AP Class Reviews

# AP Calculus AB taught by Jeff Lanctot

### by Students and Parents

**AP Calculus AB--2019-2020** posted by Reagan Waggoner on *May 22 2020 at 03:28:04*

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

I did. Of course, the exam was different this year than in past years, but we were very well prepared. I found that the full practice AP exams we took as well as the final official shortened AP exam felt very comfortable and managable. I attribute this to the preparation we did during class. Mr. Lanctot's tests, quizzes, and homework assignments all prepared me very well for what was coming. In fact, at times I was frustrated with the high level of difficulty, but when I began taking the AP tests, I understood why. The high rigor in this class prepared us for what was coming, and it was a challenge I'm glad to have risen up and met.

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

I would say that on average, I put in 3-5 hours a week. This includes the time for Daily MCQs, homework, quizzes, tests, etc. I will say that I work fast. Mr. Lanctot doesn't assign busy work, something I very much appreciated, but he does assign enough work to understand the concepts.

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

I found the FRQs throughout the year especially valuable. Of course, they were even more valuable this year than in a normal year, as the test was purely FRQs, but the comfort level I gained with FRQs is very rewarding. When we began doing FRQs, they were uncomfortable, a little daunting even, but through the feedback and reflection, I began to enjoy them more and more. Now, I even consider them fun. I have printed some out just to do because it is enjoyable. We were very well prepared.

In addition to the FRQs, I cannot emphasize enough how valuable I found the tests. The tests are not easy. They are scaled, and while completing some early tests, I was worried at the fact that my proficiency was nowhere near 100%. However, I soon learned that was expected and began to relax. These challenging questions required me to think, to problem-solve, and to think about why and how. This made later concepts seem easier.

**Did the course enhance your interest in the subject? **

I entered the year excited about this course, and I do believe I've left it loving math more than ever. It's beautiful, abstract, and concrete all in one. I love the problem solving. This course has enhanced my interest in math, but it didn't feel so always throughout the year. I will say again: **this is not an easy class, but it is a very rewarding class that I highly reccomend for a student who wants a challenge. **At times during the year, I hated math for a day or two, struggling to understand a concept I couldn't quite get. When I got the hang of it however, I realized how rewarding it was. I'm proud to have worked through challenges throughout the year, and I do believe my interest has increased.

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

There is not much communication with other students in this course. If you are looking for a class with live meetings, collaborative group projects, and all the frill, this course is not for you. We did have a discussion board where we could discuss any problems, and on several occasions I found pleasure from answering other students' problems and asking my own. However, all in all, there is very little collaboration with other students. I do not think that detracts from the course experience in any way.

**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!)?**

A student who would do well in this course is a student who is willing to work hard, has a strong math background, enjoys self-study, and can solve problems. A student should be proficient at reading or watching videos to understand a topic. Mr. Lanctot is available for any questions you have, but the learning of concepts is largely independent. This requires additional brainpower to make the effort to learn the concepts, something I believe was beneficial in the long run (although sometimes challenging in the short run). If you are looking for a course without busy work but run well and teaching essential concepts, then this is a great course to look at. Note that it is a challenge, but that it is very rewarding, and I do believe very worth it.

**Additional Notes**

The course website is easily run and operated; It is very logical in flow.

Note that Mr. Lanctot posts course updates to the discussion board on the website, which must be checked frequently to keep up to date, rather than by sending emails.

There are no live meetings in this course.

Assignments are usually released on Saturday night and due Friday morning.

Mr. Lanctot was willing to accomodate when unusual circumstances such as school trips or vacations occurred.

He hosted several pre-exam info sessions regarding exam information.

He is typically responsive on emails and questions.

**Daily Prep is Key** posted by Adam Eungard on *June 10 2019 at 11:57:50*

This course contained all topics presented on the AP Exam. With a compounding course style that builds on itself, I was forced to grasp each topic in order to move on to a slightly more complex problem type. This structure ensured my understanding of each topic. The course; therefore, while covering all topics, requires students to continuously check their understanding of the course material. Both the daily homework assignments and multiple choice questions presented excellent opportunities to challenge my understanding of the text and left me confidently prepared for the AP test.

**AP Calculus AB Review (original title)** posted by Micah Bendicion on *June 01 2019 at 23:24:18*

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

I would say the course prepared me very well for the AP Exam. Mr. Lanctot has commentaries almost every week that specifies what he expects you to know for the AP Exam only. I believe there were a few minor topics that were not pointed-out in his commentaries, but the tests, quizzes, and Daily MCQs filled-in any knowledge gaps. Also, at the end of the year, Mr. Lanctot had a review session to give us test-taking tips specific to the AP Exam.

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

For the weeks with minor topics, I spent as little as 5 hours, but for the weeks with major topics and/or heavy arithmetic (looking at you, manual evaluation of definite integrals), I spent as much as 12 hours. All homework is due on Friday at 11 pm your time, so try not to procrastinate!

As a note, a majority of the homework will be from the textbook, and the homework problems will be written on paper that you will scan and submit each week. Translation: you will need a *lot* of paper (about 1.5" single-sided).

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

The Daily MCQs were pretty useful (see reviews by Tyler, Stephen, Caroline, and Phoebe). I would say the gamification really hooked me.

- Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

Definitely! My brother loves calculus, so actually learning the content made me enjoy it even more.

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

At the beginning, valuable, but towards the end, both interesting and valuable. As Phoebe said, we started a Google Hangouts chat in January, and that really streamlined and increased communication between the students as opposed to the relatively rigid system on the discussion board. On the discussion board, the entire class posted 383 posts, giving a mean of 21 posts per user.

For incoming students, I would highly recommend starting a group chat of some kind if you find that the discussion board is insufficient, and would strongly recommend having those live video chats, as Phoebe explained.

- 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!)?

If you are willing to work hard. I have learned from similar experiences that you get out what you put in. Independence and intentional collaboration with other students are vital to succeeding in this course. Having taken quite a few college courses, I would say that a college-minded student, one who is willing to put in the work, would feel at home in this class.

This class is not for everyone, but if you run into major problems, don't hesitate to contact Mr. Lanctot, and don't hesitate to follow-up and follow-up. And make sure to communicate with your fellow students.

I was able to succeed in this course without Khan Academy and YouTube, but I was able to communicate with Mr. Lanctot and many of the other students, which really enriched my experience.

**Review of AP Calculus AB course** posted by Phoebe Huang on *May 31 2019 at 20:20:21*

At the beginning of the year, I was pretty overwhelmed and really concerned that I wouldn't be able to learn all the material well enough for the exam. However, by the middle of the second semester, things started coming together, and I ended up walking into the AP exam feeling confident. I think Mr. Lanctot did a pretty good job of not giving us more work than necessary and outlining throughout the year what topics would be on the exam.

Depending on the workload for the week, I generally spent somewhere between 8-10 hours per week on this course. Besides the daily MCQ problems, the most time-consuming part of the course for me was the self-study aspect. Much of this class is self taught, and though students can ask questions on the discussion board, many of us looked things up online and used YouTube or Khan Academy. While this self-teaching system may work well for some students, it took me some adjusting to and I initially struggled a lot with learning the content.

There was very little communication with the teacher other than asking questions on the discussion board. It sometimes took a while to receive a response since Mr. Lanctot does also teach at a brick and mortar school. Some of us students started a Google Hangout chat which actually turned out really helpful. We set up a couple live video chats to go over and discuss content or homework problems to help each other understand them. This chat room also helped me realize that I wasn't the only one struggling or using YouTube ;P In future years, I'd recommend that students set up a group chat too. It can be helpful since some students may understand the material better than others and can help explain concepts, plus it's always fun to interact with your classmates.

The daily MCQs were by far the most valuable assignment. These problems simulated the MCQ portion of the AP exam. Thus, doing these practice problems everyday over the year allowed me to confidently complete the multiple choice section on the exam.

While I found calculus absolutely despicable at the beginning of the year, I actually enjoyed the subject by the time I took the AP exam. (There's something so satisfying about solving math problems :)) The year had a rocky start and had a few ups and downs, but in the end I felt very prepared for the exam and believe that I did well. I'd recommend this class to students with drive and initiative who are willing to work hard and spend time on completing problems and learning concepts.

**AP Calculus AB review** posted by Caroline Larsen on *May 29 2019 at 21:24:34*

I felt well-prepared for the AP test after taking the course. Because review was integrated into the class throughout the year, I didn't have to review too much at exam time.

Including the daily practice problems, I generally put in about 7-10 hours per week. As long as I followed the weekly schedule, I usually didn't feel too overwhelmed.

I found the daily multiple choice questions very valuable. The repetition really helped me improve my problem-solving skills, and I felt confident with the multiple choice section of the exam.

The course definitely enhanced my interest in calculus. It helped me realize I enjoy the subject and encouraged me to take Calculus BC next year.

There wasn't too much communication with other students during the course. However, you can ask questions on the discussion board, which is often helpful.

Students who have a solid foundation in algebra and pre-calculus and are willing to put in some time each day to work on problems would do well in this course. I recommend it to any students who hope to gain a strong understanding of the foundations of calculus.

**Mr. Lanctot's Calculus course review** posted by Aaron Slack on *May 17 2017 at 24:43:53*

I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Lanctot's Calculus class (as much as one can enjoy a Calculus class :) ) and felt he very well prepared me for the AP exam focusing on topics pertinent to the exam without giving needless busywork, although there was still a decent amount of homework. While Calculus is not something considered easy, Mr. Lanctot was very good about assigning clear and concise lessons and responding to any questions about the material covered. The class went pretty consistently through the school year with only 2 1/2 weeks off, however that just meant the class went on for a shorter timeframe. Overall I would highly recommend this course for any student wanting to thoroughly learn key concepts of Calculus AB and take the AB exam without being swamped in a bunch of irrelevant material.

**Awesome Class!** posted by Stephen Wolf on *May 15 2017 at 13:43:13*

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

Definitely! I walked into the exam feeling very well-prepared for the many topic areas of the AP Calc AB Exam. Mr. Lanctot's class was centered around the exam and really got to the point of what I needed to know to get a 5.

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

I only needed to put about 8-10 hours of work per week into this class. I feel like if a student learns the material well the first time around, they won't need to spend outrageous amounts of time doing the homework. For me, this wasn't very hard because Mr. Lanctot made the material very easy to understand in his weekly comments.

- Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

Oh, definitely. I never knew what calculus was about before taking this course, but now I am just amazed at all the things we can discover from the slope of a function!

- 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!)?

Students who want to do well in this course will need to be active participants in it. I found this out the hard way. Mr. Lanctot has us do MCQs *every single day* that really cement our understanding of current topics while also reviewing old material. I did not see these MCQs for the valuable resources that they were until the second semester, when I started getting the maximum of 4 points *every single day*. I realized then that I would have understood the topic of limits much better if I had been doing more MCQs from the beginning. If a student wants to do really well in this class, they should start out the school year with the mindset that they will do the maximum amount of work required each week. Even if this doesn't happen every week, it is really the mindset that counts.

**AP Calculus AB review** posted by Tyler Bendicion on *May 13 2017 at 06:25:45*

I felt very prepared for the AP Calculus AB exam. There were a few questions that I was not sure about, but overall, I felt pretty confident in my answers.

Every day, I spent maybe 1-5 hours a day on calculus daily MCQ.

If you love math and games, you will like this class. The main way of learning is the daily multipule choice questions. If you answer a question right, it gives you 0.5 points. If you answer it wrong, you lose 0.25 points and get the explanation on how to best solve it. You can get up to 4 points per day and 20 per week (actually, you can get up to 21 points by getting an extra 0.5 points on Friday and Saturday because that's how the system works).

I like math more because I can do more in math. It's like being in a game getting higher level gear. Sure, the levels get harder, but that's the fun of it.

There was not much communication among the students except to maybe ask a question or two. In all, I would estimate we posted less than 50 posts. It was helpful to see what other people were asking about though.

A student who likes getting points and who likes math will like this course. I would recomend this course to other students.

**AP Calc AB Class Review** posted by John Feliz on *May 12 2017 at 22:53:32*

-The class prepared me very well for the AP exam. -I did about 10-12 hours of work per week for the course -All of the assignments were useful and interesting -The course developed my interest in the subject -I thought the overall communication between students and the teacher to be overall low. Some assignment involving the message board might have be interesting or useful -A student who is dedicated to self teaching and has a drive to learn does well in this class. I would recommend this course to other like-minded students.

**Great class!** posted by Parker Erway on *June 01 2016 at 24:57:53*

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

I felt very well prepared for the exam. Mr. Lanctot did a great job of balancing 'normal' Calculus work and AP-specific prep.

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

I put less than an hour a day on average into this class, but I'm relatively mathematically-minded. I tended to bunch up the assignments for the week into two or three days, then do only the Random Multiple Choice Questions on a daily basis.

**Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?**

Definitely! I'm considering taking Calculus BC next year.

Having a mathematically gifted mind certainly *helps, *but anyone with an ability and will to work hard could do well in this class.

Mr. Lanctot's relaxed teaching method is best for those who are self-driven and don't need to be poked with a sharp stick very often. I enjoyed this atmosphere and believe it helped me succeed.

**Excellent preparation for the AP Exam** posted by Philip Huang on *May 23 2016 at 15:22:14*

Mr. Lanctot provided excellent instruction and guidance to help me prepare for the AP Calculus Exam. As this was my first Calculus course, I did not know what to expect from AP Calculus AB, much less an online AP course. By completing the required homework assignments as well as using the practice multiple choice questions provided on Mr. Lanctot's website, I found that calculus was in fact quite an easy subject for me to master, as long as I dedicated 5-6 hours a week to completing the course material. Mr. Lanctot's detailed yet concise comments that he provided in the weekly assignments as well as the assigned weekly textbook reading were more than sufficient, such that I hardly needed to ask any questions on the discussion board or through email. Although my communication with other students was rare, I noticed that Mr. Lanctot was always ready to answer any questions that other students had, despite his busy schedule. I did find the pre-exam chat session to be extremely helpful, as Mr. Lanctot clarified any questions we had relating to the AP exam. On the AP exam day, I felt extremely comfortable, confident, and prepared and found most of the test questions to be manageable. I would absolutely recommend this course to any student who has a solid background in mathematics and is simply motivated to prepare for the AP Calculus AB exam. My interest in calculus has definitely boosted from my experience with Mr. Lanctot's class, and I look forward to learning AP Calculus BC next year.

**An excellent course!** posted by Ioan Dascalu on *May 23 2016 at 14:34:34*

Calculus AB was my first online class and first AP course, it was a great experience. I heard about calculus being a difficult course, but for me it was simple. I can attribute a lot of this to Mr.Lanctot's concise and comprehensive teaching style. Every Monday he would assign us pages to read as well as giving us his own comments singling out the most important parts for the AP test, calculus as a subject or both.

At the beginning of the course Mr. Lanctot said he did not want to needlessly waste student's time. This stayed true throughout the course, assigning only enough problems so we could suffciently grasp the concept and retain the information. There were also daily multiple choice questions, which were questions on all the material we had learned up to the point. The questions allowed me to have constant exercise on materials from weeks ago, and the best part was that most of the questions were taken from *actual* past AP calculus tests!

Though there was not a lot of direct communication with other students, I found that I could tell a lot about the character of other students from their inquiries(Some of them had some great questions!) and from their class bio’s (A background about yourself that you provide.) Before the AP test we had an online chat session, in which Mr. Lanctot answered all our remaining questions, here I was able to talk a bit more with my fellow classmates.

This is a great course, by the end of it I was very prepared for the AP test and I felt confident walking in to the test center. I would highly recommend this course to anybody willing to put in 6-12 hours per week to learn about an amazing section of mathematics.

**Excellent AP Calc Course** posted by Hannah on *June 08 2015 at 18:30:23*

This course was great! Mr. Lanctot always made sure everything was clear and easy to understand. He provided commentaries on every chapter, letting us know what we needed to know for the exam *and *what we did not need to know. Sometimes he also pointed us to videos that helped clarify concepts that might be confusing.

At the beginning of the year, Mr. Lanctot gave us a syllabus, and for each week, he posted a weekly schedule, letting us know exactly what was due for each week and allowing us to work ahead. The assignments were very well tailored for the exam. There was no busy work, so on average I only had to put in up to 1 hour per day. We had plenty of practice multiple choice questions and free response questions throughout the year. For the last few weeks, we had “review weeks,” where Mr. Lanctot gave us a few practice tests and helpful review sheet. As this course was designed amazingly well, I felt very prepared on exam day.

There was not a lot of communication on the message board, but Mr. Lanctot always answered people’s questions very quickly.

Since Mr. Lanctot is such an excellent teacher, anyone would be able to do well in this course. As long as you’re willing to complete the assignments, study on your own, and ask questions when you need help, you’ll have fun and succeed in this course!

**A Reward Worth the Challenge** posted by Joshua Hahn on *May 17 2015 at 05:46:54*

For me, calculus is a lot like climbing a mountain. The uphill is steep and tricky, but once you make it to the top, the view is breathtaking.

I won't deny it. AP Calculus AB was not easy. I struggled at first to get a footing. But Mr. Lanctot was always there, ready to answer emails and questions. The work he assigned didn't drown me. He only assigned enough homework to cement the concept that we were learning that week. Mr. Lanctot also attached his own personal notes and explanations to each week’s work, which included helpful tips and tricks to mastering the concept.

I spent about two hours every week day studying Calculus. When it came time to take the AP exam, I was very confident and thankful for all the reviews, practice tests, and homework notes that Mr. Lanctot handed out in addition to the homework.

Mr. Lanctot kept the schedule organized and easy to follow. If you are willing to work hard, the climb won't be easy, but the end reward of being fully prepared for the AP exam is completely worth the challenge.

**High Recommendation for Mr. Lanctot's AP Calculus** posted by Emma Fowler on *October 08 2013 at 24:53:57*

Mr. Lanctot’s Calculus AB course embodies the best of online education. What makes his teaching style so uniquely effective is his clarity and focus, a clear segmentation of curriculum, and a supremely orderly syllabus: he tames the dragon of AP curriculum so skillfully that no St. George is needed to slay it. If you have the will to succeed in mathematics, though hard work should bar the way, you should pursue undaunted this Calculus course and no other, for Mr. Lanctot’s lessons are as skillful as you could possibly wish.

Mr. Lanctot’s syllabus is so highly organized that it includes not a single superfluous or trivial assignment, and yet, at the same time, it is super-sufficient for success on the AP exam. From the start, Mr. Lanctot provides a link to his overall syllabus for the class, including weekly textbook readings and potential assignments, which makes virtually limitless the possibility of self-studying ahead of class schedule at any point during the year. Throughout the year, usually before each Monday, Mr. Lanctot also posts on the class website an extremely orderly and concise weekly schedule of assignments (textbook readings and questions and actual AP FRQ questions) and plenty of supplementary study aids.

He also goes the extra mile by writing a detailed commentary to the assigned reading EVERY SINGLE WEEK, to walk us through the material. Many of these commentaries, which are more cogent and to-the-point than any textbook, prove to be invaluable review aids when the AP exam looms near. He also occasionally lends his voice to particularly difficult concepts, by embedding audio clips in PDF problem-sets. In these clips, he either sets forth an infallible step-by-step procedure for tackling a demonical problem type, or anticipates common mistakes and saves students the time of correcting them. As if that were not enough, Mr. Lanctot provides immensely valuable access to video lectures on many of the most challenging topics in Calculus.

His care and thoroughness in guiding the class through each week recur in his supportive communication. When students turn in solutions to problems Mr. Lanctot has selected from the week’s work, he studies each answer carefully and alerts each student quickly to any mistakes or ambiguities in his or her work. When practice exams are assigned, he carefully analyzes each student’s written responses to entire FRQ sections and returns detailed feedback on problem-solving strengths and weaknesses, which consistently helps to improve each individual’s performance.

The AP Calculus exam exemplifies Shakespeare’s rule that “readiness is all”, and nowhere is readiness for this challenge better found than under Mr. Lanctot’s tutelage. A couple of weeks before the actual AP exam, he invited my entire class to a live Google chat session, during which he cheerfully answered a barrage of questions, assuaged countless anxieties, and shared specific tips for maximizing our potential on exam day. However, since we had finished the curriculum well before the exam, we had already had ample time to review and acquire total “readiness”, and I, for one, did indeed feel thoroughly well-prepared on the critical day.

**And So I Discovered the Land of Higher Mathematics** posted by Genevieve B. on *May 15 2013 at 01:23:02*

Hello future AP Calc AB student and parents! You are about to embark upon a fantastic voyage through the sea of calculus. Not to worry: Mr. Lanctot will throw a life preserver towards you if you feel as though you are drowning; you will reach your destination in one piece. And you will love every moment of it.

What? You want specifics about the course? Very well...

The AP Calculus AB course included daily MCQ's and frequent FRQ's which provided the necessary introduction to the AP test format. I feel that the course was a thorough and extensive introduction to calculus. Generally, I spent at least 15 hours per week learning new material, completing the assigments, and studying. I found that all of Mr. Lanctot's comments and suggestions were especially valuable. Not only did he underscore AP topics, but he also provided plenty of guidance for actually learning the material.

Mr. Lanctot is an excellent and just teacher. Any student who is interested in math and willing to work hard would do well in this course. I strongly recommend completing as many of the MCQ's as possible. They do take time, but they are an important aspect of the course.

Anyway, I'm off to explore this marvelous land of higher level mathematics that I've reached! Come join me!

**Well Done Course** posted by Jonathan Brutt on *May 14 2013 at 23:20:00*

This Calculus class was very difficult, then again, it's a difficult subject. I believe that this course did adequately prepare me for the AP exam. I would recommend this course for anyone who wants a comprehensive Calculus course, but is ready to put in the time. Most days I spend at least two hours studying Calc, it really depends on what material you pick up quickly. Everyday I'd do my best to do daily multiple choice questions as well as completele the daily homework assignment. It will certainly keep you busy.

We had a group message board, which was particularly helpful for seeing or posting questions to the teacher or the other students. It was certainly helpful in negating some of the negative effects of an online class. It provides that place where anyone can ask their questions and get valid answers.

There are only two things that I think would help improve the class. It would be nice if there were one or two group chats offered at the beginning of the course to help the class feel more like a real classroom. The other thing is that I would have found it helpful to have a syllabus for the whole class instead of reacting to the homework every Monday morning. At the very least, a monthly syllabus would have been helpful. Without a syllabus, working ahead is impossible. This would have allowed me to study ahead during breaks or when I had less homework in my other subjects.

Over all, I'd say it was a well done course with an excellent teacher.

**You think you don't like math? Well, be prepared to change your mind.** posted by Rebeka Rosales on *May 14 2013 at 23:14:04*

Going into Calculus I was terrified. I hated math before i took this class with Mr. Lanctot. But that all changed. Not only are the materials used and resources suggested excellent and easy to understand, but the teacher answers your questions almost immediately in ways that actually make sense. I had so much fun taking calculus and I now love math. Take this class. It's amazing.

**Great Course** posted by Cody Hartman on *May 12 2013 at 23:07:52*

I felt that this course prepared me for not only taking the AP exam but also prepared me for math classes in college. Usually I put in about 2-3 hours per day, which means you are going to need to put some work into the course. I particularly like area under the curve problems so that section was definitely my favorite! The course really helped broaden my view of calculus and the applications that calculus has. I believe that the communications with other students were valuable and helpful, a student may ask a question that you didn't think about and may provide in-depth discussion. A student who is willing to work hard will do well in this course, I would recommend this course to any student.

Return to the class description

Return to the AP Online Test Preparation Classes Home Page