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Only the Strong Belong in Wong’s

Students are continuously pushing their limits in Mr. Wong's AP Calculus class.

Joanne Quach, Editor-in-Chief

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As the Calculus AP exams creep around the corner, Mr. Tony Wong’s AP Calculus students work tremendously hard to pass the exam.

Mr. Wong has been preparing his students for the AP exam since August. His strategic lesson plan covers all material necessary to score a 5 on the exam.

Within the first week of school, Mr. Wong already passed out a multiple choice packet that consists of over 1000 problems. The packet, while intimidating at first glance, is in fact used for homework, quizzes, and tests throughout the year. He also passed out a Pocket/How-To Handbook which took him over 20 years to create on his own. The Pocket Handbook is a simplified version of all the things one needs to know in order to pass the AP exam. It has all the formulas and guidelines to solve each concept, practice problems along with an answer key that guides you on how to solve the problems, and instructions on how to use the TI-89 calculator— all in one neat and well-organized book. The How-To handbook is similar to the Pocket Handbook except it is the extensive version that gives a more detailed explanation on how to solve each type of problem. He even has an extra page with a list of formulas and guidelines to solve each concept laminated, so that it can be easily accessible. Many students can agree that the most helpful thing Mr. Wong has done is creating the handbook.

“Anyone can get a textbook but the textbook does not always fit one’s need. Based on my own experiences, I wrote the handbook tailored to the need of my students so that they can learn better. I know what topics need more detailed explanations and what terminologies need more clarification or simplification. In the handbook, I have included my shortcuts and my exclusive ways of how-to and why-to. The animation graphs that I have created makes the calculus concepts more interesting and easier to understand,” explains Mr. Wong, “I could have published it and made money but that is not my goal.”

If that doesn’t seem like enough preparation to you, Mr. Wong does even more for his students to help them pass the exam.

During the fall semester, from Monday to Wednesday, students take a 4-minute 4 problem quiz from the multiple choice packet. On Thursdays, students take a Redo Quiz which consists of 12 problems from the previous quizzes 3 days prior. They have 12 minutes to do the Redo Quiz with about a minute per problem. Lastly on Fridays, students take a 12 problem 12-minute test. Students must score 8/12 or better to pass. If they fail, they have to retake the test. Not to mention, Mr. Wong will also give his students “preview questions” the day beforehand which are 6/12 questions that are going to be on the test. Testing students with only one minute to spare per problem trains them to have the right mindset allowing them to be properly equipped for the multiple choice portion of the exams.

Every day Mr. Wong assigns pins on the board that indicate who will be going up for what problem, whether it be for the quiz/test or homework. Going up to the board gives students motivation to be prepared.

Mr. Wong has mandatory weekly tutoring. Students with A’s can still go to help others. Every day there are 4 optional times to get tutoring: morning before school (Mr. Wong is there 7 am sharp), nutrition, lunch, and after school.

This year, the new “Shields Up” cuts each class time by 6 minutes and put those minutes into an additional time frame before lunch where students either have long lunch or Shields Up. Mr. Wong uses that time by assigning each class a certain day to attend Shields Up where he can do some extra testing. He will either take problems from the Pocket Handbook for students to solve or he will do oral quizzes. During oral quizzes, Mr. Wong tests the class by asking a series of questions. He does this in a random order to keep students on their toes. The purpose of these quizzes is not to embarrass students, but rather to ensure that they study the material.

Millie Wang, 12, reveals that the extra time helped her improve in a topic she struggled with, “I think the Shields Up time helped me a lot. I actually know how to do area and volume well now”.  

AP Calculus is not an easy course, but Mr. Wong definitely makes things bearable. Everything he does is preparation for the AP exam— the pressure, the practice problems, and the pins (for board problems). Students feel that at times, the workload may seem heavy, but also fair considering that the only way to remember how to solve each problem is to keep practicing and practicing.

“I think Mr. Wong has prepared us enough for the AP Exam because he always makes us complete our work and keeps us focused. He is a hard working person and always tries to explain the best that he can so that we can understand the material. However, I need to do more reviewing because I feel like I am going to be nervous when I take the test,” states Jhoana Ye, 12.

Mr. Wong has done everything he can to ensure his students are equipped for the AP Exam. He has dedicated countless hours to prepare material for his students. His students are truly grateful for all the dedication he has put into the class.  

“I view Mr. Wong as the epitome of what a teacher should be. We have very few teachers on our campus that can even get close to how great of a teacher he is. No other teachers on campus have devoted countless hours to making a handbook, creating shortcuts, and programming graphs on a computer for their students to learn from. Through his class I have learned skills that I will use for the rest of my life,” expressed James Latta, 12.

The Arroyo Calculus Program has had the most number of students passing the AP Exam in the district. The passing rate for Arroyo actually exceeds far beyond the national rate. It is the only program that offers up to Calculus CD or a multivariable course from the years 2005 to 2013. He hopes that someday his students will carry forward this legacy.

“I know that my effort has paid off. Being a high school math teacher might not be a high paying job, but it is one of the most rewarding professions. A teacher can have a significant impact on a student’s life and future,” says Mr. Wong.

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