Course Overview

AP Calculus AB is an introductory college-level calculus course. Students cultivate their understanding of differential and integral calculus through engaging with real-world problems represented graphically, numerically, analytically, and verbally and using definitions and theorems to build arguments and justify conclusions as they explore concepts like change, limits, and the analysis of functions.

Course and Exam Description

Course Resources

Course Content

Based on the Understanding by Design® (Wiggins and McTighe) model, this course framework provides a clear and detailed description of the course requirements necessary for student success. The framework specifies what students must know, be able to do, and understand, with a focus on big ideas that encompass core principles, theories, and processes of the discipline. The framework also encourages instruction that prepares students for advanced coursework in mathematics or other fields engaged in modeling change (e.g., pure sciences, engineering, or economics) and for creating useful, reasonable solutions to problems encountered in an ever-changing world.

The AP Calculus AB framework is organized into eight commonly taught units of study that provide one possible sequence for the course. As always, you have the flexibility to organize the course content as you like.


Exam Weighting (Multiple-Choice)

Unit 1: Limits and Continuity


Unit 2: Differentiation: Definition and Fundamental Properties


Unit 3: Differentiation: Composite, Implicit, and Inverse Functions


Unit 4: Contextual Applications of Differentiation


Unit 5: Analytical Applications of Differentiation


Unit 6: Integration and Accumulation of Change


Unit 7: Differential Equations


Unit 8: Applications of Integration


Mathematical Practices

The AP Calculus AB framework included in the course and exam description outlines distinct skills, called Mathematical Practices, that students should practice throughout the year—skills that will help them learn to think and act like mathematicians.



1.  Implementing Mathematical Processes

Determine expressions and values using mathematical processes.

2. Connecting Representations

Translate mathematical information from a single representation.

3.  Justification

Justify reasoning and solutions.

4.  Communication and Notation

Use correct notation, language, and mathematical conventions.

AP and Higher Education

Higher education professionals play a key role in developing AP courses and exams, setting credit and placement policies, and scoring student work. The AP Higher Education section features information on recruitment and admission, advising and placement, and more.

This chart shows recommended scores for granting credit, and how much credit should be awarded, for each AP course. Your students can look up credit and placement policies for colleges and universities on the AP Credit Policy Search.

Meet the AP Calculus Development Committee

The AP Program is unique in its reliance on Development Committees. These committees, made up of an equal number of college faculty and experienced secondary AP teachers from across the country, are essential to the preparation of AP course curricula and exams.