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What Teachers Say...

About Be Prepared for the AP Calculus Exam

 

About Be Prepared for the AP Computer Science Exam


 



From the AP Central review:

Written by two extraordinarily gifted and knowledgeable teachers of AP Calculus, this book is much more than a test-prep book...

This book can and should be used throughout the AP Calculus year...

The exams are very well designed.  Each exam contains functions that are defined by graphs, tables, and words as well as functions that are defined by formula.  The quality of the questions is truly extraordinary for a test-prep book...

What makes this book particularly valuable is quality of the free-response questions of each exam...

These are the best free-response questions that I have seen in a test-prep book...

Judy Broadwin, AP Central reviewer

Read the complete review at the AP Central Teachers' Resources page.



From: Joseph Oechsle
To: Skylight Publishing
Date: Wed, 4 May 2016 10:56:13 -0400

Seriously, I think your prep book is the best: the FR are most like the actual AP (look at who is writing them!) and the text examples are more helpful than Barrons.  I can't wait to see the most recent edition.

Rev Dr Joe Oechsle, Malvern Prep, PA, and Villanova University



From: Kristina Ronan
To: AP Calculus Community Forum
Date: Tue, 14 Apr 2015 12:47:43 -0400 (EDT)

Hi there!  I have found the BEST review book for AP Calc AB and BC to be "Be Prepared for the AP Calculus Exam" by Mark Howell / Skylight Publishing.  The explanations in the beginning of the book are very insightful and straight to the point.  There are some great calculator tips and shortcuts as well.  There are plenty of exam style questions within the explanations, too, which I like.  At the end there are 3 AB and 2 BC practice exams which are very similar to the actual test.  The publishers of this book are definitely Calculus people. :)

You won't be disappointed!!!

--Kristina

Kristina Ronan. Athens High School, Troy, MI



From: Matt Gironda
To: Mark Howell
Sent: Sat, May 29, 2010 9:22:59 AM

Hi Mark,

I'm not sure if you recall that I asked you for some advice several times this year regarding AP Calculus, most recently regarding the teaching of Sequences and Series.

I wanted to follow up and let you know that because of your great advice, we had three giant milestones for my school recently... (1) we had our first student try the BC exam, and also feel confidently afterwards... (2) the same young woman won first place in our County Calculus Olympics, besting kids from extremely affluent areas who have consistently won the prize for the past 20+ years... And (3) my whole Calculus Team placed first overall in the same competition, again a major breakthrough in our county. Furthermore, all of these accomplishments are in addtion to my entire APC class feeling very well prepared for the AP Exam, with high hopes of lots of 4s and 5s this summer.

Both your kind advice and encouragement coupled with your excellent "Be Prepared" book have contributed greatly to the confidence instilled in both my students and me.  After reviewing many books, your review book has consistently been rated as our best AP resource.

Please allow me to extend my heartfelt appreciation for your hard work and assistance this year!

Thanks,

Matt Gironda. Science Park HS, Newark, NJ



From: Susan Gilleran
Date: Date: Fri, 02 Apr 2010 03:59:56 -0400

I just selected your book for my 2010-2011 classes. I had been using the D&S Marketing book but I chose your book in its place because I felt its treatment of the subject matter makes it more worthwhile. I'm looking forward to using it next year.

Susan Gilleran, PAHomeschoolers



From: Octavio Hernandez
Date: Sat, 6 Mar 2010 21:55:35 +0000

Last year, as a first year teacher, we used Be Prepared for AP Calc Exam (Howell/Montgomery) as a resource.  I believe that the exercises and discussions in the prep book helped us in our preparation and success.  Yours (Skylight Publishing's) is only one of two prep books that I have found useful for its consistency and explanations, an opinion which is by no means isolated.

Octavio Hernandez, Haynes Academy



From: Angela Samul
Date: Friday, January 16, 2009, 11:49 AM
Subject: Be Prepared for the AP Calculus Exam

Dear Mark,
Last year, I purchased your book Be Prepared for the AP Calculus Exam.  I wanted to tell you that the book has been very helpful to me and has provided me with new insights on how to teach the AP material...even after 15 years of teaching it!  The questions from the sample exams are great, too.  Thank you for taking the time to write an excellent resource for AP teachers!

Angela Samul, Buffalo, NY



Date: Tue, 6 May 2008 20:17:01 -0600
From: Monika Serbinowska
To: "AP Calculus" <ap-calculus@lyris.collegeboard.com>
Subject: Re: [ap-calculus] AP Workbooks?
I am also using Be Prepared for AP Calculus by Mark Howell and Martha Montgomery.  This is very good book.  My students think it is much better than prep book published by Pearson to accompany Demana's textbook.  The book could have more practice worksheets (it has worksheets at the end of selected chapters only).  I think that a good prep book should have problems at least as challenging as actual AP tests or, preferably, more difficult.  This textbook definitely satisfies such criteria.  At the same time, explanations are well written and theory is presented in approachable (for students) way.

The Barron's book has a very large selection of multiple choice questions.  There is a version of that book with CD-room with 2 or 3 practice exam (probably in power points).  I haven't looked really at the free response questions and explanations at that book.

Pro: I am using the Be Prepared for AP... book mainly as a source of Practice Exams and, on several occasions, supplementary problems during school year, and more during review.  I ask students not to look at the AP practice tests, and I assign one of them as a weekend HW in first week of April. Students self-grade it (and get parent's signature).  If a student wishes to improve his/her grade or wishes to practice more before practice exam in class, he or she can take more practice exams at home.  I do not worry about cheating, students know they will not perform well on in-class practice test if they do not study.

Cons: I do not have any.

Monika Serbinowska, Saint Joseph Catholic High School, Ogden, UT



Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2007 19:39:48 -0400
From: kateeric
To: "AP Calculus" <ap-calculus@lyris.collegeboard.com>
Subject: RE: [ap-calculus] AP Calc Review Books

The one I like best is Be Prepared for the AP Calculus Exam, available at skylit.com.  The text itself is extremely well written, the examples excellent, and the practice tests very closely modeled on real exams (definitely satisfies your "equal in rigor to the AP" criterion).

Kate Bauer, University of Maryland University College



Date: Mon, 16 May 2005 11:51:34 -0500
From: Savage, Wanda
To: Skylight Publishing <support@skylit.com>
Subject: RE: Calculus books for your summer institute

I am totally impressed with your book, by the way.  Very seldom are resource guides produced with assessments as well as detailed explanations with AP needs in mind.

Wanda Savage, Klein Forest High School, Houston, Texas



Date: Mon, 09 May 2005 14:59:28 -0400
From: Greg Spanier
Subject: [ap-calculus] Re: Recommended Reivew Books
To: "AP-Calculus" <ap-calculus@lyris.collegeboard.com>

We used the one from Skylit Publishing
http://www.skylit.com
My students seemed to like it, and several actually did more of the practice tests than we had time for "officially in class" (I use quite a lot of real past ones too.)  It has comprehensive coverage of the syllabus; much more than just a summary of formulas and theorems, which is helpful for some students.  It could almost be used as a textbook, if one were prepared to supplement with problems and examples from elsewhere.

The other nice thing is that there are solutions for all the problems, including the multiple choice.

Greg Spanier, Brooks School, North Andover, MA



Date: Sun, 24 Apr 2005 12:28:13 -0400
From: Mary O'Keeffe
To: Skylight Publishing <support@skylit.com>

First of all, thanks for sending me the review copy of Be Prepared for AP calculus.  It's terrific.  I've recommended it to all my students this year and plan to require it for next year's students.

I've also recommended it to parents and students who aren't in my course -- it's clearly the best review book I've seen on the market.  The quality of writing and exposition is excellent.

Mary O'Keeffe, AP Calculus Instructor, Pennsylvania Homeschoolers



From: Helen Compton
To: Dan Teague
Subject: great books
Sent: Thursday, March 10, 2005 2:42 PM

Those Skylight Publishing AP review books are the best I have seen.  They have a strong writing team and have some really unusual problems.  I gave Julie a set and she plans to request that the library purchase some for the kids.

Helen Compton, NCSSM
(North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics), Durham, NC




  Date: Sun, 20 Apr 2014 10:04:45 -0700
From: Shanti Kolluri
Subject: Be Prepared book
To: Skylight Publishing <support@skylit.com>

I have a class set of the 5th edition of the book "Be prepared for A.P CS exam in Java".  It is a practical review book that offers great tips on common pitfalls, detailed explanations of particular answer choices on MCs, 5 full length practice exams, and my favorite... a chance to code and test your solutions to FRQ questions from the past years in the electronic version of chapter 7 of the book.  I highly recommend it!

Shanti Kolluri, Oakland, CA



Date: Wed, 8 Feb 2012 16:50:52 -0500
From: Nola Forbes
Subject: RE: [ap-compsci] D&S Review Book
To: "AP Computer Science" <ap-compsci@lyris.collegeboard.com>

I don't know about that particular book, but I can highly recommend Maria Litvin's Be Prepared for the AP CS Exam in Java.  My first group of students (and I) found it thorough, well-written, with plenty of practice materials... and we did have some students earn a 5 despite having only a spring-semester course in which to work.  The sooner you get it and start using it, the better.

Nola Forbes, St. Johnsbury Academy, VT



Date: Mon, 11 Apr 2005 19:24:09 -0700 (PDT)
From: Matt Gironda
Subject: [ap-compsci] Re: AP exam prep materials
To: "AP Computer Science" <ap-compsci@lyris.collegeboard.com>

Hi Mark (and everyone else!),

My kids and I really like Maria Litvin's Be Prepared For The AP Computer Science Exam in Java (ISBN #0965485358) review book. Lots of great practice questions, topic-by-topic and in full exam format, with answer keys. Decent MBCS coverage as well.

Matt Gironda, Science High School, Newark, NJ



Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2003 20:27:26 -0400
From: Gregory King
Subject: [ap-compsci] Re: Good review text for the ap exam?
To: "AP Computer Science" <ap-compsci@lyris.collegeboard.com>

I had a chance to read Maria Litvin's Be Prepared this past week. I thought it was a very good book. It seems to have kept the spirit of the C++ version (meaning questions written in the language and style of the AP test) without just being a simple translation. I am sure there will be other good books out as well but I don't think you can go wrong with Be Prepared.

Greg King, Dublin Coffman High School, Dublin, OH



Date: Wed, 8 May 2002 07:33:24 -0700
From: Mike Bollhorst
Subject: [ap-compsci] I don't like the Barron's review book!
To: ap-compsci@lyris.collegeboard.com

I saw someone recommended the Barron's book for review of multiple choice questions. The practice tests for the AB exam, especially the second one, are full of errors. Sometimes the answer is wrong, sometimes there is more than one correct answer, sometimes the question isn't clear. My students found it confused them more than it helped them.

The Litvin book, on the other hand, is far more accurate. On Litvin's AB practice exams, however, it seems like they have more "A" level questions than appear on the actual test (at least the 1999 released exam). Other than that, however, I highly recommend it.

Mike Bollhorst, Los Gatos High School, Los Gatos, CA



Date: Sat, 03 Mar 2001 23:18:50 -0800
From: Tammy N
Subject: Marine Bio Case Study
To: AP-COMPSCI@ets.org

We are in the midst of "navigating" Part II of the Case Study, and I have a few comments. First of all, I would like to thank the Litvins for providing an alternate implementation in their "Be Prepared" study book. I think it is elegant in its simplicity and straightforward implementation. One of the conclusions I plan to teach my students by the end of our case study discussions is that too much complexity can lead to confusion and to more difficulty in maintaining code. I don't believe that the benefits of object-oriented design have been achieved with this implementation. Having worked in industry, I've seen up close the problems that resulted when things got unnecessarily complicated...

Tammy Neuhaus, Torrey Pines High School, San Diego, CA



Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2001 07:36:07 -0500
From: George Benack
Subject: Re: APCS review books
To: ap-compsci@ets.org

I believe that Maria Litvin's AP review book does deal with the case study through her website. The case study questions are not addressed in her book but the reader is referred to a webpage address where questions related to the current case study are available. I found her book to be helpful and well organized. There are several others that you may want to use as additional resources.

George Benack, Horace Greeley HS, Chappaqua, NY



Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2001 08:54:59 -0500
From: Rich Lamb
Subject: Re: APCS review books
To: ap-compsci@ets.org

I very much like Maria Litvin's book, "Be Prepared for the AP Computer Science Exam".  Added bonus is that it does have material on the case study.

Go to www.skylit.com

Richard Lamb, Cranbrook Schools, Bloomfield Hills, MI



Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2001 06:20:12 -0800
From: Bob Davis
Subject: Re: APCS review books
To: ap-compsci@ets.org

I use "Be Prepared for the AP Computer Science Exam" (ISBN 0- 9654853-6-6) by maria Litvin. It does an excellent job of re-capping the material covered during the course and has two A and two AB practice exams. The chapter that covers the Case Study is found online and is updated frequently.

Bob Davis, Saint Francis High School, Mountain View, CA



Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2001 08:49:18 -0500
From: David A. Gillespie, Jr.
Subject: Re: APCS review books [to avoid]
To: ap-compsci@ets.org

Here's one to avoid:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0878912789/

The book, by the "Research & Education Associates" is HORRIBLE. Here are some of the choice excerpts from just question #1 on the first practice test:

extern "C" { ... cout.precision(3); cout << number/sum << '\n' << flush; ein.get();...

...[snip]

Definitely don't get this.

Get the Litvin book - it's wonderful (and is a great complement if you are already using the Litvins' C++ for You++ texts).

David A. Gillespie Jr, Hawken School in Gates Mills, Ohio



Date: Sun, 28 Jan 2001 11:47:18 -0500
From: Philip Ingber
To: <support@skylit.com>
Subject: THANK YOU!

Hi ---I don't usually write thank-you letters, but this time, I feel it's a must. This is my first year teaching APCS and only my second year of C++. When I decided to teach these courses, my school went through an extensive text evaluation (out of legal necessity), but I was convinced early on that your books were the best. They walked the fine line between theory and practicality without delving too much into either.

Anyway, the ONE topic I was intensely afraid of was the MBCS! I had taken the 1 week intensive AP course last summer, and was able to do the fish in 1 dimension, but the 2 dimension stuff was just way beyond me, I couldn't get the pieces to fit, nor did the AP documentation help at all.

Then I downloaded your MBCS section from your "Be Prepared..." book and what a difference. Your approach from the "bottom" up (starting with utils and moving into main) was just the trick that I needed. It seems so obvious now, but you took the approach of how best to teach the subject. I'm using your approach in my classroom now and the kids seem to get it (much faster than I did) thanks to your document.

Thanks for all of the support that you've given me! Now all I have to do is learn Java (is your text ready??????)

Philip Ingber, Nyack High School, Upper Nyack, NY



Re: Addison Wesley's Review for the Computer Science AP Exam in C++ -- There are better books, June 1, 2000

I used this book to prepare for the AP exam along with the Litvin book, and the differences were tremendous.  While both books gave a review, the Litvin book went the extra step by adding test taking tips in each section.  It also included an explanation of the answer, something this book didn't do. Both texts contain practice exams for both the A and AB level exams.  The exams in this book were easy compared to the Litvin book, and they didn't give explanations to the free-response questions, just the answers. I'm glad I used the Litvin book too because this book would have sunk me on the AP test.

Reviewer: Bryan Lieber from Tulsa, OK
(Reproduced, with permission from the author
from his amazon.com review.
)



Date: Wed, 01 Dec 1999 17:40:21 -0500
From: Sarah Fix
Subject: Great Resource!
To: APCS <ap-compsci@ets.org>

Be Prepared for the AP Computer Science Exam
by Maria Litvin and four contributing authors
(Don Allen, Sally Bellacqua, Mary Johnson and Craig Steele)

This review book does an excellent job of describing the basics of APCS for the "incoming" teacher as well as reviewing all the A and AB material for the students. Because of their constantly changing nature, two of the chapters are on-line. These chapters cover 1) the current case study and 2) annotated answers to last years exam.

The book is arranged as follows:

Chapter 1 Exam Format, Grading and Hints
lots of good stuff here for teachers teaching the course for the first time, includes the C++ subset, how the exams are graded, should you take A vs. AB, and general format of the exam

Chapter 2 Exam Topics: Language Properties
includes the basic C++ statement syntax, class structure, overloaded functions and operators, and the apstring, apvector and apmatrix classes

Chapter 3 Exam Topics: Program Design, Data Structures and Algorithms
includes searches and sorts, recursion, and algorithm comparisons

Chapter 4 AB Exam Topics: Linked Lists, Stacks, Queues, Trees, etc
includes the other AP Classes and Big O notation

Chapter 5 and 6 are the online chapters which can be updated from year to year

Also included are 2 A Practice exams and 2 AB Practice Exams

Maria has done a great job with explanations and examples of the various topics. Everyone needs at least one copy in their AP classroom!

I think the price is about $16 (and you can order any number of copies you want!!!!)

ISBN 0-9654853-6-6
Skylight Publishing
9 Bartlet Street, Suite 70
Andover, MA 01810

web: http://www.skylit.com

email: sales@skylit.com

unsolicited comments by:
Sarah Fix
Former APCS Development Committee member
Current APCS Exam Leader

Sarah Fix, The Career Center High School, Winston-Salem, NC



Date: Fri, 03 Mar 2000 05:59:41 -0600
From: Judy Hromcik
Subject: Re: AP Review Books
To: ap-compsci@ets.org

I have looked at Maria Litvin's review book and I highly recommend it. It is excellent. I am pasting a review that Sarah Fix sent to us some time ago. I concur.

Judy Hromcik, Arlington High School, Arlington, Texas



Date: Fri, 03 Mar 2000 07:31:16 -0800
From: msheinberg
Subject: RE: AP Review Books
To: ap-compsci@ets.org

We just purchased a set of Maria Litvins review book. It looks much bettter than the Horowitz book from last year. Last year's students who have looked at it feel that it will better prepare students for the A exam.

Just one teachers opinion...

Mark Sheinberg, Santa Susana High School, Simi Valley, CA



Date: Fri, 03 Mar 2000 15:01:07 -0800
From: Bruce Erickson
Subject: Re: AP Review Books
To: ap-compsci@ets.org

The Litvin review book is excellent. Some of the questions are more advanced than the Horwitz text. We use both, but found Litvin's book better for maximum preparation.

Bruce Erickson, Gahr HS, Cerritos, CA



Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2000 16:21:39 -0800
From: Bruce Erickson
Subject: Order
To: <support@skylit.com>

SKYLIGHT,

I wish to purchase 20 of the "Be Prepared for AP CS Exam" by Litvins, Allen, and Craig Steele. Is there in discount for quantity purchases? We would like to place this order this weekend, so a quick response would be great ... I already have two copies and believe that it surpasses anything I have seen yet. Good job to all the authors.

Bruce Erickson, Gahr High School, Cerritos, CA



Date: Sat, 04 Mar 2000 15:07:40 -0800
From: Matt & Dee Bracher
Subject: Re: AP Review Books
To: ap-compsci@ets.org

Litvin's book is highly recommended. For a start, there's no duplication of questions between the four practice exams. There's excellent coverage of the Large Integer case study available on the book's web site. Many multiple-choice questions are presented throughout the test, and solution strategies are modelled. Wonderful book!

Matt Bracher, Kentlake High School, Kent, WA



Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1999 13:36:40 -0800
From: Matt Bracher
To: <support@skylit.com>
Subject: Be Prepared

What a marvelous book!

I saw a testimonial in the APCS listserv and checked out the web site a couple of weeks ago. What I saw in chapters five and six intrigued me enough to order a copy of the book, and it's fabulous. I'm about halfway done reading it, and it's an excellent review presentation.

When I went to my department head, I meant to ask for seven copies -- one each for the AP students I'll have this trimester and next. To my surprise, she told me to order twelve (the price reduction probably had something to do with it).

Thanks for the book. It's a good review for me, and I'm sure it will be valuable for most if not all of my students. I remain impressed by the fact that the dynamic chapters are placed only on the web, and by the depth of the material that's in the book. I've caught myself on a few of your multiple-choice questions, and the explanations afterwards are helpful.

Lest I continue in gushing adulation, I'll sign off now. You should be getting a purchase order slightly.

Matt Bracher, Kentlake High School, Kent, WA



Date: Fri, 03 Mar 2000 11:49:22 -0500
From: Don Slater
Subject: Re: AP Review Books
To: ap-compsci@ets.org

I really like Maria's book, particularly the sample free-respnse questions, which I felt are much more class-based than Susan's which I also like...

Don Slater, Sewickley Academy, Sewickley, PA




Date: Fri, 03 Mar 2000 19:40:10 -0500
From: John & Mary Harrison
Subject: RE: AP Review Books
To: ap-compsci@ets.org

I have the Litvin book, "Be Prepared for the AP Computer Science Exam." I find it very helpful and full of good problems. In addition, there are questions on the case study on the web so the book will remain current next year with the new case study.

John Harrison, Princess Anne High School, Virginia Beach, VA



Date: Sun, 05 Mar 2000 18:24:44 -0500
From: Beverly Broughton
Subject: Re: AP Review Books
To: ap-compsci@ets.org

I have a copy of Litvin's book and have ordered it for my class. I think it is a really good book. I especially like it because it gives review along with the questions. It is a complete review not just questions.

Beverly Broughton, Lyman High School, Longwood, FL



Date: Fri, 03 Mar 2000 14:20:51 -0500
From: Tim Brown
Subject: Re: AP Review Books
To: ap-compsci@ets.org

I have a class set of Maria Litvin's review book and it looks really good although I haven't started using it in class yet. The Case Study questions are not in the book but are online at the skylit.com website.

Tim Brown, San Ramon Valley High School, Danville, CA



Date: Fri, 03 Mar 2000 07:49:53 -0600
From: Ronda Kopfhamer
Subject: Re: AP Review Books
To: ap-compsci@ets.org

I have both the Horwitz book and the Litvin book. I've just started using them, but both are presented nicely. I like how the Litvin book is layed out. It gives students examples of good code and bad code throughout the book.

Ronda Kopfhamer, Baraboo High School, Baraboo, WI



Date: Fri, 03 Mar 2000 05:53:51 -0800
From: Scott Malloy
Subject: Re: AP Review Books
To: ap-compsci@ets.org

I bought Maria Litvin's book and I think it's excellent!

Scott Malloy, Brea Olinda High School, Brea, CA



Date: Sat, 04 Mar 2000 18:26:07 -0800
From: Paula Lemmermann
Subject: Re: AP Review Books
To: ap-compsci@ets.org

I really like her [Litvin's] book--Horowitz, too. Several people contributed questions, so even if you use C++ for You++, you get a good variety, She has excellent summaries of topics and covers a little bit more than the Horowitz book.

Paula Lemmermann, Harvard Westlake School, North Hollywood, CA



Date: Thu, 02 Mar 2000 03:11:01 -0500
From: Gene Schwartzman
Subject: Re: AP Review Books
To: ap-compsci@ets.org

We just got Maria Litvin's book for my students. I haven't had a chance to do extensive analysis of it, but at first glance it looks pretty good. They talk about an subject area, give the important details about the issue, talk about the common mistakes and pitfalls, give a few examples of how the questions will be asked, etc. They have 2 A and 2 AB exams with answers in the back. They also have a few pages talking about the exam in general, giving some statistics, tips on taking it, etc.

Gene Schwartzman, Paul VI High School, Fairfax, VA



Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1999 20:59:32 -0700
From: Roger Frank
Subject: Re: Review Books for AP
To: ap-compsci@ets.org

Recently there have been inquiries about review books for the AP Computer Science exam. At the AP Computer Science training session held last weekend here in Denver, the leader for the CS session had a copy of a new review book:

    "Be Prepared for the AP Computer Science Exam"

We looked at it during the session. Those that saw it agreed that it looked very useful. It's from Skylight Publishing (the folks who gave us C++ For You++) and I just checked: you can learn more about it by going to their site:

    http://www.skylit.com

I like it because it gives a good balance of worthwhile tutorials from exam format, grading and hints, through the language basics, the AP Classes, and right up through the AB topics. It then provides several practice exams with solutions. There is also a companion web site that supplements the book with additional material.

It's definitely worth a look.

Roger Frank, Ponderosa High School, Parker, CO




Skylight Publishing
support@skylit.com