read section in textbook (up to 30 minutes), do the assignment (up to 2 hours).

Per day, it took me approximately 2 hours to complete, but you can expect 3 or more hours in the days leading up to the AP exam.

During the year, there were a few times where we had to write our own Calculus word problem and solution.  I found this helpful because it helped make concepts that we had been learning more concrete.
This course focused more on student-teacher communication.  While there was a online group for the students to talk about the course, the majority of the communication was talking to Mrs. Gilleran through email. 
I would recommend this course to any student who likes math.  That being said, this course is fast paced and it is easy to get lost if you don't complete the assignents daily.
It's very important to keep trying until you understand the concept in this course, but the reward of understanding a tough Calculus concept is definitely worth the struggle. Mrs. Gilleran is a great Calculus teacher!

 


AP Calculus AB posted by Kathryn Fodale on May 11 2012 at 17:09:52

This course definitely prepared me for the AP exam. When I first started calc, I felt totally over-whelmed, but by the end I felt as ready as I could be to take the test. This was definitely my most challenging course ever. Before taking this class, all math was pretty easy for me, but I had a really hard time understanding calculus. The group email was certainly helpful, but I actually needed to get a tutor. I found that I really wasn't a person that could learn calculus through just reading the text or reading other's words, but I needed to be with someone talking it through, drawing it out. If you are a person who understands through reading, you will do excelently in this course. I am not, so I needed a bit of help. You also need to be very motivated to do a little bit of calculus everyday. Calculus isn't something you understand in the first (or even second) reading. You need to read it, say it, do problems over and over again. Like any AP, you need to be commited to the course and commited to working hard. 


Have no fear for Mrs. Gilleran is here! posted by Hannah Huynh on May 11 2012 at 14:23:01

Mrs. Gilleran's Calculus BC class is the best math class I have taken so far.  She adequately prepares you for the AP exam and yet you never feel rushed in the class.  There is daily homework so you will have to be willing to spend a little time on math every day.  But, the daily homework only serves to help you better prepare for the AP exam!  Mrs. Gilleran is super helpful whenever you ask her anything and she often posts explanations to problems that most students in the class have trouble on.

This course definitely affirmed my love for math :)

There was not as much student to student interection as there was teacher to student interaction.  But the interaction with Mrs. Gilleran was great.  Any student who is willing to spend around 20-30 mintues a day on math will do well in this class.  Mrs. Gilleran structures the class so that we get plenty of breaks and yet nearly a month of reviewing before the AP exam.  This is an excellent class!!!

Most people shy away from BC because they think it is too hard, but don't be scared.  If you are good in math, take this class!  As I said many times before, Mrs. Gilleran gets you adequately prepared for the exam!


Great Course! posted by Jeremiah Keenan on May 11 2012 at 04:33:39

Definitely!  By the time I got to the test, I had done so many FRQ’s that I almost thought I had seen one of the test questions before.  Especially in the last month, Mrs. Gilleran seriously preps us to the exam.

I generally put about 10 hours of work per week into the course.

Yes.  Calculus is a great deal more fun than Pre-calculus or Algebra.  I got especially carried away with the foundations of calculus (limits and derivatives) and wrote up pages of desultory explanations about them.  I sent off my ideas to Mrs. Gilleran who showed me how I could present my ideas in a fashion more suitable for a mathematical paper, pointed out where and how I had made a mistake in my logic, and helped me understand the epsilon delta definition of a limit (even though none of these things were required for the AP exam!). 

Somewhat.  However, my communication with Mrs. Gilleran and the TA’s was much more important.

I would definitely recommend this course to other students.  There’s no getting around the fact that Calculus is hard, but if you read the material Mrs. Gilleran provides, do the homework she assigns, and send her a question when you hit a snag, you’re pretty much guaranteed an interesting exploration of Calculus and a good score on the AP exam.

 


Review of AP Calculus AB posted by Gabriel Malarskey on May 10 2012 at 20:58:17

I really enjoyed this class. I feel that it prepared me very well for the AP test. Even though I didn’t end up taking the test, I feel that I would have done well if I had taken it. Mrs. Gilleran provided plenty of practice tests and question sets for review, and I felt comfortable not only with the material, but also with the way I needed to present it in my answers. I typically spent two and a half hours or more every weekday on the class, and sometimes an hour or more each day of the weekend, as well. There weren’t any specific assignments that I enjoyed more than others; I enjoyed pretty much everything. The course didn’t really make me more interested in calculus, because I was already interested, and I know that I want to go into physics, which requires it. I didn’t end up communicating with other students as much as in other AP classes, because I really didn’t find it all that necessary. Most of the time, the teacher was more helpful in answering questions than my fellow students were. A student who is strong in math, or at least likes math, would do best in this course. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who doesn’t like math, because it needs all the effort you can put into it. 


AP Calculus AB Review posted by Kealani Jensen on May 10 2012 at 20:38:48

This course is really hard if you are not motivated to do the work, if you don't have enough time in your schedule, and if you don't learn well without a teacher explaining a concept on the board in front of you. The actual book has really good practice problems and I can't even count how many practice exams I did. So I feel that if I put much more time into it, the product would be much more triumphant than it was. If you are considering this class make sure you have enough time in your schedule because you should really be prepared to do calculus for about two hours every day during the week plus extra studying on the weekend. So if you meet the traits I listed above, then take the class! Just be aware that it is a huge time commitment and you can't slack off!


AP Calculus BC with Mrs. Gilleran posted by Caleb Wilson on May 10 2012 at 19:26:35

First of all, this class will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. But, as Mrs. Gilleran would say, to earn that reward you're going to have do some serious venturing (aka hard work). The homework is definitely very heavy. Completely understanding the concepts of the textbook and THEN doing up to 50 or so exercises a day can be very exhausting. But, at the end of it, if you really work at the class, you'll look back and know its worth it like I do now. 

The homework, on average, usually takes around an hour and a half to two hours a day. On the heavier days (maybe a few times a month) sometimes up to three hours. But the course is time heavy for a reason--it's also resource heavy. Any concept at all can be completely explained, dissected, and broken down by the study group discussion board, Mrs. Gilleran in the comments, the 5 min video lectures she assigns, or the endless websites and resources she puts at your disposal. Basically, if you're willing to work at it, there is no concept you'll be tearing your hair out about. 

If you consistently work at understanding, completing, and studying the assignments, you will absolutely be completely and totally calculus-literate, more than ready to take on the AP Exam come May. But it wasn't all about the exam. Mrs. Gilleran's daily "Comments" were consistently more than just helpful, but also meaningful. She helped me understand why math is more than just algebra and derivatives. It's a living, breathing science. It was something put together, not be my heartless machines or robots who want us to spend our days indoors doing exercises, but by men like Isaac Newton, Liebniz, and more. She helped me to understand that calculus isn't just a skill necessary for the workforce, but also an astounding, fascinating, brilliant achievement of mankind. And it sure feels that way once you're through with it. I now feel confident, proud, and strangely more interesting moving forward with my high school career. And I have Mrs. Gilleran and her class to thank for it.

Finally, the one thing I think could be improved was the interactivity of the course. Although there are endless resources, they were almost entirely textbook/web based. And for some learners, that can be a very difficult format. Having a more intimate atmosphere or a way to learn math beyond graphs and sentences (which definitely do not explain math well) would have been the one thing to make this course a 10/10 experience. But all withstanding, for a web-based course, Mrs. Gilleran does the absolute best she can with the format provided. All is wonderfully organized on the class website. And questions, comments, tricky problems and more are all given clean, easy places to be taken care of. 

I highly reccomend Mrs. Gilleran's Calculus course for the proficiency in math, the rigorous preparation for the AP Exam, and the excellency of the advice, teaching, and insights into math and, sometimes, even how to live more effectively. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did :)


What a great course! posted by Matthew Nyhus on May 10 2012 at 11:40:34

This course was really well done.  I've done a couple of online courses and many of them have had really bad organisation, whether it be a bad web layout, confusing calendar or hard-to-find content.  However, this course's material was really easy to find, the calendar was well organised and the web layout was excellent.  It was really clear what I had to do each day and Mrs. Gilleran's comments (or lesson) were easily accessible.

More importantly, though, the course itself was really well done.  It wasn't easy, (there is a lot of content to get through), but Mrs. Gilleran assigned enough homework so that I could master each topic without the homework being onerous.  The lessons were also well done, and I never felt like I couldn't learn anything.  Some of the content was very difficult, but between the lesson, the textbook and the discussion board (where we could as other students and our TAs for help), I always felt like there were plenty of resources available to help me if I had trouble. 

Finally, the actual AP prep was excellent.  Of the three AP courses that I'm taking this year, this course prepped me the most for the AP exam, and consequently I felt most ready for this exam.  When it came time to write the actual AP exam, I felt really confident, and that's mostly due to the course.  I think that feeling ready for the exam and confident that you can get a 5 is probably the most important part of any course, so this course was excellent.

Overall, a fabulous course.


:) posted by Kaitlyn Hahn on May 09 2012 at 21:33:41

Students who are extremely disciplined should take this course. It was a little hard for me to keep up in the homework especially because we didn't have to turn it in. This led to me falling behind and not really feeling super confident the day I took the AP test.  This was pretty much my own fault, but if I had had to send in more required homework to Mrs. Gilleran, that would've helped me keep up.


Mrs Gilleran's AP Calculus AB class posted by Emily Morrison on May 09 2012 at 18:11:25

This class has prepared me very well for the Calc AB exam.  I personally found that all the practice tests and assorted tidbits that we did during the second half of the school year was more interesting and fun than the first half of the year, which was more tightly textbook-oriented.  After all those practice tests, the actual exam seemed easier than I was expecting.  What a pleasant surprise!  I generally put in between fifty and ninety minutes per day for this course.  The workload is very weel apportioned for each day.  For future students, just do your best to stay on schedule and make sure you check the answer keys and graded FRQs so you understand any questions you miss!  Good luck, future math people! :D


posted by Megan Marriott on May 09 2012 at 16:55:26

The course really prepared me for the AP exam.  I've heard that many other courses finish learning the actual  material the same week of the AP test, so they have to cram in studying while finishing the course.  With this course, we finished learning the material in early April and had over a month to simply review and study for the exam.  It's been helpful to ask other students questions online, and I believe they answered all of my questions.  Sometimes though, it would have been beneficial to have a deeper explanation of a concept, and it's kind of hard to do that over email.  However, that was not a handicap - I would definitely recommend this course if you are willing to work hard to understand concepts and if math is generally your strong point.


AP Calculus AB Review posted by Jordan Wright on May 09 2012 at 16:27:06

This class is the hardest high school course I have taken yet.  In the fall and the beginning of the spring semesters, I usually spent 2-3 hours on homework daily.  While this is a lot of time, it did very well prepare me for the AP Calculus test, which I took today.  I woud recommend to a student considering this course to take either pre-calculus or calculus course before taking this class.  I had not taken any calculus before this class, and it wasn't easy to keep up with the courseload, especially in the fall.  I definitely would recommend this course, as it does fully prepare students for the AP Exam, provided they are up for the work. 


Calculus AB was intense but awesome :) posted by Hannah Rears on May 09 2012 at 15:59:55

Less than an hour ago, I finished the AP Calculus AB exam. I can honestly say, I don't think I could have been any more prepared. This course was probably the hardest course I took this year, but it definitely paid off. It took a lot of commitment though. The first two months were the hardest for me--I probably logged about 3 hours alone everyday on calculus. On days before tests, I probably spent a good hour or two more than I usually did. At first, I felt frustrated, and I questioned whether I would ever be able to make sense of things like integration and differentiation and all of the different theorems. Mrs. Gilleran was really understanding and helpful throughout the whole process. I can remember there was one topic I was having a lot of trouble visualizing (related rates) and I emailed her asking for some extra explanations/problems. Instead of just giving me one simple response, she included a whole packet of practice problems, with a step by step process of how to solve them. Having those extra problems and explanations brought me from slightly understanding the problems to actually feeling comfortable solving the problems. 

There wasn't very much interaction with the other students, but I went in to this class knowing that there probably wouldn't be that much interaction. The morning messages that Mrs. Gilleran posted were always really helpful in clarifying particularly confusing topics, but at the same time they made calculus seem fun (I know, calculus fun? Really though, it is pretty cool...). I think that a love for problem-solving is pretty essential for anyone considering taking calculus. It requires a lot of thinking outside the box. If you are willing to put in the effort and are prepared to tackle some difficult (but pretty awesome) concepts, then I recommend this course all the way. 


AP Calculus BC posted by Ethan Johnson on May 13 2011 at 19:22:57

This course was a lot of work, but it was enjoyable and thorough. I thought the homework assignments (particularly the practice tests) were sometimes a tad excessive since I usually understood the material well right out of the textbook; but that said, it doesn't leave any stone unturned for someone who could potentially need more practice to fully absorb the material. I spent approximately four hours per day on this course. I felt I was extremely well-prepared for the exam and though I haven't received my score yet, in comparison to other AP courses that I've taken, I'm somewhat confident that I'll get a 5.

I found Mrs. Gilleran not only an effective instructor but also caring and supportive. She was excellent at responding to emails and answering invididual questions.  I would definitely give Mrs. Gilleran's course and instruction an A+ and would not hesitate to recommend it to any student who is committed to challenging themselves with this advanced work.

There needs to be improvement on the PA Homeschoolers side with regard to the transcript they provide. It does not have any kind of grade interpretation scale, listing only a vague, ambiguous letter grade. Given that students need these transcripts to be interpreted by colleges and scholarship organizations in juxtaposition with those produced by their own homeschools, the PA Homeschoolers transcript comes off as confusing, unprofessional, and meaningless. An A in one school can mean something totally different than an A in another school. The transcript either needs to have a clear grade scale listed on it, or be expressed entirely in numerical percentages (out of a standard 100%) that leave no ambiguity.

PA Homeschoolers could also improve in the area of communications. In communications regarding transcript needs, I found Mr. Richman to be particularly cranky and unhelpful. He seemed put out by my request to use a percentage grade instead of an unscaled letter grade. Even though Mrs. Gilleran had submitted a percentage grade to him per his instructions to me, he then apparently changed his mind and began personally attacking my motive for this request. Working with him was an experience I would not care to repeat.


Take this class! Seriously. posted by Calvin Gross on May 11 2011 at 15:30:36

First off, I HIGHLY recommend this class. Mrs. Gilleran is a fantastic teacher, and she knows how to make the material interesting. I felt very well prepared for the AP Exam: We’d done so much exam preparation that it seemed easy. Of the 55 or so multiple-choice questions, I only had to guess on one. For the last 4 weeks or so of class, we only did exam preparation: Each day, we did either a multiple-choice section or a set of free-response questions, and by the time the exam rolled around, it seemed routine.

 During the year, I generally spent 1-3 or so hours per day on my work. This came out to about 10 or so hours per week. My time spent each day varied, but the schedule was relatively predictable. A normal day’s work usually consisted of reading and taking notes on a section of the textbook and performing problem sets. Mrs. Gilleran posted comments each morning, which essentially were our morning lectures. In them, she would explain the day’s material, go over a few problems, and add in a couple of jokes about infinity and sums. Each day’s comments always ended with a comic poking fun at math in general, and they always made smile. Of all the assignments, I particularly enjoyed having to write story problems. It definitely made me appreciate how hard writing a textbook must be! I took Calculus AB with Mrs. Gilleran last year (which was superb too), and I really enjoyed learning new material this year. I probably won’t be a math major in college, but I’ll certainly take more math courses; Mrs. Gilleran has helped revive my interest in it.

 There wasn’t a great deal of required interaction between students except for responding to each other’s story problems, which were quite entertaining. There was, however, a good amount of interaction with Mrs. Gilleran. She was always available for questions, and I asked a lot of them. Her responses were, without fail, prompt and easy to understand. She is the best math teacher I’ve ever had, and I’ve had some good ones. Even though this is an online class, she still finds effective ways to communicate.. Last year, I took Calculus AB, and I recommend taking it before BC. The first semester of BC covers the material from AB, and this made my fall semester much easier: I was able to spend less time studying and more time on my college applications and other classes. Overall, I definitely recommend this class to any student who’s willing to work hard. I know I’ll miss waking up every day to Mrs. Gilleran’s humor and encouragement.  


AP Calculus BC posted by Brad Strylowski on May 06 2011 at 20:46:43


Class Review posted by Nicholas Ward on May 06 2011 at 16:14:53

I enjoyed taking AP Calculus from Pennsylvania Homeschoolers. The pace was good, and the assignments helpful. When the time came to take the exam, I felt confident and prepared. I also felt I had a good understanding of the concepts behind Calculus.


AP Calculus AB posted by Evelina Sweitzer on May 05 2011 at 20:36:44

This year I took AP Calc AB with Mrs. Gilleran, and I'd recommend the course! I took my exam yesterday and felt  well-prepared for it. I put in about two hours of work per day, or 11 a week. We took tons of actual practice exams, which made me very comfortable taking the actual test  (as opposed to the class that prepares for the material only, not the format). The class didn't inter-communicate very much, but I was fine with that, because I had several other classes to keep up with. Mrs. Gilleran's daily comments and lectures were very thorough, and her explanations and examples helped me understand the material. I had never had a class where the grade was based mainly on test scores, without factoring in the daily homework. It was a stretch at first, because I don't test as well as I would like, but I got through, and I think I did well on the exam!  I would recommend the class to someone interested in learning the ins and outs of Calc AB, who is willing to stay on top of the work every day (I got behind a bit mid-winter, but Mrs. Gilleran was very gracious), and who can hold themselves accountable to do the homework even though it's not graded. I'm glad I took this course! I think it prepared me for not only the exam, but also for college courses in the future. Thanks, Mrs. Gilleran!


Excellent Teacher, Challenging Course posted by Gwendolyn Cardiff on May 05 2011 at 16:36:52

Mrs. Gilleran is enthusiastic and really cares about her students. Mrs. Gilleran is organized, and was willing to go above and beyond for me. I sometimes had schedule conflicts and she was flexible in letting me get the work done around other commitments. Her daily Comments were encouraging and ended with an amusing, nerdy math comic. I would definitely recommend her, because she is an excellent teacher.

AP Calc is not for the faint of heart. AP Calc AB with Mrs. Gilleran is the hardest class I have ever taken, but it taught me what I need to know for the AP exam and for what lies beyond. The first semester I spent 2-4 hours a day on it. The second semester was easier, but we took many practice tests that are key in getting a good score. The AP test does not just test Calculus, it looks for an understanding of the concepts. Mrs. Gilleran can help you reach that deeper understanding.


Calculus BC posted by Hannah on May 05 2011 at 11:48:59

This course definitely prepared me for the AP exam.  Back in March, when we finished covering all the material, I felt so unprepared.  I probably would have gotten a 2 on the exam if I took it then.  But that's why Mrs. Gilleran let us spend OVER A MONTH just reviewing, taking practice tests, going over hard topics, and preparing for the exam.  I have never felt so prepared for a test in my life.  Though I don't know my score yet, I am confident that Mrs. Gilleran helped me so that I could be as prepared as possible.

 

I averaged 2 and a half hours of time spent doing calculus each day throughout the year.  This would change if there was a test coming up, but usually it took me between 2 and 3 hours.  Towards the end, when I was taking lots of practice tests and reviewing for the final, I spent more like 3-4 hours every day.  This is not an easy class.  It requires a lot of time.  But it's worth it if you want to take the BC Calc exam 'cause Mrs. Gilleran really prepares you for it.

 

I have never LOVED math, though to some extent I have enjoyed doing some problems.  Mrs. Gilleran cultivated that love, and I was actually excited about taking the exam!  I felt that I was prepared and ready, and wanted to solve those impossible problems.

 

I definitely would recommend this class.  You need to be ready to work hard, put a lot of time in, and not give up when you've spent the last hour trying to figure out a problem.  This isn't an easy class, but I definitely feel like I learned a lot and was extremely prepared for the exam. 


AP Calculus AB posted by Andrew Min on May 05 2011 at 02:21:38

I came into this class kicking and screaming. My parents basically made me take the class; I promised them that I would fail. Pre-calculus was tough for me, and calculus was supposed to be even tougher. Plus, I hated math.

Now, looking back, I'm very grateful that my parents made me take it. I won't lie and say that calculus was easy; it wasn't. I won't lie and say that I love calculus now; let's just say that I certainly don't intend to be a math major next fall. On the other hand, Mrs. Gilleran's AP Calc AB calss was challenging, rewarding, and incredibly useful in preparing for the AP exam.

Like I noted before, I did end up needing a lot of help. I ended up using a tutor about six or seven times, mainly during the first semester. I'm not a math person, and Riemann sums just didn't come naturally to me. I spent at least an hour a day on calculus; during the first semester (when we were learning the foundatgional concepts), usually more. But Mrs. Gilleran proved to be a wonderful resource; she always answered any of my questions very simply and easily. Going into the final exam, I was as confident as I could reasonably be - far more so than I would have expected at the beginning of the year.

Mrs. Gilleran is also very flexible. I'm a senior who visted a lot of colleges, I do NCFCA debate, and I went with a touring choir in the spring; between the three, I traveled about nine weeks during the school year. Mrs. Gilleran always worked with me to plan my schedule around college visits to Nashua and debate tournaments in western Pennsylvania. Obviously, she won't let you get behind, but she's very flexible if you're willing to plan ahead.

The one change you might notice from other AP courses is that Calculus, unlike many of the other courses I've taken through PA Homeschoolers, isn't very interactive with the other students. I didn't really get a chance to meet my fellow students or to interact with them. I think this is more of a shortcoming of calculus than of Mrs. Gilleran's class, though; math is much more individualistic than most social science classes (and really, who wants to discuss integrals of f(x) on the interval [0,6]?). It certainly shouldn't deter you from taking this class.

So, if you're considering taking AP Calculus, what should you be prepared to do? You should be prepared to work hard, especially if (like me) you're not a math type. First semester was painful at times, but once you learn the basic material, it gets much easier. If you're willing to put the effort in, the work pays off.

~Andrew Min


Great Class posted by Stefan Zimmerman on May 04 2011 at 20:30:36

This class was very helpful to me when it came to preparing for the AP exam. I learned more in three months than I did in my actual high school class. The teacher was so helpful even though we never actually saw each other. I was able to work at my own pas and still get all the work done. I would strongly recommend this class to anyone looking to get a five on the AP test.


Mrs. Gillerans AP Calculus BC course posted by on May 04 2011 at 18:47:01

This course did a great job of preparing me for the AP exam; whatever my AP exam grade is (hopefully it's a five) is more a product of my time and effort in the course than the course itself. In other words, if you apply yourself throughout, you will be completely prepared for the exam--it will be easy even. As I've found all online (and even not) courses to be, it is what you put into it. Mrs. Gilleran does a great job with telling everyone what to expect, what they need to know, and need to be able to do, and hints and tips. Her daily comments show a fabulous understanding of the topics she teaches, and she always adds an inspirational quote and great comics. When questions arise, she is always available to help, and very good about quickly responding and returning work. The course took about 1-3 hrs/day 5 days per week, without distractions. Needless to say, it is a LOT of work, and not an easy course, but what BC Calc course is (that prepares you well for the exam)?


Calculus BC with Ms. Gilleran posted by Ellen on May 04 2011 at 17:46:43

I didn't actually end up taking the exam because by the time May rolled around, I knew where I was going to college and I knew I Calculus BC credit wouldn't transfer. I would say I probably put in 5-10 hours of class work a week. I came from 11 years of public schooling where I spent all day in school and then spent all evening on homework so my online classes definitely seemed more efficient. The first semester was easier for me because I took Calculus AB last year. The assignments are almost completely textbook questions (it's hard to do anything else when you're taking/teaching an online class). However, Mrs. Gilleran did include videos and other websites when relavant. I absolutely love calculus so I often enjoyed the textbook assignments. I would definitely reccommend this class. In addition, I took AP Music Theory from PA Homeschoolers (I'll call it PAH to save time from here on forward) but I also took AP Psychology and AP English Language from the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth Distance Education program (CTY). My PAH classes were VASTLY superior. My PAH teachers communicated with me on a daily or weekly basis and I often felt like I was one of their top priorities. Meanwhile, at CTY I often would go MONTHS without hearing from my teachers, which was incredibly frustrating because the CTY classes cost twice as much as the PAH classes. I would definitely recommend this class because Mrs. Gilleran is really personable and definitely manages to spruce up a sometimes dry subject, and I would reccomend PAH in general because I think it's a top-notch educational organization!


AP Calculus AB with Mrs. Gilleran: an excellent introduction to a complicated subject posted by Thomas Nath on May 04 2011 at 17:37:35

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

Absolutely.  I just took the exam this morning and despite knowing nothing about integrals, derivatives, curve sketching, and separable equations eight months ago, I feel confident that I learned the material well and did well on the AP exam.  Throughout the course, there are many, many, many practice exams and mini-tests that familiarize you with the exam format, which is very helpful.

How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?

I would usually spend about 30-45 minutes a day learning the new material (reading the textbook and Daily Comments, taking notes, watching any related videos Mrs. Gilleran had posted, etc.) and then an additional 45 minutes doing the homework or assignments.  This varied greatly; on test weeks I would spend an additional hour a day (or so) studying, and before the exam I also spent extra time.  It's not overwhelming, but the student does have to be prepared to put time and effort into the work; this is not a course one can just waltz through.

Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable?

I found that Mrs. Gilleran's daily comments were the most helpful/valuable part of the course--the course doesn't deviate much from reading the textbook and completing the assignments, but the daily comments are always incredibly detailed and interesting to read.   

Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

Definitely.  I've never been much of a math person before but this course really interested me in calculus and gave me greater perspective on the math classes I've taken in the past.

Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?

There isn't much student-to-student interaction--however, I would recommend to any prospective students that they use the discussion board as much as possible, as it is helpful when students use it.

What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard!)?

I would recommend this course to students who have a very firm grip on trigonometry: the unit circle, trig functions, graphs of trig functions, etc., and those who are willing to work hard.  Calculus is a difficult subject, and the first month or so required me putting in extra hours to really grasp the mindset of the material.  It's an incredibly rewarding class with a great teacher and well worth the time you put in. 


Calculus BC posted by Andrew Patterson on May 04 2011 at 16:21:29

I would definitely recommend this class to anyone who is willing to take the time to learn a very useful skill. Math is not my best subject, but Mrs. Gilleran's class prepared me well for the AP Calculus BC test. At the beginning of the year, I went from knowing nothing about derivatives, integrals, and limits, to being able to solve any derivative problem, large differential equations, improper integrals, and many other interesting, useful tools. This class is not for the casual mathemetician, as it is the equivalent of a year's worth of college calculus, but it is very rewarding for those who want to gain a powerful tool that can be used in many fields, from business to science to engineering. While I was taking the class, I studied for slightly less than two hours a day. I would encourage anyone who did well in trigonometry and who is motivated to learn calculus to take this course, because, though it is very hard, the rewards last far beyond the grade you receive on the AP Test. Thank you Mrs. Gilleran!


Mrs. Gilleran's Calc BC: fun and valuable, but not easy! posted by Jonny Woodbury on May 14 2010 at 14:54:33

First of all, I'd like to say that I loved this class, and that it was probably one of my favorite of the year; however, this class is not for everyone. The pace is pretty fast (though not extreme) and it requires a very firm grip on precalculus (I guess that would sort of be Algebra-2-and-Trigonometry-type material) coming into the class. This said, if you are a hard enough worker, you obviously don't need to be perfect in every regard (mathematically) before entering the class--just don't expect it to be easy!

One of my favorite parts of the class is the daily comments posted by Mrs. Gilleran, which are always fun to read and immensely helpful (and they have a comic strip at the end!). The assignments are also daily (with a few exceptions), which turns out to be a very nice situation (and maybe not as regimented as it might sound).

One downside of the course was that there was not much student interaction (partly my fault), but a big part of this was technological, so it may not be like this in future years.

Aside from that, this class was a blast: I felt like I came out of it with a very strong grasp on all of the topics covered, as well as very prepared for the AP test. So, in one sentence, this class is fun and you'll learn a lot, providing that you work hard!


AP Calculus AB (Great Class!) posted by Nathan Huynh on May 10 2010 at 21:48:51

This is a great class! 

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

Of course! I felt very confident!

How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?

I put in 2-3 hours a day

Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable?

I wouldn't say I had a favorite assignment, but all of them were extremely helpful. Also Mrs. Gilleran has these really awesome comics at the end of her messages every day. These are a blast.

Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

Yes.

Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?

These really isn't that much communication.

What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard!)?

I would definitely recommend this course to other students. Those students must be dedicated and willing to work hard. If they do. they will definitely do well on the exam.


Calc BC revieww posted by Tiffany Yen on May 08 2010 at 23:54:32

1.) Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

-I think course did a lot to prepare me for the exam. Of course it is expected that the student has to put in his or her own effort in reviewing. I think that a not so ideal grade (hopefully I do get a 5) on the actual exam reflects my slacking off and not Mrs. Gilleran's teaching.

2.) How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?

Around one and a half to two and a half hours per day (sometimes more, and sometimes less although near the end I had to spend more time).

3.) Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable?

-Something I found very helpful was how we had to create our own problems for other students to solve. Then we had to actually solve the other students' problems. Getting frustrated over how to create a problem that actually works really drills the material into your head...

4.) Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

-I've always been more of a math person, so I can't say that this course has made me more interested in math. But it still amazes me when I see a problem that works. I know this sounds weird, but if you think about it, the universe is governed by all these laws that humans did not start out knowing. Just the fact that someone came up with Calculus (and physics for that matter) that every time, is amazing.

5.) Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?

-For the most part, we did not have many discussions (of course math isn't something that starts and keeps discussions going unless one is a total math geek). We had a discussion board and sometimes it was very helpful to read the questions and answers that the other students asked and came up with.

-What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard!)?

Yes! Take it! If you're going to seek a degree that has a Calculus requirement, then you're going to have to take a calc class anyways. And there's no better person to take it from than Mrs. Gilleran.


AP Calculus BC Course posted by Lynne Pťrez-Blanco on May 07 2010 at 15:37:41

This course definitely prepared me for the AP exam. Mrs. Gilleran did a great job keeping us on track with the material, especially considering that it is all online. I think the course really improved my math skills quite a bit. By the end of the year, I started to make more connections; I felt like my vision was getting clearer, I was having an easier time choosing the right path to take in order to solve a problem. I think it came from the thorough practice we got every day, and Mrs Gilleran always had a lot of insight to share with us. She is very optimistic and encouraging, which showed in her daily comments.

Depending on the topic being studied, I spent from 10 to 15 hours a week. Before chapter tests, the midterm and the final I would spend a little extra time studying and reviewing. I still had enough time to focus on my other subjects and activities, and to study for and take the AP French exam.

A few times, Mrs. Gilleran had us make up our own problems. It was harder than you might think to make everything work out, but at the same time it was very instructional. It was like cutting a problem open and getting to see what was inside.

I’d recommend this course to students who want to improve their math abilities and learn calculus. You have to apply yourself on a daily basis but by the end of the year you’ll feel ready to take on the AP exam.


Take this class. No really, take it! posted by Calvin Gross on May 07 2010 at 14:42:54

Well you're probably wondering whether or not to take Mrs. Gilleran's Calculus class. And here's my response: TAKE IT. I was so incredibly well-prepared for the AP Calculus AB Test, and this wasn't just from the end of year review we did for the test. The entire course prepared me, so there was little left to study when it came time for review. In general, I spent between 1 and 2 hours per day on my work, for an average of 5-10 hours per week. Occasionally I spent 30 minutes and a few times I spent 3-4 hours on my work in one day. Atypical day's work consisted of reading Mrs. Gilleran's morning comments, reading and taking notes on a chapter in the textbook, and doing 10-30 problems. Several times, Mrs. Gilleran would have us write our own problems, and we would all solve each other's problems, and these were my favorite assignments. After taking Precalculus, I was somewhat bored with math; I started to find it boring. Then I started this class. Two weeks later it was my favorite subject. The only minus for me in this class is that there was very little interaction between students within the class. So take this class if you want to have fun and are willing to work hard. Do your problem sets, keep up with the work, study for the tests, and you'll be incredibly well prepared for the AP Test. 


Great AP Calculus BC Class posted by Mary Brewbaker on May 07 2010 at 11:57:56

I would highly recommend this course for anyone who is interested in taking AP Calculus BC. Mrs. Gilleran is very clear and goes over every subject on the AP Exam. I was completely prepared to take the AP exam. I spent an average of 10 hours a week on the class, but I had taken AP Calculus AB from Mrs. Gilleran the year before and it would have taken me much longer had I not had the prior math. Mrs. Gilleran gives the student a lot of experience with practice AP Tests, which I think is one of the most valuable aspects of this particular course. She also obviously enjoys teaching and calculus itself, so her Comments are very interesting and motivating to read. I didn't really communicate with other students unless it was assigned. A student who is willing to work hard and has a gift for math should definitely take this course. I would highly recommend this to other students.


Excellent preparation for APs. posted by David Wright on May 06 2010 at 10:42:33

This course was really solid preparation for the AP Calculus test. This means that it is also a large amount of work. I spend between 45 minutes and an hour and a half in tests and homework every day.   I would highly recommend this course to anyone looking to take the AP Calculus test.  It will be difficult, but did you think it would be easy?  


Mrs. Gilleran's Exceptional AP Calculus BC Course posted by Philip Bonneville on May 06 2010 at 08:03:43

This excellent course will completely prepare you for the AP exam and probably enhance your interest in mathematics as well.  Mrs. Gilleran genuinely coached the class throughout the year despite the limitations of an online course.  Her daily comments − in which she discussed applicable subject material, reviewed practice problems, included “tidbits” of extra information, and displayed comics − contributed to the academic, yet personal and lively, attributes of the course.

 

During the majority of the year, Mrs. Gilleran assigned reading in a Larson Eighth Edition calculus text.  (I do not know whether she will use the same version next year.)  The information contained within the textbook was, for the most part, very clear and thorough.  Furthermore, when a section was even slightly lacking (or simply difficult), Mrs. Gilleran elaborated on it.  She also assigned approximately ten to twenty relatively simple review problems most days, for which she provided straightforward solutions.

 

For the last six weeks, having mastered the material related to the AP Calculus BC exam, the class studied a book containing several complete practice tests.  Mrs. Gilleran assigned reasonable amounts of work, typically spread one practice test over three or four days.

 

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

 

Definitely!  Mrs. Gilleran thoroughly covered all the topics on the exam.  Further, she assigned a total of six, complete practice tests, in addition to numerous free response questions throughout the year.  I finished the actual exam with complete confidence.  I cannot imagine a course which could prepare students better.

 

How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?

 

I typically spent 7-10 hours a week on this course.  For me, the days varied extensively, with reading days as short as one hour and testing days as long as two and a half hours.  I spent about the same amount of time each day during the review period as during the earlier portions of the year.  I am sure that the time required for this course varies based upon processing speed, experience, and other factors.  Thus, it may take you more or less time to complete assignments and study for tests.

 

Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable?

 

I particularly liked the activities Mrs. Gilleran assigned where students developed problems for others to solve.  They allowed the class to study and understand mathematical concepts more deeply in an enjoyable way.  I also enjoyed studying some of the purely Calculus BC topics, such as integration by parts and series.  These areas enhanced my interest – and therefore aptitude – in the calculus.  With the variety of subject areas covered, nearly every student could find something enjoyable.

 

Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

 

The unique topics – as well as Mrs. Gilleran’s successful methods of introducing them – augmented my mathematical interests.  In fact, this course played a role in my decision to plan on majoring in mathematics.

 

Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?

 

For the most part, there was little interaction between the students this year, largely because mathematics does not typically trigger debates and other self-perpetuating forms of communication.  However, the interactions that did exist (such as the one I mentioned earlier, relating to students developing problems) were valuable.

 

What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard!)?

 

I would recommend this course only to students who have some interest in mathematics and have completed a strong pre-calculus program or to students who have an extensive interest in mathematics and are willing to work hard to fill any gaps in the pre-calculus training.  (I am an example of the latter category: I received a low grade on the summer assignment Mrs. Gilleran assigned − due to my poor pre-calculus curriculum − yet excelled throughout the rest of the course through her excellent instruction and selection of resources coupled with my desire to improve.)  Besides that condition, I would definitely recommend this course to any prospective student.  Mrs. Gilleran’s teaching, explanations, coaching, and humor are exceptional!


AP Calculus AB with Mrs. Gilleran. :] posted by Payton on May 05 2010 at 24:54:32

I have to admit that in the beginning I was slacking and had a C in the class. I would recommend doing at the MINIMUM! 6 hours a week for the first semister. Once you start getting into Second semister(closer to the AP Exam) you need 3 hours a day. I did 4 Mon-Fri, and almost every other Sat. Calculus is a difficult subject, so you do need a good base/knowledge of math before you take the course. Mrs. Gilleran was a great teacher and goes over the material that is on the AP Exam. After we went through the AP Calc book we went to a practice test book that I have really enjoyed. It helps with studying a lot! Mrs. Gilleran really knows what to give you when you are preparing for the Exam. It is not too easy, but not too difficult. You have to be ready to work and be focused when taking this class. I enjoy math and was not looking forward to taking Calc, but now love the subject and all the ways you can view graphs and their limits and everything else so unique about math. :] Hope I helped in answering some questions.


AP Calculus BC posted by Christina Zhang on May 05 2010 at 22:16:14

The course definitely prepared me for the AP exam, because of the review books that we used in class, as well as the practice FRQs that were incorporated into each chapter. 

I spent, on average, about 1 hour a day. Some days would take longer, and some days would take less time. Because I only took this class for the second semester of the year, I can say that it didn't take any longer than it would in a public school. I actually got more out of the time I spent studying calculus online because I could work at my own pace and focus more on the areas that I didn't understand as well. 

I definitely found that communicating with other students was valuable. It allowed everyone to work through difficult problems together and gave the course a bit of a classroom feel. I wasn't afraid to ask questions because I knew that there would be many people willing to help. Additionally, Mrs. Gilleran did a great job of communicating with students through her comments for every day. She made the class feel a lot more personal; I felt less like I was reading a screen and more like she was actually talking to me.

This course was my first online learning/homeschooling experience and I really enjoyed it. I liked the flexibility and I liked working mostly independently with the opportunity to communicate with other students. I'm the type of person who likes working alone, but also likes working with other people. When I took calculus last semester at a public school, I often had review sessions with friends. However, this course was easy to adjust to, and I still was able to review with friends via Skype.

Mrs. Gilleran did a wonderful job, and I think that everyone who takes this course will enjoy it.  


Course not for the faint at heart posted by on May 05 2010 at 19:58:21

AP Calculus is a very challenging course and I would recommend it to students who are prepared to work hard all year.  Most importantly you MUST have a very strong math background to take this course.  Make sure you have a strong understanding of key concepts taught in your previous courses.  I am fairly slow at math but regardless you need to be prepared to spend about 2 hours a day on this course...depending on how fast you are. 

Mrs. Gilleran was very good at responding to questions via email and her comments really helped me understand the material because to me the textbook didn't do a very good job a lot of the time.  Online math courses are tough, I think it is a challenge to have it taught this way but the course did a good job in spite of that issue. 


Great Class posted by Will Duncan on May 05 2010 at 17:05:10

I really enjoyed this class. Calculus is hard, there's no way around it, but this class has made it a lot easier and even fun. Mrs. Gilleran is great.


Best Calculus BC Course You Will Ever Take!!!!!!! posted by Nathaniel Pawelczyk on May 05 2010 at 15:35:49

It prepared me totally!  There were no subjects Mrs. Gilleran skipped at all--we went into each subject in-depth.
About 2 hours per day on average.
Definitley the Lederman BC Exam review book.  Those were extremely helpful in preparing me for the exam.  I knew exactly how to pace myself and what to expect.
The problems that we made up in the beginning of the year were actually pretty fun.
Definitely.  This course has opened up a whole new interesting world of mathematics to me.
Yes, I became friends with a few students and other students were always available to post their responses to any of your questions.
I would 1000000% recommend this course!!! You learn a ton about calculus and this course, I think, will greatly prepare you for college.  Of course, you have to work hard, but, when you finish the AP Exam, it is completely worth it!


AP Calculus BC posted by Elizabeth Ten-Hove on May 05 2010 at 15:33:28

I've had a wonderful year taking calculus with Mrs. Gilleran. I felt very well-prepared for the exam, with plenty of practice and individual feedback. Mrs. Gilleran was always ready to answer questions, provide pointers, and go through problems in her daily comments. The year-end review was probably the most rigorous I've had for an AP course.

I spent one to two hours a day on the material, with a few long days and a few very short ones. My favorite assignments for the year were at those two extremes. I spent almost half a day designing an optimization word problem. On Friday of last week, the Friday before the exam, our assignment for the day was to visualize success.

This course definitely enhanced my interest in the subject. I'm not naturally math or science oriented (I'm planning on majoring in classics next year), but Mrs. Gilleran's clear explanations, helpful comments, and sense of humor made calculus a pleasure.

I believe any student willing to put in a good effort would do well and enjoy this course. I would encourage both those who love math and those who aren't so sure to try it--all will emerge with a greater appreciation for the subject.


A challenging course with a great instructor posted by Daniel Wingert on May 05 2010 at 14:28:33

--I definitely felt prepared for the AP exam.  Mrs. Gilleran is a fantastic teacher, and she does do a great job of covering all the subjects that are tested.  In addition to the regular course work, Mrs. Gilleran did a great job of assisting and directing the year-end review process, which is a very important part of the preparation.

--I generally spent between 7 and 12 hours per week on this course.  The workload can vary from day to day.  Some days I may have spent three hours on class assignments, but the next day, only 40 minutes.  Mrs. Gilleran does a great job of balancing the tougher days with lighter ones so that you don't get too burnt out.

--Mrs. Gilleran's daily comments, where she breaks down the most important concepts, are always very helpful, positive, and inspiring.  In terms of real graded assignments, I feel like the many, many practice FRQs were helpful because they helped me figure out exactly what kind of questions would be on the test and how quickly I needed to work to succeed.

--This course does not require very much communication with other students.  While there is a forum for discussing assignments and asking questions for your classmates to answer, there is not a lot of required communication, which I found to be a time saver, as I wasn't being distracted by a chat forum.  If you are the kind of person that needs classmate interaction in all of your classes, though, this class may not satisfy your social urges like some other PA Homeschoolers classes do.

--Obviously, to do well in this class, a student needs to be hard-working and self-motivated.  Because of the challenging nature of the subject matter, I would only recommend the BC class to someone who is "math-oriented."  Other than those prerequisites, I would recommend this Calc BC class to anyone who is interested!  Mrs. Gilleran is a wonderful instructor who is great at encouraging her students.  She is obviously concerned with helping her students' math skills develop, but she is also interested in helping her students develop personal character.


AP Calculus BC with mrs. Gilleran posted by Noemi Hormann on May 05 2010 at 14:25:43

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

Yes, it certainly did. The class itself is completely geared toward the AP exam with frequent practice for both major parts of the exam. We covered a lot of material, but Mrs. Gilleran gave us a lot of material and explanations to help us through the entire process.

How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?

I generally put in an average of 1 - 2 hours a day, but I regret not spending longer on my homework

Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable?

Out of all the different types of assignments, the most valuable/helpful ones for me both as a student, and on the AP exam were the practice free response questions.

Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

Unfortunately, not really. I feel neither particularly negative or positive about the subject. This course did, however, give me a greater appreciation for the subject (different from interest) and an understanding of why someone else might love it.

Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?

Again, I regret not doing more of that. There were opportunities to communicate with other students, but I did not avail myself of them as I ought. I would suspect, though, that if I had paid more attention, they would have been very helpful.

I would certainly recommend this course. Mrs. Gilleran has found an effective and thorough way to teach math through the internet.


Review Of Mrs. Gillerans AP Calc Class posted by Andrew Johnson on May 05 2010 at 13:03:41

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

   Yes, I felt very well prepared

How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?

    About 10-15hrs

Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable?

  I enjoyed reading the daily comments.

Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

  Yes, I see that calulus can be applied to so many real world problems . 

Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?

   There was not that much communication with other students

What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard!)?

  People with  good fundamental math skills will do well in this class, and I would recomend it to other students.

 

I have to say I really enjoyed this class, and would recomend it to other homeschoolers. It challenged me and opened up a wealth of new knowldge. While you never meet the teacher she manages to come through the computer with her daily comment section which was inciteful and provided a laugh everyday. Mad Props to Mrs. G.

 


Susan Gilleran Calc BC Review posted by Nathan Chai on May 05 2010 at 12:58:51

- This course definitely prepared me for the AP exam. There's definitely a lot of work you are going to be doing though, but it will prepare you for the test that much more. Usually, I put in around 1 to 2 hours per day into the course. That changes a bit depending on how hard or easy the material is at the time, though.

- I think that this course is great because you get to see some really practical applications of mathematics. With a lot of the things that you learn, it's easy to see how they apply to the real world (Except maybe infinite series :p).

- Mrs. Gilleran's daily morning messages are great! She really takes the time to communicate with the students, and her comments are always very thorough.

- Obviously, a hard-working student would do best in this course, but I think that's the case for just about any class you take. This is my personal opinion, but I would say it's easier than say AP Chem, but harder than say the Government classes. I would definitely recommend this course to anyone who is looking to take AP Calc BC. If you put in the time and effort, you will most definitely be prepared for the test.


Good Class posted by Zachary Miller on May 05 2010 at 12:58:39

The course prepared me very well for the AP exam. Although I haven't received my grade yet, I am confident that I did well. I put in about 5 hrs/week for this class in a normal week. I can't think of any assignments that really stand out or helped me more than others. Prior to the class I was already interested in math and this class did increase my interest in it even more. I would highly recomend this class.


Great course! posted by Hannah Che on May 28 2012 at 03:03:57

This course definitely prepared me for the AP Calculus BC exam.  All the topics found on the exam were thoroughly covered in the course material, and the loads of sample tests, AP prep book assignments, review sheets, etc. that Mrs. Gilleran assigned really prepared me well for the questions on the actual exam.
This course is one of the heaviest I've taken-- assignments are assigned daily, and I generally put in around 1.5-2 hrs each day reading the Daily Comments, studying the assigned textbook reading, and completing problems.  
I think the videos that Mrs. Gilleran assigned us to watch were incredibly helpful, especially for particuarly confusing topics (sequences and series, anyone?).  The countless Free-Response tests we did throughout the year were also very useful for solidifying review and familiarity with the actual AP exam.
I think this course really allowed me to see the immense amount of material found in mathematics, and the truly countless applications of just two basic concepts (differentiation and integration).  I wasn't a math person from the beginning, so this course didn't really affect my future college plans, but it was definitely an interesting and eye-opening experience.
The class was not very interactive (how interactive can you get with math?), but we did have a discussion board, where people would frequently post questions about specific problems, which was quite helpful.
The class moves at an incredibly fast pace, so it is very easy to fall behind.  As I said earlier, I'm not a math person at all, and I entered the course directly from pre-calc, but I still managed to complete the class (somewhat) succesfully. This course could be potentially difficult for people who prefer interactive, lecture-type learning to just reading testbooks/doing problems...I know several people that had to find math tutors halfway through the year, and I myself had to use quite a lot of help from my engineering-professor dad. But all in all, it's a great course with a terrific teacher, and I would highly recommend it to any student who is motivated and hard-working.


A great course! posted by Michael Thompson on May 25 2012 at 03:39:41

I absolutely loved this course. Although calculus is challenging, it makes a lot of sense. The assignments have a lot of real life applications which are so much fun. The class moves at a very fast pace, which is really nice because it gives you a lot of time in March and April to study for the exam. I think the most useful assignments were all the practice FRQs in April. The best part about these FRQs is that Mrs. Gilleran would go over them in her comments the next day; this allowed us to know exactly what to do for any type of FRQ. This class definitely enhanced my interest in math, and I would recommend it to everyone who enjoys math. 


posted by Benjamin Noble on May 16 2012 at 21:11:02

I really liked Mrs. Gilleran's style of teaching; she always felt open and available if you needed any help.  The one thing I didn't like, and this is inherent with the set-up of this kind of class, was the lack of face-to-face interaction.  I personally feel like I perform better in an actual classroom, but despite that drawback, I enjoyed the class.  She also made math more fun.


AP Calculus BC Cource posted by Jasmine on May 16 2012 at 01:37:23

This was simply an excellent course for learning Calculus BC. It was very well organized and utilized every opportunity to prepare students for the AP exam. I probably put in at least 2 hours of work a day learning the material, but that is to be expected for an online AP class (allowing at least one hour to learn and another to do the assignments). I found the numerous practice tests we did extremely helpful in preparation for the test. I feel like by the end I really knew my stuff, from AB to BC. The communications between the other students was a great tool where you could ask anyone any questions you had and they would be answered usually the same day. Math has always been my favorite subject and I think that you should really be either into higher math or one of those people that likes taking advanced classes to do well in this course. Overall, I really applaud Mrs. Gilleran for organizing the course so well and all the work she put into it, and I think anyone who enters the course will feel very rewarded by the end.


Mrs. Gilleran's Calculus BC posted by Nathan Thomas on May 11 2012 at 22:05:00

Mrs. Gilleran's class is not for the fain of heart...it certainly required time and committment--like 6 to 8 hours of work a week at the minimum.

That being said, the course was both extremely interesting and helpful. I felt very prepared for the AP exam due to the reviews she gave. In addition, I felt as if I learned the material very well.

I would very much recommend it. Overall, A+


AP Calculus BC for the win! posted by Zac Barnett on May 11 2012 at 17:15:05

First off, looking back over the year, I am very glad that I took this course.  Mrs. Gilleran does an excellent job teaching and organizing the assignments.  If you apply yourself and do all of the assignments, this course will be fun to complete everyday, provided that you like math.

I feel pretty confident about the AP exam.  Over this course, we did such a huge amount of Free Response and Multiple Choice Practice Tests that when I did the actual AP exam, it was if I had seen almost every problem in some shape or form already through the practice tests.  The Be Prepared for the AP Calculus Exam book that we studied is extremely useful for studying for the exam. 

A normal day in this course: Read Mrs. G's comments (5-15 minutes), read section in textbook (up to 30 minutes), do the assignment (up to 2 hours).

Per day, it took me approximately 2 hours to complete, but you can expect 3 or more hours in the days leading up to the AP exam.

During the year, there were a few times where we had to write our own Calculus word problem and solution.  I found this helpful because it helped make concepts that we had been learning more concrete.
This course focused more on student-teacher communication.  While there was a online group for the students to talk about the course, the majority of the communication was talking to Mrs. Gilleran through email. 
I would recommend this course to any student who likes math.  That being said, this course is fast paced and it is easy to get lost if you don't complete the assignents daily.
It's very important to keep trying until you understand the concept in this course, but the reward of understanding a tough Calculus concept is definitely worth the struggle. Mrs. Gilleran is a great Calculus teacher!

 


AP Calculus AB posted by Kathryn Fodale on May 11 2012 at 17:09:52

This course definitely prepared me for the AP exam. When I first started calc, I felt totally over-whelmed, but by the end I felt as ready as I could be to take the test. This was definitely my most challenging course ever. Before taking this class, all math was pretty easy for me, but I had a really hard time understanding calculus. The group email was certainly helpful, but I actually needed to get a tutor. I found that I really wasn't a person that could learn calculus through just reading the text or reading other's words, but I needed to be with someone talking it through, drawing it out. If you are a person who understands through reading, you will do excelently in this course. I am not, so I needed a bit of help. You also need to be very motivated to do a little bit of calculus everyday. Calculus isn't something you understand in the first (or even second) reading. You need to read it, say it, do problems over and over again. Like any AP, you need to be commited to the course and commited to working hard. 


Have no fear for Mrs. Gilleran is here! posted by Hannah Huynh on May 11 2012 at 14:23:01

Mrs. Gilleran's Calculus BC class is the best math class I have taken so far.  She adequately prepares you for the AP exam and yet you never feel rushed in the class.  There is daily homework so you will have to be willing to spend a little time on math every day.  But, the daily homework only serves to help you better prepare for the AP exam!  Mrs. Gilleran is super helpful whenever you ask her anything and she often posts explanations to problems that most students in the class have trouble on.

This course definitely affirmed my love for math :)

There was not as much student to student interection as there was teacher to student interaction.  But the interaction with Mrs. Gilleran was great.  Any student who is willing to spend around 20-30 mintues a day on math will do well in this class.  Mrs. Gilleran structures the class so that we get plenty of breaks and yet nearly a month of reviewing before the AP exam.  This is an excellent class!!!

Most people shy away from BC because they think it is too hard, but don't be scared.  If you are good in math, take this class!  As I said many times before, Mrs. Gilleran gets you adequately prepared for the exam!


Great Course! posted by Jeremiah Keenan on May 11 2012 at 04:33:39

Definitely!  By the time I got to the test, I had done so many FRQ’s that I almost thought I had seen one of the test questions before.  Especially in the last month, Mrs. Gilleran seriously preps us to the exam.

I generally put about 10 hours of work per week into the course.

Yes.  Calculus is a great deal more fun than Pre-calculus or Algebra.  I got especially carried away with the foundations of calculus (limits and derivatives) and wrote up pages of desultory explanations about them.  I sent off my ideas to Mrs. Gilleran who showed me how I could present my ideas in a fashion more suitable for a mathematical paper, pointed out where and how I had made a mistake in my logic, and helped me understand the epsilon delta definition of a limit (even though none of these things were required for the AP exam!). 

Somewhat.  However, my communication with Mrs. Gilleran and the TA’s was much more important.

I would definitely recommend this course to other students.  There’s no getting around the fact that Calculus is hard, but if you read the material Mrs. Gilleran provides, do the homework she assigns, and send her a question when you hit a snag, you’re pretty much guaranteed an interesting exploration of Calculus and a good score on the AP exam.

 


Review of AP Calculus AB posted by Gabriel Malarskey on May 10 2012 at 20:58:17

I really enjoyed this class. I feel that it prepared me very well for the AP test. Even though I didn’t end up taking the test, I feel that I would have done well if I had taken it. Mrs. Gilleran provided plenty of practice tests and question sets for review, and I felt comfortable not only with the material, but also with the way I needed to present it in my answers. I typically spent two and a half hours or more every weekday on the class, and sometimes an hour or more each day of the weekend, as well. There weren’t any specific assignments that I enjoyed more than others; I enjoyed pretty much everything. The course didn’t really make me more interested in calculus, because I was already interested, and I know that I want to go into physics, which requires it. I didn’t end up communicating with other students as much as in other AP classes, because I really didn’t find it all that necessary. Most of the time, the teacher was more helpful in answering questions than my fellow students were. A student who is strong in math, or at least likes math, would do best in this course. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who doesn’t like math, because it needs all the effort you can put into it. 


AP Calculus AB Review posted by Kealani Jensen on May 10 2012 at 20:38:48

This course is really hard if you are not motivated to do the work, if you don't have enough time in your schedule, and if you don't learn well without a teacher explaining a concept on the board in front of you. The actual book has really good practice problems and I can't even count how many practice exams I did. So I feel that if I put much more time into it, the product would be much more triumphant than it was. If you are considering this class make sure you have enough time in your schedule because you should really be prepared to do calculus for about two hours every day during the week plus extra studying on the weekend. So if you meet the traits I listed above, then take the class! Just be aware that it is a huge time commitment and you can't slack off!


AP Calculus BC with Mrs. Gilleran posted by Caleb Wilson on May 10 2012 at 19:26:35

First of all, this class will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. But, as Mrs. Gilleran would say, to earn that reward you're going to have do some serious venturing (aka hard work). The homework is definitely very heavy. Completely understanding the concepts of the textbook and THEN doing up to 50 or so exercises a day can be very exhausting. But, at the end of it, if you really work at the class, you'll look back and know its worth it like I do now. 

The homework, on average, usually takes around an hour and a half to two hours a day. On the heavier days (maybe a few times a month) sometimes up to three hours. But the course is time heavy for a reason--it's also resource heavy. Any concept at all can be completely explained, dissected, and broken down by the study group discussion board, Mrs. Gilleran in the comments, the 5 min video lectures she assigns, or the endless websites and resources she puts at your disposal. Basically, if you're willing to work at it, there is no concept you'll be tearing your hair out about. 

If you consistently work at understanding, completing, and studying the assignments, you will absolutely be completely and totally calculus-literate, more than ready to take on the AP Exam come May. But it wasn't all about the exam. Mrs. Gilleran's daily "Comments" were consistently more than just helpful, but also meaningful. She helped me understand why math is more than just algebra and derivatives. It's a living, breathing science. It was something put together, not be my heartless machines or robots who want us to spend our days indoors doing exercises, but by men like Isaac Newton, Liebniz, and more. She helped me to understand that calculus isn't just a skill necessary for the workforce, but also an astounding, fascinating, brilliant achievement of mankind. And it sure feels that way once you're through with it. I now feel confident, proud, and strangely more interesting moving forward with my high school career. And I have Mrs. Gilleran and her class to thank for it.

Finally, the one thing I think could be improved was the interactivity of the course. Although there are endless resources, they were almost entirely textbook/web based. And for some learners, that can be a very difficult format. Having a more intimate atmosphere or a way to learn math beyond graphs and sentences (which definitely do not explain math well) would have been the one thing to make this course a 10/10 experience. But all withstanding, for a web-based course, Mrs. Gilleran does the absolute best she can with the format provided. All is wonderfully organized on the class website. And questions, comments, tricky problems and more are all given clean, easy places to be taken care of. 

I highly reccomend Mrs. Gilleran's Calculus course for the proficiency in math, the rigorous preparation for the AP Exam, and the excellency of the advice, teaching, and insights into math and, sometimes, even how to live more effectively. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did :)


What a great course! posted by Matthew Nyhus on May 10 2012 at 11:40:34

This course was really well done.  I've done a couple of online courses and many of them have had really bad organisation, whether it be a bad web layout, confusing calendar or hard-to-find content.  However, this course's material was really easy to find, the calendar was well organised and the web layout was excellent.  It was really clear what I had to do each day and Mrs. Gilleran's comments (or lesson) were easily accessible.

More importantly, though, the course itself was really well done.  It wasn't easy, (there is a lot of content to get through), but Mrs. Gilleran assigned enough homework so that I could master each topic without the homework being onerous.  The lessons were also well done, and I never felt like I couldn't learn anything.  Some of the content was very difficult, but between the lesson, the textbook and the discussion board (where we could as other students and our TAs for help), I always felt like there were plenty of resources available to help me if I had trouble. 

Finally, the actual AP prep was excellent.  Of the three AP courses that I'm taking this year, this course prepped me the most for the AP exam, and consequently I felt most ready for this exam.  When it came time to write the actual AP exam, I felt really confident, and that's mostly due to the course.  I think that feeling ready for the exam and confident that you can get a 5 is probably the most important part of any course, so this course was excellent.

Overall, a fabulous course.


:) posted by Kaitlyn Hahn on May 09 2012 at 21:33:41

Students who are extremely disciplined should take this course. It was a little hard for me to keep up in the homework especially because we didn't have to turn it in. This led to me falling behind and not really feeling super confident the day I took the AP test.  This was pretty much my own fault, but if I had had to send in more required homework to Mrs. Gilleran, that would've helped me keep up.


Mrs Gilleran's AP Calculus AB class posted by Emily Morrison on May 09 2012 at 18:11:25

This class has prepared me very well for the Calc AB exam.  I personally found that all the practice tests and assorted tidbits that we did during the second half of the school year was more interesting and fun than the first half of the year, which was more tightly textbook-oriented.  After all those practice tests, the actual exam seemed easier than I was expecting.  What a pleasant surprise!  I generally put in between fifty and ninety minutes per day for this course.  The workload is very weel apportioned for each day.  For future students, just do your best to stay on schedule and make sure you check the answer keys and graded FRQs so you understand any questions you miss!  Good luck, future math people! :D


posted by Megan Marriott on May 09 2012 at 16:55:26

The course really prepared me for the AP exam.  I've heard that many other courses finish learning the actual  material the same week of the AP test, so they have to cram in studying while finishing the course.  With this course, we finished learning the material in early April and had over a month to simply review and study for the exam.  It's been helpful to ask other students questions online, and I believe they answered all of my questions.  Sometimes though, it would have been beneficial to have a deeper explanation of a concept, and it's kind of hard to do that over email.  However, that was not a handicap - I would definitely recommend this course if you are willing to work hard to understand concepts and if math is generally your strong point.


AP Calculus AB Review posted by Jordan Wright on May 09 2012 at 16:27:06

This class is the hardest high school course I have taken yet.  In the fall and the beginning of the spring semesters, I usually spent 2-3 hours on homework daily.  While this is a lot of time, it did very well prepare me for the AP Calculus test, which I took today.  I woud recommend to a student considering this course to take either pre-calculus or calculus course before taking this class.  I had not taken any calculus before this class, and it wasn't easy to keep up with the courseload, especially in the fall.  I definitely would recommend this course, as it does fully prepare students for the AP Exam, provided they are up for the work. 


Calculus AB was intense but awesome :) posted by Hannah Rears on May 09 2012 at 15:59:55

Less than an hour ago, I finished the AP Calculus AB exam. I can honestly say, I don't think I could have been any more prepared. This course was probably the hardest course I took this year, but it definitely paid off. It took a lot of commitment though. The first two months were the hardest for me--I probably logged about 3 hours alone everyday on calculus. On days before tests, I probably spent a good hour or two more than I usually did. At first, I felt frustrated, and I questioned whether I would ever be able to make sense of things like integration and differentiation and all of the different theorems. Mrs. Gilleran was really understanding and helpful throughout the whole process. I can remember there was one topic I was having a lot of trouble visualizing (related rates) and I emailed her asking for some extra explanations/problems. Instead of just giving me one simple response, she included a whole packet of practice problems, with a step by step process of how to solve them. Having those extra problems and explanations brought me from slightly understanding the problems to actually feeling comfortable solving the problems. 

There wasn't very much interaction with the other students, but I went in to this class knowing that there probably wouldn't be that much interaction. The morning messages that Mrs. Gilleran posted were always really helpful in clarifying particularly confusing topics, but at the same time they made calculus seem fun (I know, calculus fun? Really though, it is pretty cool...). I think that a love for problem-solving is pretty essential for anyone considering taking calculus. It requires a lot of thinking outside the box. If you are willing to put in the effort and are prepared to tackle some difficult (but pretty awesome) concepts, then I recommend this course all the way. 


AP Calculus BC posted by Ethan Johnson on May 13 2011 at 19:22:57

This course was a lot of work, but it was enjoyable and thorough. I thought the homework assignments (particularly the practice tests) were sometimes a tad excessive since I usually understood the material well right out of the textbook; but that said, it doesn't leave any stone unturned for someone who could potentially need more practice to fully absorb the material. I spent approximately four hours per day on this course. I felt I was extremely well-prepared for the exam and though I haven't received my score yet, in comparison to other AP courses that I've taken, I'm somewhat confident that I'll get a 5.

I found Mrs. Gilleran not only an effective instructor but also caring and supportive. She was excellent at responding to emails and answering invididual questions.  I would definitely give Mrs. Gilleran's course and instruction an A+ and would not hesitate to recommend it to any student who is committed to challenging themselves with this advanced work.

There needs to be improvement on the PA Homeschoolers side with regard to the transcript they provide. It does not have any kind of grade interpretation scale, listing only a vague, ambiguous letter grade. Given that students need these transcripts to be interpreted by colleges and scholarship organizations in juxtaposition with those produced by their own homeschools, the PA Homeschoolers transcript comes off as confusing, unprofessional, and meaningless. An A in one school can mean something totally different than an A in another school. The transcript either needs to have a clear grade scale listed on it, or be expressed entirely in numerical percentages (out of a standard 100%) that leave no ambiguity.

PA Homeschoolers could also improve in the area of communications. In communications regarding transcript needs, I found Mr. Richman to be particularly cranky and unhelpful. He seemed put out by my request to use a percentage grade instead of an unscaled letter grade. Even though Mrs. Gilleran had submitted a percentage grade to him per his instructions to me, he then apparently changed his mind and began personally attacking my motive for this request. Working with him was an experience I would not care to repeat.


Take this class! Seriously. posted by Calvin Gross on May 11 2011 at 15:30:36

First off, I HIGHLY recommend this class. Mrs. Gilleran is a fantastic teacher, and she knows how to make the material interesting. I felt very well prepared for the AP Exam: We’d done so much exam preparation that it seemed easy. Of the 55 or so multiple-choice questions, I only had to guess on one. For the last 4 weeks or so of class, we only did exam preparation: Each day, we did either a multiple-choice section or a set of free-response questions, and by the time the exam rolled around, it seemed routine.

 During the year, I generally spent 1-3 or so hours per day on my work. This came out to about 10 or so hours per week. My time spent each day varied, but the schedule was relatively predictable. A normal day’s work usually consisted of reading and taking notes on a section of the textbook and performing problem sets. Mrs. Gilleran posted comments each morning, which essentially were our morning lectures. In them, she would explain the day’s material, go over a few problems, and add in a couple of jokes about infinity and sums. Each day’s comments always ended with a comic poking fun at math in general, and they always made smile. Of all the assignments, I particularly enjoyed having to write story problems. It definitely made me appreciate how hard writing a textbook must be! I took Calculus AB with Mrs. Gilleran last year (which was superb too), and I really enjoyed learning new material this year. I probably won’t be a math major in college, but I’ll certainly take more math courses; Mrs. Gilleran has helped revive my interest in it.

 There wasn’t a great deal of required interaction between students except for responding to each other’s story problems, which were quite entertaining. There was, however, a good amount of interaction with Mrs. Gilleran. She was always available for questions, and I asked a lot of them. Her responses were, without fail, prompt and easy to understand. She is the best math teacher I’ve ever had, and I’ve had some good ones. Even though this is an online class, she still finds effective ways to communicate.. Last year, I took Calculus AB, and I recommend taking it before BC. The first semester of BC covers the material from AB, and this made my fall semester much easier: I was able to spend less time studying and more time on my college applications and other classes. Overall, I definitely recommend this class to any student who’s willing to work hard. I know I’ll miss waking up every day to Mrs. Gilleran’s humor and encouragement.  


AP Calculus BC posted by Brad Strylowski on May 06 2011 at 20:46:43


Class Review posted by Nicholas Ward on May 06 2011 at 16:14:53

I enjoyed taking AP Calculus from Pennsylvania Homeschoolers. The pace was good, and the assignments helpful. When the time came to take the exam, I felt confident and prepared. I also felt I had a good understanding of the concepts behind Calculus.


AP Calculus AB posted by Evelina Sweitzer on May 05 2011 at 20:36:44

This year I took AP Calc AB with Mrs. Gilleran, and I'd recommend the course! I took my exam yesterday and felt  well-prepared for it. I put in about two hours of work per day, or 11 a week. We took tons of actual practice exams, which made me very comfortable taking the actual test  (as opposed to the class that prepares for the material only, not the format). The class didn't inter-communicate very much, but I was fine with that, because I had several other classes to keep up with. Mrs. Gilleran's daily comments and lectures were very thorough, and her explanations and examples helped me understand the material. I had never had a class where the grade was based mainly on test scores, without factoring in the daily homework. It was a stretch at first, because I don't test as well as I would like, but I got through, and I think I did well on the exam!  I would recommend the class to someone interested in learning the ins and outs of Calc AB, who is willing to stay on top of the work every day (I got behind a bit mid-winter, but Mrs. Gilleran was very gracious), and who can hold themselves accountable to do the homework even though it's not graded. I'm glad I took this course! I think it prepared me for not only the exam, but also for college courses in the future. Thanks, Mrs. Gilleran!


Excellent Teacher, Challenging Course posted by Gwendolyn Cardiff on May 05 2011 at 16:36:52

Mrs. Gilleran is enthusiastic and really cares about her students. Mrs. Gilleran is organized, and was willing to go above and beyond for me. I sometimes had schedule conflicts and she was flexible in letting me get the work done around other commitments. Her daily Comments were encouraging and ended with an amusing, nerdy math comic. I would definitely recommend her, because she is an excellent teacher.

AP Calc is not for the faint of heart. AP Calc AB with Mrs. Gilleran is the hardest class I have ever taken, but it taught me what I need to know for the AP exam and for what lies beyond. The first semester I spent 2-4 hours a day on it. The second semester was easier, but we took many practice tests that are key in getting a good score. The AP test does not just test Calculus, it looks for an understanding of the concepts. Mrs. Gilleran can help you reach that deeper understanding.


Calculus BC posted by Hannah on May 05 2011 at 11:48:59

This course definitely prepared me for the AP exam.  Back in March, when we finished covering all the material, I felt so unprepared.  I probably would have gotten a 2 on the exam if I took it then.  But that's why Mrs. Gilleran let us spend OVER A MONTH just reviewing, taking practice tests, going over hard topics, and preparing for the exam.  I have never felt so prepared for a test in my life.  Though I don't know my score yet, I am confident that Mrs. Gilleran helped me so that I could be as prepared as possible.

 

I averaged 2 and a half hours of time spent doing calculus each day throughout the year.  This would change if there was a test coming up, but usually it took me between 2 and 3 hours.  Towards the end, when I was taking lots of practice tests and reviewing for the final, I spent more like 3-4 hours every day.  This is not an easy class.  It requires a lot of time.  But it's worth it if you want to take the BC Calc exam 'cause Mrs. Gilleran really prepares you for it.

 

I have never LOVED math, though to some extent I have enjoyed doing some problems.  Mrs. Gilleran cultivated that love, and I was actually excited about taking the exam!  I felt that I was prepared and ready, and wanted to solve those impossible problems.

 

I definitely would recommend this class.  You need to be ready to work hard, put a lot of time in, and not give up when you've spent the last hour trying to figure out a problem.  This isn't an easy class, but I definitely feel like I learned a lot and was extremely prepared for the exam. 


AP Calculus AB posted by Andrew Min on May 05 2011 at 02:21:38

I came into this class kicking and screaming. My parents basically made me take the class; I promised them that I would fail. Pre-calculus was tough for me, and calculus was supposed to be even tougher. Plus, I hated math.

Now, looking back, I'm very grateful that my parents made me take it. I won't lie and say that calculus was easy; it wasn't. I won't lie and say that I love calculus now; let's just say that I certainly don't intend to be a math major next fall. On the other hand, Mrs. Gilleran's AP Calc AB calss was challenging, rewarding, and incredibly useful in preparing for the AP exam.

Like I noted before, I did end up needing a lot of help. I ended up using a tutor about six or seven times, mainly during the first semester. I'm not a math person, and Riemann sums just didn't come naturally to me. I spent at least an hour a day on calculus; during the first semester (when we were learning the foundatgional concepts), usually more. But Mrs. Gilleran proved to be a wonderful resource; she always answered any of my questions very simply and easily. Going into the final exam, I was as confident as I could reasonably be - far more so than I would have expected at the beginning of the year.

Mrs. Gilleran is also very flexible. I'm a senior who visted a lot of colleges, I do NCFCA debate, and I went with a touring choir in the spring; between the three, I traveled about nine weeks during the school year. Mrs. Gilleran always worked with me to plan my schedule around college visits to Nashua and debate tournaments in western Pennsylvania. Obviously, she won't let you get behind, but she's very flexible if you're willing to plan ahead.

The one change you might notice from other AP courses is that Calculus, unlike many of the other courses I've taken through PA Homeschoolers, isn't very interactive with the other students. I didn't really get a chance to meet my fellow students or to interact with them. I think this is more of a shortcoming of calculus than of Mrs. Gilleran's class, though; math is much more individualistic than most social science classes (and really, who wants to discuss integrals of f(x) on the interval [0,6]?). It certainly shouldn't deter you from taking this class.

So, if you're considering taking AP Calculus, what should you be prepared to do? You should be prepared to work hard, especially if (like me) you're not a math type. First semester was painful at times, but once you learn the basic material, it gets much easier. If you're willing to put the effort in, the work pays off.

~Andrew Min


Great Class posted by Stefan Zimmerman on May 04 2011 at 20:30:36

This class was very helpful to me when it came to preparing for the AP exam. I learned more in three months than I did in my actual high school class. The teacher was so helpful even though we never actually saw each other. I was able to work at my own pas and still get all the work done. I would strongly recommend this class to anyone looking to get a five on the AP test.


Mrs. Gillerans AP Calculus BC course posted by on May 04 2011 at 18:47:01

This course did a great job of preparing me for the AP exam; whatever my AP exam grade is (hopefully it's a five) is more a product of my time and effort in the course than the course itself. In other words, if you apply yourself throughout, you will be completely prepared for the exam--it will be easy even. As I've found all online (and even not) courses to be, it is what you put into it. Mrs. Gilleran does a great job with telling everyone what to expect, what they need to know, and need to be able to do, and hints and tips. Her daily comments show a fabulous understanding of the topics she teaches, and she always adds an inspirational quote and great comics. When questions arise, she is always available to help, and very good about quickly responding and returning work. The course took about 1-3 hrs/day 5 days per week, without distractions. Needless to say, it is a LOT of work, and not an easy course, but what BC Calc course is (that prepares you well for the exam)?


Calculus BC with Ms. Gilleran posted by Ellen on May 04 2011 at 17:46:43

I didn't actually end up taking the exam because by the time May rolled around, I knew where I was going to college and I knew I Calculus BC credit wouldn't transfer. I would say I probably put in 5-10 hours of class work a week. I came from 11 years of public schooling where I spent all day in school and then spent all evening on homework so my online classes definitely seemed more efficient. The first semester was easier for me because I took Calculus AB last year. The assignments are almost completely textbook questions (it's hard to do anything else when you're taking/teaching an online class). However, Mrs. Gilleran did include videos and other websites when relavant. I absolutely love calculus so I often enjoyed the textbook assignments. I would definitely reccommend this class. In addition, I took AP Music Theory from PA Homeschoolers (I'll call it PAH to save time from here on forward) but I also took AP Psychology and AP English Language from the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth Distance Education program (CTY). My PAH classes were VASTLY superior. My PAH teachers communicated with me on a daily or weekly basis and I often felt like I was one of their top priorities. Meanwhile, at CTY I often would go MONTHS without hearing from my teachers, which was incredibly frustrating because the CTY classes cost twice as much as the PAH classes. I would definitely recommend this class because Mrs. Gilleran is really personable and definitely manages to spruce up a sometimes dry subject, and I would reccomend PAH in general because I think it's a top-notch educational organization!


AP Calculus AB with Mrs. Gilleran: an excellent introduction to a complicated subject posted by Thomas Nath on May 04 2011 at 17:37:35

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

Absolutely.  I just took the exam this morning and despite knowing nothing about integrals, derivatives, curve sketching, and separable equations eight months ago, I feel confident that I learned the material well and did well on the AP exam.  Throughout the course, there are many, many, many practice exams and mini-tests that familiarize you with the exam format, which is very helpful.

How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?

I would usually spend about 30-45 minutes a day learning the new material (reading the textbook and Daily Comments, taking notes, watching any related videos Mrs. Gilleran had posted, etc.) and then an additional 45 minutes doing the homework or assignments.  This varied greatly; on test weeks I would spend an additional hour a day (or so) studying, and before the exam I also spent extra time.  It's not overwhelming, but the student does have to be prepared to put time and effort into the work; this is not a course one can just waltz through.

Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable?

I found that Mrs. Gilleran's daily comments were the most helpful/valuable part of the course--the course doesn't deviate much from reading the textbook and completing the assignments, but the daily comments are always incredibly detailed and interesting to read.   

Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

Definitely.  I've never been much of a math person before but this course really interested me in calculus and gave me greater perspective on the math classes I've taken in the past.

Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?

There isn't much student-to-student interaction--however, I would recommend to any prospective students that they use the discussion board as much as possible, as it is helpful when students use it.

What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard!)?

I would recommend this course to students who have a very firm grip on trigonometry: the unit circle, trig functions, graphs of trig functions, etc., and those who are willing to work hard.  Calculus is a difficult subject, and the first month or so required me putting in extra hours to really grasp the mindset of the material.  It's an incredibly rewarding class with a great teacher and well worth the time you put in. 


Calculus BC posted by Andrew Patterson on May 04 2011 at 16:21:29

I would definitely recommend this class to anyone who is willing to take the time to learn a very useful skill. Math is not my best subject, but Mrs. Gilleran's class prepared me well for the AP Calculus BC test. At the beginning of the year, I went from knowing nothing about derivatives, integrals, and limits, to being able to solve any derivative problem, large differential equations, improper integrals, and many other interesting, useful tools. This class is not for the casual mathemetician, as it is the equivalent of a year's worth of college calculus, but it is very rewarding for those who want to gain a powerful tool that can be used in many fields, from business to science to engineering. While I was taking the class, I studied for slightly less than two hours a day. I would encourage anyone who did well in trigonometry and who is motivated to learn calculus to take this course, because, though it is very hard, the rewards last far beyond the grade you receive on the AP Test. Thank you Mrs. Gilleran!


Mrs. Gilleran's Calc BC: fun and valuable, but not easy! posted by Jonny Woodbury on May 14 2010 at 14:54:33

First of all, I'd like to say that I loved this class, and that it was probably one of my favorite of the year; however, this class is not for everyone. The pace is pretty fast (though not extreme) and it requires a very firm grip on precalculus (I guess that would sort of be Algebra-2-and-Trigonometry-type material) coming into the class. This said, if you are a hard enough worker, you obviously don't need to be perfect in every regard (mathematically) before entering the class--just don't expect it to be easy!

One of my favorite parts of the class is the daily comments posted by Mrs. Gilleran, which are always fun to read and immensely helpful (and they have a comic strip at the end!). The assignments are also daily (with a few exceptions), which turns out to be a very nice situation (and maybe not as regimented as it might sound).

One downside of the course was that there was not much student interaction (partly my fault), but a big part of this was technological, so it may not be like this in future years.

Aside from that, this class was a blast: I felt like I came out of it with a very strong grasp on all of the topics covered, as well as very prepared for the AP test. So, in one sentence, this class is fun and you'll learn a lot, providing that you work hard!


AP Calculus AB (Great Class!) posted by Nathan Huynh on May 10 2010 at 21:48:51

This is a great class! 

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

Of course! I felt very confident!

How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?

I put in 2-3 hours a day

Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable?

I wouldn't say I had a favorite assignment, but all of them were extremely helpful. Also Mrs. Gilleran has these really awesome comics at the end of her messages every day. These are a blast.

Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

Yes.

Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?

These really isn't that much communication.

What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard!)?

I would definitely recommend this course to other students. Those students must be dedicated and willing to work hard. If they do. they will definitely do well on the exam.


Calc BC revieww posted by Tiffany Yen on May 08 2010 at 23:54:32

1.) Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

-I think course did a lot to prepare me for the exam. Of course it is expected that the student has to put in his or her own effort in reviewing. I think that a not so ideal grade (hopefully I do get a 5) on the actual exam reflects my slacking off and not Mrs. Gilleran's teaching.

2.) How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?

Around one and a half to two and a half hours per day (sometimes more, and sometimes less although near the end I had to spend more time).

3.) Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable?

-Something I found very helpful was how we had to create our own problems for other students to solve. Then we had to actually solve the other students' problems. Getting frustrated over how to create a problem that actually works really drills the material into your head...

4.) Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

-I've always been more of a math person, so I can't say that this course has made me more interested in math. But it still amazes me when I see a problem that works. I know this sounds weird, but if you think about it, the universe is governed by all these laws that humans did not start out knowing. Just the fact that someone came up with Calculus (and physics for that matter) that every time, is amazing.

5.) Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?

-For the most part, we did not have many discussions (of course math isn't something that starts and keeps discussions going unless one is a total math geek). We had a discussion board and sometimes it was very helpful to read the questions and answers that the other students asked and came up with.

-What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard!)?

Yes! Take it! If you're going to seek a degree that has a Calculus requirement, then you're going to have to take a calc class anyways. And there's no better person to take it from than Mrs. Gilleran.


AP Calculus BC Course posted by Lynne Pťrez-Blanco on May 07 2010 at 15:37:41

This course definitely prepared me for the AP exam. Mrs. Gilleran did a great job keeping us on track with the material, especially considering that it is all online. I think the course really improved my math skills quite a bit. By the end of the year, I started to make more connections; I felt like my vision was getting clearer, I was having an easier time choosing the right path to take in order to solve a problem. I think it came from the thorough practice we got every day, and Mrs Gilleran always had a lot of insight to share with us. She is very optimistic and encouraging, which showed in her daily comments.

Depending on the topic being studied, I spent from 10 to 15 hours a week. Before chapter tests, the midterm and the final I would spend a little extra time studying and reviewing. I still had enough time to focus on my other subjects and activities, and to study for and take the AP French exam.

A few times, Mrs. Gilleran had us make up our own problems. It was harder than you might think to make everything work out, but at the same time it was very instructional. It was like cutting a problem open and getting to see what was inside.

I’d recommend this course to students who want to improve their math abilities and learn calculus. You have to apply yourself on a daily basis but by the end of the year you’ll feel ready to take on the AP exam.


Take this class. No really, take it! posted by Calvin Gross on May 07 2010 at 14:42:54

Well you're probably wondering whether or not to take Mrs. Gilleran's Calculus class. And here's my response: TAKE IT. I was so incredibly well-prepared for the AP Calculus AB Test, and this wasn't just from the end of year review we did for the test. The entire course prepared me, so there was little left to study when it came time for review. In general, I spent between 1 and 2 hours per day on my work, for an average of 5-10 hours per week. Occasionally I spent 30 minutes and a few times I spent 3-4 hours on my work in one day. Atypical day's work consisted of reading Mrs. Gilleran's morning comments, reading and taking notes on a chapter in the textbook, and doing 10-30 problems. Several times, Mrs. Gilleran would have us write our own problems, and we would all solve each other's problems, and these were my favorite assignments. After taking Precalculus, I was somewhat bored with math; I started to find it boring. Then I started this class. Two weeks later it was my favorite subject. The only minus for me in this class is that there was very little interaction between students within the class. So take this class if you want to have fun and are willing to work hard. Do your problem sets, keep up with the work, study for the tests, and you'll be incredibly well prepared for the AP Test. 


Great AP Calculus BC Class posted by Mary Brewbaker on May 07 2010 at 11:57:56

I would highly recommend this course for anyone who is interested in taking AP Calculus BC. Mrs. Gilleran is very clear and goes over every subject on the AP Exam. I was completely prepared to take the AP exam. I spent an average of 10 hours a week on the class, but I had taken AP Calculus AB from Mrs. Gilleran the year before and it would have taken me much longer had I not had the prior math. Mrs. Gilleran gives the student a lot of experience with practice AP Tests, which I think is one of the most valuable aspects of this particular course. She also obviously enjoys teaching and calculus itself, so her Comments are very interesting and motivating to read. I didn't really communicate with other students unless it was assigned. A student who is willing to work hard and has a gift for math should definitely take this course. I would highly recommend this to other students.


Excellent preparation for APs. posted by David Wright on May 06 2010 at 10:42:33

This course was really solid preparation for the AP Calculus test. This means that it is also a large amount of work. I spend between 45 minutes and an hour and a half in tests and homework every day.   I would highly recommend this course to anyone looking to take the AP Calculus test.  It will be difficult, but did you think it would be easy?  


Mrs. Gilleran's Exceptional AP Calculus BC Course posted by Philip Bonneville on May 06 2010 at 08:03:43

This excellent course will completely prepare you for the AP exam and probably enhance your interest in mathematics as well.  Mrs. Gilleran genuinely coached the class throughout the year despite the limitations of an online course.  Her daily comments − in which she discussed applicable subject material, reviewed practice problems, included “tidbits” of extra information, and displayed comics − contributed to the academic, yet personal and lively, attributes of the course.

 

During the majority of the year, Mrs. Gilleran assigned reading in a Larson Eighth Edition calculus text.  (I do not know whether she will use the same version next year.)  The information contained within the textbook was, for the most part, very clear and thorough.  Furthermore, when a section was even slightly lacking (or simply difficult), Mrs. Gilleran elaborated on it.  She also assigned approximately ten to twenty relatively simple review problems most days, for which she provided straightforward solutions.

 

For the last six weeks, having mastered the material related to the AP Calculus BC exam, the class studied a book containing several complete practice tests.  Mrs. Gilleran assigned reasonable amounts of work, typically spread one practice test over three or four days.

 

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

 

Definitely!  Mrs. Gilleran thoroughly covered all the topics on the exam.  Further, she assigned a total of six, complete practice tests, in addition to numerous free response questions throughout the year.  I finished the actual exam with complete confidence.  I cannot imagine a course which could prepare students better.

 

How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?

 

I typically spent 7-10 hours a week on this course.  For me, the days varied extensively, with reading days as short as one hour and testing days as long as two and a half hours.  I spent about the same amount of time each day during the review period as during the earlier portions of the year.  I am sure that the time required for this course varies based upon processing speed, experience, and other factors.  Thus, it may take you more or less time to complete assignments and study for tests.

 

Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable?

 

I particularly liked the activities Mrs. Gilleran assigned where students developed problems for others to solve.  They allowed the class to study and understand mathematical concepts more deeply in an enjoyable way.  I also enjoyed studying some of the purely Calculus BC topics, such as integration by parts and series.  These areas enhanced my interest – and therefore aptitude – in the calculus.  With the variety of subject areas covered, nearly every student could find something enjoyable.

 

Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

 

The unique topics – as well as Mrs. Gilleran’s successful methods of introducing them – augmented my mathematical interests.  In fact, this course played a role in my decision to plan on majoring in mathematics.

 

Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?

 

For the most part, there was little interaction between the students this year, largely because mathematics does not typically trigger debates and other self-perpetuating forms of communication.  However, the interactions that did exist (such as the one I mentioned earlier, relating to students developing problems) were valuable.

 

What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard!)?

 

I would recommend this course only to students who have some interest in mathematics and have completed a strong pre-calculus program or to students who have an extensive interest in mathematics and are willing to work hard to fill any gaps in the pre-calculus training.  (I am an example of the latter category: I received a low grade on the summer assignment Mrs. Gilleran assigned − due to my poor pre-calculus curriculum − yet excelled throughout the rest of the course through her excellent instruction and selection of resources coupled with my desire to improve.)  Besides that condition, I would definitely recommend this course to any prospective student.  Mrs. Gilleran’s teaching, explanations, coaching, and humor are exceptional!


AP Calculus AB with Mrs. Gilleran. :] posted by Payton on May 05 2010 at 24:54:32

I have to admit that in the beginning I was slacking and had a C in the class. I would recommend doing at the MINIMUM! 6 hours a week for the first semister. Once you start getting into Second semister(closer to the AP Exam) you need 3 hours a day. I did 4 Mon-Fri, and almost every other Sat. Calculus is a difficult subject, so you do need a good base/knowledge of math before you take the course. Mrs. Gilleran was a great teacher and goes over the material that is on the AP Exam. After we went through the AP Calc book we went to a practice test book that I have really enjoyed. It helps with studying a lot! Mrs. Gilleran really knows what to give you when you are preparing for the Exam. It is not too easy, but not too difficult. You have to be ready to work and be focused when taking this class. I enjoy math and was not looking forward to taking Calc, but now love the subject and all the ways you can view graphs and their limits and everything else so unique about math. :] Hope I helped in answering some questions.


AP Calculus BC posted by Christina Zhang on May 05 2010 at 22:16:14

The course definitely prepared me for the AP exam, because of the review books that we used in class, as well as the practice FRQs that were incorporated into each chapter. 

I spent, on average, about 1 hour a day. Some days would take longer, and some days would take less time. Because I only took this class for the second semester of the year, I can say that it didn't take any longer than it would in a public school. I actually got more out of the time I spent studying calculus online because I could work at my own pace and focus more on the areas that I didn't understand as well. 

I definitely found that communicating with other students was valuable. It allowed everyone to work through difficult problems together and gave the course a bit of a classroom feel. I wasn't afraid to ask questions because I knew that there would be many people willing to help. Additionally, Mrs. Gilleran did a great job of communicating with students through her comments for every day. She made the class feel a lot more personal; I felt less like I was reading a screen and more like she was actually talking to me.

This course was my first online learning/homeschooling experience and I really enjoyed it. I liked the flexibility and I liked working mostly independently with the opportunity to communicate with other students. I'm the type of person who likes working alone, but also likes working with other people. When I took calculus last semester at a public school, I often had review sessions with friends. However, this course was easy to adjust to, and I still was able to review with friends via Skype.

Mrs. Gilleran did a wonderful job, and I think that everyone who takes this course will enjoy it.  


Course not for the faint at heart posted by on May 05 2010 at 19:58:21

AP Calculus is a very challenging course and I would recommend it to students who are prepared to work hard all year.  Most importantly you MUST have a very strong math background to take this course.  Make sure you have a strong understanding of key concepts taught in your previous courses.  I am fairly slow at math but regardless you need to be prepared to spend about 2 hours a day on this course...depending on how fast you are. 

Mrs. Gilleran was very good at responding to questions via email and her comments really helped me understand the material because to me the textbook didn't do a very good job a lot of the time.  Online math courses are tough, I think it is a challenge to have it taught this way but the course did a good job in spite of that issue. 


Great Class posted by Will Duncan on May 05 2010 at 17:05:10

I really enjoyed this class. Calculus is hard, there's no way around it, but this class has made it a lot easier and even fun. Mrs. Gilleran is great.


Best Calculus BC Course You Will Ever Take!!!!!!! posted by Nathaniel Pawelczyk on May 05 2010 at 15:35:49

It prepared me totally!  There were no subjects Mrs. Gilleran skipped at all--we went into each subject in-depth.
About 2 hours per day on average.
Definitley the Lederman BC Exam review book.  Those were extremely helpful in preparing me for the exam.  I knew exactly how to pace myself and what to expect.
The problems that we made up in the beginning of the year were actually pretty fun.
Definitely.  This course has opened up a whole new interesting world of mathematics to me.
Yes, I became friends with a few students and other students were always available to post their responses to any of your questions.
I would 1000000% recommend this course!!! You learn a ton about calculus and this course, I think, will greatly prepare you for college.  Of course, you have to work hard, but, when you finish the AP Exam, it is completely worth it!


AP Calculus BC posted by Elizabeth Ten-Hove on May 05 2010 at 15:33:28

I've had a wonderful year taking calculus with Mrs. Gilleran. I felt very well-prepared for the exam, with plenty of practice and individual feedback. Mrs. Gilleran was always ready to answer questions, provide pointers, and go through problems in her daily comments. The year-end review was probably the most rigorous I've had for an AP course.

I spent one to two hours a day on the material, with a few long days and a few very short ones. My favorite assignments for the year were at those two extremes. I spent almost half a day designing an optimization word problem. On Friday of last week, the Friday before the exam, our assignment for the day was to visualize success.

This course definitely enhanced my interest in the subject. I'm not naturally math or science oriented (I'm planning on majoring in classics next year), but Mrs. Gilleran's clear explanations, helpful comments, and sense of humor made calculus a pleasure.

I believe any student willing to put in a good effort would do well and enjoy this course. I would encourage both those who love math and those who aren't so sure to try it--all will emerge with a greater appreciation for the subject.


A challenging course with a great instructor posted by Daniel Wingert on May 05 2010 at 14:28:33

--I definitely felt prepared for the AP exam.  Mrs. Gilleran is a fantastic teacher, and she does do a great job of covering all the subjects that are tested.  In addition to the regular course work, Mrs. Gilleran did a great job of assisting and directing the year-end review process, which is a very important part of the preparation.

--I generally spent between 7 and 12 hours per week on this course.  The workload can vary from day to day.  Some days I may have spent three hours on class assignments, but the next day, only 40 minutes.  Mrs. Gilleran does a great job of balancing the tougher days with lighter ones so that you don't get too burnt out.

--Mrs. Gilleran's daily comments, where she breaks down the most important concepts, are always very helpful, positive, and inspiring.  In terms of real graded assignments, I feel like the many, many practice FRQs were helpful because they helped me figure out exactly what kind of questions would be on the test and how quickly I needed to work to succeed.

--This course does not require very much communication with other students.  While there is a forum for discussing assignments and asking questions for your classmates to answer, there is not a lot of required communication, which I found to be a time saver, as I wasn't being distracted by a chat forum.  If you are the kind of person that needs classmate interaction in all of your classes, though, this class may not satisfy your social urges like some other PA Homeschoolers classes do.

--Obviously, to do well in this class, a student needs to be hard-working and self-motivated.  Because of the challenging nature of the subject matter, I would only recommend the BC class to someone who is "math-oriented."  Other than those prerequisites, I would recommend this Calc BC class to anyone who is interested!  Mrs. Gilleran is a wonderful instructor who is great at encouraging her students.  She is obviously concerned with helping her students' math skills develop, but she is also interested in helping her students develop personal character.


AP Calculus BC with mrs. Gilleran posted by Noemi Hormann on May 05 2010 at 14:25:43

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

Yes, it certainly did. The class itself is completely geared toward the AP exam with frequent practice for both major parts of the exam. We covered a lot of material, but Mrs. Gilleran gave us a lot of material and explanations to help us through the entire process.

How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?

I generally put in an average of 1 - 2 hours a day, but I regret not spending longer on my homework

Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable?

Out of all the different types of assignments, the most valuable/helpful ones for me both as a student, and on the AP exam were the practice free response questions.

Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

Unfortunately, not really. I feel neither particularly negative or positive about the subject. This course did, however, give me a greater appreciation for the subject (different from interest) and an understanding of why someone else might love it.

Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?

Again, I regret not doing more of that. There were opportunities to communicate with other students, but I did not avail myself of them as I ought. I would suspect, though, that if I had paid more attention, they would have been very helpful.

I would certainly recommend this course. Mrs. Gilleran has found an effective and thorough way to teach math through the internet.


Review Of Mrs. Gillerans AP Calc Class posted by Andrew Johnson on May 05 2010 at 13:03:41

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

   Yes, I felt very well prepared

How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?

    About 10-15hrs

Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable?

  I enjoyed reading the daily comments.

Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

  Yes, I see that calulus can be applied to so many real world problems . 

Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?

   There was not that much communication with other students

What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard!)?

  People with  good fundamental math skills will do well in this class, and I would recomend it to other students.

 

I have to say I really enjoyed this class, and would recomend it to other homeschoolers. It challenged me and opened up a wealth of new knowldge. While you never meet the teacher she manages to come through the computer with her daily comment section which was inciteful and provided a laugh everyday. Mad Props to Mrs. G.

 


Susan Gilleran Calc BC Review posted by Nathan Chai on May 05 2010 at 12:58:51

- This course definitely prepared me for the AP exam. There's definitely a lot of work you are going to be doing though, but it will prepare you for the test that much more. Usually, I put in around 1 to 2 hours per day into the course. That changes a bit depending on how hard or easy the material is at the time, though.

- I think that this course is great because you get to see some really practical applications of mathematics. With a lot of the things that you learn, it's easy to see how they apply to the real world (Except maybe infinite series :p).

- Mrs. Gilleran's daily morning messages are great! She really takes the time to communicate with the students, and her comments are always very thorough.

- Obviously, a hard-working student would do best in this course, but I think that's the case for just about any class you take. This is my personal opinion, but I would say it's easier than say AP Chem, but harder than say the Government classes. I would definitely recommend this course to anyone who is looking to take AP Calc BC. If you put in the time and effort, you will most definitely be prepared for the test.


Good Class posted by Zachary Miller on May 05 2010 at 12:58:39

The course prepared me very well for the AP exam. Although I haven't received my grade yet, I am confident that I did well. I put in about 5 hrs/week for this class in a normal week. I can't think of any assignments that really stand out or helped me more than others. Prior to the class I was already interested in math and this class did increase my interest in it even more. I would highly recomend this class.


An Excellent Class! posted by Elliot Taylor on May 27 2009 at 19:08:13

Calculus BC with Mrs. Gilleran is an excellent class. Prior to the class I had not taken Calculus AB and only had an introduction to Calculus. Despite that, I could still keep up with the work and do well in the course. The class won't be easy but it can definitely be taken as a first Calculus class. Just be prepared to spend plenty of time studying. Often in her daily comments Mrs. Gilleran will provide notes on the days lesson. These are extremely useful in helping me understand because the textbook is not always as student friendly as Mrs. Gilleran's notes are. Occasionally, Mrs. Gilleran also included videos of the subject to make understanding easier. Last, Mrs. Gilleran was always there to answer questions that I had. There was never a question I didn't get an answer back for. Even for small things like confirmations of a fact, I would get a response back from my teacher. I highly recommend this class. Whether it be your first Calculus class or not, it is very much worth the time and effort.


Class of the year posted by Mike Muir on May 18 2009 at 17:46:35

Susan Gilleran's calculus class was not only one of the best classes I had all year, but it was also one of my most favorite classes as well. Now I've always loved math, but this class was fun even for the students who didn't like math. Not to say it was easy, on the contrary, it was one of the hardest classes I had all year. Mrs. G pushed us hard, and for that I am very grateful. Being a good teacher is teaching with love and care as well as with a firm hand that aims for perfection, which are exactly the traits of Mrs G. I looked forward to her comments every morning and having a simple "Good morning Class" or a "Have a fabulous day" really made a difference in my mornings. Mrs G's constant positive attitude and firmness in teaching made my learning experience enjoyable and very productive.


posted by Mary Brewbaker on May 18 2009 at 15:11:18

I was really well prepared for the AP Calculus AB Exam by the end of the class. Mrs. Gilleran is an awesome teacher, but doing anything through the internet is more difficult than in person.


Great AP Calc course! posted by Samantha Bilko on May 16 2009 at 24:57:18

Mrs. Gilleran's AP Calculus course was both fun and interesting. I was learning math and enjoying it at the same time, something I never thought possible. =)

Generally, I put in 12 hours of work a week into this class, but it was well worth it. All the practice tests and problems really prepared me for the exam in May. Originally I thought this would be the hardest exam, but it turns out I am actually the most confident about this one! If you are willing to work hard and do all the assignments, Mrs. Gilleran's course is definitely for you.


Worth It! posted by Jack Stein on May 16 2009 at 20:01:45

The course I took with PA Homeschoolers was AP Calculus BC. It was very well put together and the course taught me what I needed to know. However, what set this course apart from others was the amazing teacher I had. Although the course was online, I felt that I got to know her through her comments and emails; she was an understanding and extremely helpful teacher. Had I taken Calc AB with her, I would have definitely chosen her for BC as well. I definitely recommend her for students looking for a tough, but interesting course.

The course was challenging; I put approximately 1-2 hours a day into the course, so I would learn the material well. The course is quite rigorous, but it prepared me well for the AP exam.


posted by Noemi Hormann on May 16 2009 at 17:45:35

How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?

I did one to two hours of work a day - much of this class is simply practice, practice, practice, as it should be. This practice, however, takes time.

Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable?

We did a great deal of practice free response problems. Free response problems are (for me, at least) much harder than multiple choice problems. Since we got so much practice, I learned how to think about the problems in the proper way. The most helpful part, however, is that afterwards Mrs. G would explain step by step what we had to do, and we also saw the answer sheets that told us how to grade our problems.

Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

Yes, certainly. I have always understood that there is a lot you can do with math, but this course showed me many more things than I knew existed in terms of practical applications of mathematics.

Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?

The interactions that I did have with them were valuable, but we could have done a better job in that aspect. If we had questions, we could post them for the other students to help us with. The responses were quite helpful, but we rarely posted questions to discuss - we preferred emailing directly with the teacher.

What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard!)?

One who is self-disciplined. This course requires a student to do a great bulk of problems. It is possible to do a sloppy job on the math, but then a student would not be getting the most out of the course that they can.


AP Calculus BC posted by Ethan Green on May 15 2009 at 24:00:31

This year I took AP Calculus with Mrs. Gilleran. It was a tough year for me. I was remarkably busy, I had to learn it long distance (online obviously), and it is probably the toughest class I've ever taken. Despite this fact, and the many hardships and downfalls I had (and rebounded from) throughout the year, I did enjoy the class. I felt that the course work prepared me well for the AP exam and this is because Mrs. Gilleran gave us enough work per week to be proficient with calculus. I spent around 1 to 2 hours a day, and probably 10 or more hours a week (especially when we had tests or quizzes and such). There aren't any assignments that stick out to me, I guess besides the chapters I did comparatively well on ;)

Yes and no. I certainly was given a better insight of what calculus is and gained a better mastery of it, but I don't know if I'm more interested in it. I'd actually say less... I realize this isn't what I should be pursuing in the long run in college or as my career. However, this is in no way a reflection on PA Homeschoolers or Mrs. Gilleran. She has been wonderfully flexible and endlessly helpful! It's just a subject I am not exceptionally gifted in and shouldn't pursue above other things.

It was fun to chat a little on the forum and know that there were other kids in my class going through the same tough work I was =)

It would take a student who had a fairly successful history in math and was willing to be diligent and studious. I certainly wouldn't recommend it to just any student, but I certainly know people who would excel in this class and enjoy learning more about calculus.

All in all, a tough, long, and difficult year, but challenging in the best way, and ultimately rewarding and enjoyable.

-Ethan Green


An Awesome Class! posted by Hannah Pawelczyk on May 15 2009 at 23:33:13

Hi Prospective AP Calc BC student,

I feel that this course definitely prepared me very well for the AP exam. We finished with the textbook about a month before the exam, and during the last month of class we practiced for the AP Exam a lot and took a previous year's AP Calc BC exam as our final. I would say that I spent about 10 or more hours a week on this class. AP Calculus BC is definitely a challenging class, but if you put enough effort into the class and do all the homework, you will find that it is also a very rewarding class. Mrs. Gilleran is a great teacher. Her daily comments and explanations of the topics were always very amusing and helpful. I loved this class. I would definitely recommend this course to other students who are ready for a challenge.


AP Calc BC in 2008-9 posted by Ellie on May 15 2009 at 18:45:05

This is a challenging class, but if you work hard and do all the assigned problems, you should do well.

Typical daily assignments included reading the textbook (with notes) and doing the indicated problems. Every chapter was followed by a test, which we scanned in, and after every few chapters, there was a cumulative quiz on WebAssign. We also had to read from our calculator instruction guides and do practice FRQs. Towards the end of the year, we started doing more full practice tests. These practice tests gave a very authentic sense of the types of problems that would appear on the real test.

I would definitely recommend this class to anyone planning to take the AP exam, or to anyone with an interest in math.


posted by Jesse Baggenstos on May 15 2009 at 14:34:30

After completing a year of AP Calculus with Susan Gilleran, I felt confidant and well prepared to tackle the challenging AP Calculus Exam in May. Mrs. Gilleran's instruction was thorough yet never redundant. She was upbeat and encouraging from day one up through test day, and always was ready with a thoughtful answer to my many questions. Mrs. Gilleran enhanced my interest in Calculus with here careful explanations and engaging style. I generally spent 9 hours per week studying and completing assignments, but rarely felt swamped with work, especially in the second half of the year when one would expect to be burnt out. I would especially recommend this class to students not particularly excited to study calculus. Mrs. Gilleran has a passion for mathematics that is contagious.


To those thinking of taking AP Calculus AB... posted by Elizabeth Deatrick on May 15 2009 at 12:24:12

First, a confession: over the years, I have consistently struggled with math. Pre-calc was hard for me, and I had some serious doubts going into Calculus. However, once I got going on Mrs. Gilleranís AP Calculus AB, I started having more fun with math than I ever had before in my entire life. And it is fun, learning all these neat things you can do with numbers that you didnít know you could do. By the end of the course, youíll have no problem making up word problems about the areas of enclosed alien colonies, finding the volumes of weird shapes, calculating velocities from accelerations, and integrating and deriving.

A warning to future students: This course truly is what you make of it. If you faithfully keep good notes and do every last one of the problem sets and practice tests, and if you e-mail Mrs. Gilleran your questions instead of stewing in frustration, and if you also post your problems on the forums for other students to review, then you will feel pretty well prepared for the exam. I spent about 1-2.5 hours a day on Calculus coursework (less at the beginning, more at the end), which meant usually 8-13 hours of work a week. That might seem like a lot, but if you can get your work on a regular schedule (i.e. always do your Calc. work first thing in the morning) itís really not bad at all. I highly recommend this course to anyone who has an interest in pushing themselves to master the next level of mathematics. Itís hard work, particularly if math hasnít traditionally been your strong suit *cough cough,* but I have found it well worth the effort. Regardless of how I score on the AP exam, I feel that Mrs. Gilleran has given me a truly excellent start, should I decide to take a Calculus course in college.

Elizabeth Deatrick


One of the Best Classes I have Ever Taken! posted by Amanda Bilko on May 21 2008 at 17:34:32

My Fellow Students,

Either youíve just made Ė or about to make Ė a momentous decision: to take PA Homsechoolers AP Calculus AB (henceforth to be known simply as Calc) or not. So, I assume now you want to know what youíre up against (otherwise, you wouldnít be here, would you? )

Now for the first (and most pressing) question: Is it a ton of work?! Now, while the workload wonít turn you into one of the living-dead, itís definitely enough to keep you on your toes. I always had enough work to keep me busy, but it was rarely overwhelming (just on some random days right before exams and one or two days when the load was REALLY HEAVY). But after a heavy load of homework, Mrs. Gilleran always made sure to give us a much lighter load the next day; so everything always worked out in the end. In general, I probably put in around 8-10 hours a week. My only recommendation is that you canít fall behind in class. While probably not the most fast-paced course around, itís still fast enough where if you fall behind itís VERY hard to catch back up. So, the most important thing to say about the workload is that it is reasonable. You know that by definition any AP course is going to be more work, but it isnít absurdly so.

I really donít think that any course could prepare you better for the AP Calculus exam. Everything is designed with that one goal in mind; by the end of class youíve done so many FRQs that the FRQs on the exam actually seem easy! (That was my experience, at any rate). We also spent a decent amount of time doing problems without a calculator, and also doing problems specifically designed to help you learn how to use your Ti-89. By the time the exam comes rolling along, youíll have become a wiz at calculator shortcuts and at completing all necessary functions by hand quickly Ė both invaluable skills for the AP exam. In truth, everything that Mrs. Gilleran had us do was essential in order to learn how to take the AP Calculus exam well: we learned what to say and what not to say on the FRQs, how to use calculators efficiently, how to survive when we werenít aloud to use a calculator.

Of course, one of the reasons this course is so great is because Mrs. Gilleran is always brimming with passion and positive energy, so you canít help but enjoy yourself and get energized too! Her comments are usually sprinkled with a funny joke, and there is always a wonderful comic to read at the end (yep, I really loved those comics!) and she always managed to make the math fun. So, I would recommend this course to almost anyone: even if you hate math I think that by the end youíll have at least developed an appreciation for the subject. In fact, I donít think that anyone could ever regret taking this class. It is, without a doubt, one of the best classes Iíve ever taken.


Raves for Mrs. Gilleran posted by Natalie on May 21 2008 at 12:57:33

Mrs. Gilleran is a teacher who gives personal attention and encouragement to her students. She carefully answers any questions and responds to posts. Mrs. Gilleran prepared me well for the AP exam. Her comics and calculus jokes livened up her daily posts. I highly recommend Mrs. Gilleran's class. Now that the AP is over, I think I just might miss Calculus a little bit! :)


Awesome Way to Learn Calculus posted by Jessie Koehn on May 20 2008 at 12:18:04

I came into this class a little worried because it was my first AP class and an AP test sounded really scary. However, when I sat down and actually took it in May, I found that Mrs. Gilleran had prepared me excellently. I'm not sure yet what my grade is but I think I did well.

Mrs. Gilleran is an exceptional teacher. She explains concepts so that they are easy to understand and is always open to questions, promptly responding to emails. While challenging students to do their best, she is also very encouraging. Mrs. Gilleran made Calculus interesting and fun. She was actually my favorite teacher this year. :)

However, like any worthwhile class, this class requires hard work and dedication. It is not impossible, just challenging. If you are willing to work hard, I would definitely reccommend this class.


AP Calc With Mrs. Gilleran... posted by Nathan Albright on May 19 2008 at 16:47:57

Mrs. Gilleranís AP Calc course will be difficult but rewarding. During the year, I noticed that our class started working on and getting comfortable with AP practice tests long before friends of mine who had taken AP Calc in public schools. Unlike some other online courses Iíve taken, Mrs. Gilleran made sure to give daily updates and in-depth discussions of the subjects being studied. It is also apparent that Mrs. Gilleran does not simply save the exact comments from the year before and reuse them. Instead, she will give personal insight into the material and post any answers to questions she might have received. She works very hard to make sure her students have everything they need to succeed. Her passion for the subject is apparent from the first week of class.

Before signing up for the class though you should be aware that the course requires a lot of time and work. Math doesnít always come naturally to me, especially with some of the more abstract concepts covered in this course, so sometimes I had a difficult time comprehending and keeping up with the work. However, Mrs. Gilleran was extremely patient and understanding when it came to deadlines as well as helpful when it came to catching up.

I would not recommend this course to someone who is simply looking for a score high enough to exempt them from taking more math courses in college. I would recommend this course to someone who wants to do their personal best on the AP Test. Basically, this course is not for someone who is looking to get done with their last required math course, but it is for someone who is looking to form a strong foundation for further mathematical studies.


AP Calc with Mrs. Gilleran posted by Carla Atwi on May 19 2008 at 15:51:54

Dear Prospective Students,

Mrs. Gilleran's class is an excellent online AP Calculus prep course! I especially enjoyed the fact that Mrs. Gilleran took the time to write up often several pages of comments every morning, explaining concepts and problems in DETAIL and ending with a famous quote and a math comic. Take this course at the risk of being infected with a love of higher mathematics. :-) I highly recommend this course!

Carla Atwi



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