AP Credits at the UC’s

For those of you who are contemplating switching your classes around before the school year gets underway, it might be useful to take a look at which classes the UC system accepts for credit.

The information is available here: UC AP Credit.

Highlights include the minimum score required to earn credit (a score of 3) as well as the statement that lower than that will not adversely impact your application for admission (good news for you students over at Cathedral!).

Another thing to look for is how much credit is offered per class. A successful APUSH exam will give you 8 credits, while a successful APES or AP Pych will only give you 4 credits. AP Lit and AP Lang both offer 8 credits, but you will max out at that 8 credit in the English department, which means if you’ve scored successfully on one, you’ve already earned the 8 credits you can possibly earn from the English exams. Of course it’s still potentially helpful to do well on the other test to bolster your chances of admission, but know that the only goal would be for admissions at that point, not credit.

Any questions? Email us at info@moprep.com.


Which Calculator Should You Get?

Students can be successful with many different calculators, and we’ve seen some students be fervently passionate about their particular calculator on more than one occasion (e.g. the Ti-Inspire comes to mind).

However, we over here at Mo Prep recommend the Ti-84 Plus. We recommend this for several reasons. Primarily, it’s because it’s the most powerful, yet still user-friendly calculator on the market today, but also it’s the most common model, which can be useful when you’re stuck on something and need help. And above all else, the Ti-84 Plus is accepted on all math tests, including the ACT (in contrast to the Ti-89, which is accepted on the SAT but not the ACT).

Why is a graphing calculator useful at all? Read this post for the answer to that question.

And finally, what are the primary differences between a Ti-84 Plus and a Ti-84 Plus C?

1. Price: Current market prices (07/15) have the Ti-84 Plus at around $100, and the Ti-84 Plus C at around $120.

2. Display: The “C” in Plus C stands for color, so the Plus C model graphs in color. The regular does not. The Plus C model also displays graphs more crisply and finely, and it’s often easier to read from in graph mode.

3. Batteries: The Plus C model uses a USB cord to charge – so you can charge it either with your computer or with the wall outlet. The regular model uses batteries. The big plus/minus here is that you may run out of batteries during a test, but this can be compensated for by bringing an extra set. For the Plus C model, the battery runs down a lot quicker, and you’re not able to bring a charging cord with you the day of the test, so it’s best to charge it the night before the test (or two nights, to make sure you remember to pack it the night before) and/or to have a dedicated wall socket to charge it.

4. Wake Up Time: The regular model starts to dim before it fully turns off. In this “sleepy” state, if you type something in, it’s captured. This can be especially useful if you haven’t used the calculator for a few questions, but then in a flurry of excitement for the new question, you start typing without checking if it’s awake. The Plus C model, however, doesn’t capture data in its sleepy state. I have often caught myself having to retype the first few digits because I haven’t gotten used to this.



Q1: Does Silver Edition mean anything?

A1: Yes, from what I can tell, it means that you have the most recent (as of press time) operating system, which is useful for a few questions on the SAT and ACT. However, unless you’re inheriting your calculator, almost all Ti-84s purchased today have the most recent operating system.

Q2: What if I’m inheriting my calculator from an older sibling?

A2: Check the operating system according to this link:


  • Press 2nd Mem on your TI-84 Plus family calculator
  • Select 1:About
  • Press Enter
  • You should see TI-84 Plus 2.55MP

If you are in fact on 2.55MP, then you’re good to go. If you’re not, you can use a cord to obtain the newest operating system from any of your friends (or your tutor) who have that operating system.



In summary, the differences 3 and 4 may seem like a small deal in the scheme of things, but some students may feel a strong preference because of them. I personally have a strong preference, but you should make the $20 decision that’s best for you, as there is admittedly no huge price or features difference between the two.


Must Get: ACT & SAT Calculator!

Picture the scene:

I’m sitting at San Dieguito Academy in one of the tiny desks awaiting the start of the SAT. The proctor needs to check everyone’s calculators, so the rustle of students pulling them from under their chairs and opening them up is underway. I’ve got a back row seat, so I can see everyone.

Maybe about 50% of students pull out a big graphing calculator, another 20 0r 30% pull out ti-30s, and the rest pull out some teeny tiny little calculator with only the 10 digits and the basic arithmetic keys. One kid doesn’t have any calculator at all. When the proctor inquires, the kid confidently answers that he’ll just use his brain.

At the first break, as I walk by to get to the bathroom, I overhear the poor student with no calculator talking about how hard the math section was. He says he’s fine for reading and writing, but “the math.. ooh, the math,” he says, with clear notes of regret in his voice.

As a tutor, it’s one of my biggest frustrations. Why do kids think they don’t need a calculator when they go into these big tests? And I’d like to know, how could a calculator hurt a student? They need it in school, why wouldn’t they need it on this Very-Important-Test?


But perhaps a more interesting, useful question to those of you who are hip to the blog and tutoring in general, isn’t why you should use a calculator at all, but Why should I use a big graphing calculator instead of a small, “normal” one? Wouldn’t it hurt me, if I’m not comfortable with it?

Of course, if you’re not comfortable with it, don’t use it. It’s better to use a calculator you understand than one you don’t, definitely. However, a good tutor can bring you up to speed on a graphing calculator in less than a session, and even provide you with homework to reinforce your usage habits that pertain perfectly well to the SAT or ACT.

Does it make a big difference? You bet so. It not only helps with certain questions that would normally take you much longer (or even be unsolvable), but it also will prevent certain mistakes and keep your brain a little more active too (important for those other sections!).

All of these benefits are predicated upon the idea of you learning to use the calculator correctly, but they do translate into real point gains. In fact, we hold that they’re the easiest point gains you can achieve!

If you’d like to know what we recommend as the best calculator for the job, click here:  LINK.



Mo Prep Update

Hi all,

And hope you are all enjoying your summer! I know many of you are still relaxing the lazy days away, and I’m glad to hear it! We all must take breaks sometimes in order to be our best selves.

However, many of you are back to the grind. Either you took a break off already, or you have a big break planned soon. In which case, good on you! I’ve been impressed with your collective drive and passion (yes, even passion for success on the ACT and SAT!) this summer. And it has been inspiring me to do some extra work of my own. Keep it up!

In news this week: the AP scores have been released and lots of you are in the market (or should be) for a new calculator. For those of you new to the newsletter, we also have a few reading recommendations to keep your brain limber over the summer. Read on for details!



AP Scores Out

I’ve just received word today that the AP Scores are released (unofficially). What does this mean? It means with our IP addresses located in CA, you won’t be able to obtain your scores until the 10th. However, if you use an IP spoofer (available in many apps on your phone), you can “hack” your way in there.

As some of you have asked, isn’t this wrong? Maybe a little bit, but I’d imagine they’re releasing scores in waves specifically to prevent the site from crashing. What’re a few additional requests? If they were serious about releasing in batches, they’d be more like the ACT, and literally only post a certain number of them by day.

So go ahead, check away, students. The scores are out!