Spotlight on the New AP Precalculus Course


AP Precalculus was created with the aim of preparing students for college-level calculus courses. It serves as a bridge between algebra, geometry, and trigonometry, and the more advanced concepts and techniques introduced in calculus. The development of AP Precalculus was driven by several key factors:

1. College Readiness:

One of the primary reasons for creating AP Precalculus was to ensure that high school students are adequately prepared for the rigor of college-level calculus. Precalculus serves as a foundational course that introduces students to the fundamental concepts and skills necessary for success in calculus.

2. Prerequisite for Calculus:

Calculus is a key subject in many fields, including mathematics, engineering, physics, and economics. To enroll in a college-level calculus course, students typically need to have a strong understanding of precalculus topics. AP Precalculus serves as a prerequisite for AP Calculus and other advanced calculus courses, helping students build the necessary mathematical knowledge and skills.

3. Comprehensive Coverage:

AP Precalculus covers a wide range of topics, including functions, trigonometry, conic sections, vectors, and complex numbers. By studying these topics in depth, students gain a solid understanding of the algebraic and geometric concepts that underpin calculus. They also develop problem-solving skills and learn to apply mathematical principles to real-world situations.

4. Seamless Transition:

AP Precalculus provides a smooth transition from the more algebra-focused courses, such as Algebra II, to the calculus courses. It helps students make connections between different mathematical concepts and prepares them for the advanced problem-solving and analytical thinking required in calculus.

5. College Credit and Placement:

Another reason for the creation of AP Precalculus is to offer students the opportunity to earn college credit or advanced placement in calculus. By successfully completing the AP Precalculus course and scoring well on the AP exam, students can demonstrate their readiness for college-level calculus and potentially earn college credits, which can lead to cost savings and academic advancement.

Overall, AP Precalculus was developed to ensure that students have a strong foundation in the necessary mathematical concepts and skills before embarking on college-level calculus. It aims to provide a comprehensive and rigorous preparation for calculus and to facilitate a smooth transition to higher-level mathematics courses.


AP Precalculus covers a wide range of mathematical topics that serve as a foundation for calculus and other advanced math courses. The course aims to deepen students' understanding of algebraic, trigonometric, and geometric concepts while introducing new topics such as vectors and complex numbers. The specific content covered in AP Precalculus can vary slightly between schools and instructors, but the following are common topics typically included:

1. Functions: AP Precalculus delves into the study of functions, including linear, quadratic, polynomial, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions. Students explore their properties, graphs, transformations, and applications.

2. Trigonometry: Trigonometric functions and their properties play a significant role in AP Precalculus. Students learn about angles, triangles, trigonometric ratios, identities, equations, and applications in solving real-world problems.

3. Algebraic Concepts: The course builds upon algebraic concepts from earlier courses, reinforcing skills in factoring, solving equations and inequalities, working with rational and radical expressions, and manipulating algebraic expressions and equations.

4. Analytic Geometry: Students study analytic geometry, focusing on conic sections such as circles, ellipses, parabolas, and hyperbolas. They learn to graph and analyze these curves, determine their equations, and solve related problems.

5. Matrices and Vectors: AP Precalculus introduces matrices and vectors. Students explore matrix operations, matrix equations, determinants, and vector operations, including dot products, cross products, and vector equations.

6. Complex Numbers: The course covers complex numbers, including their operations, properties, and applications. Students learn to perform arithmetic with complex numbers, solve equations involving complex numbers, and represent complex numbers graphically.

7. Sequences and Series: AP Precalculus introduces arithmetic and geometric sequences and series. Students learn to find their terms, sums, and limits, as well as explore their properties and applications.

8. Limits: Although not as in-depth as in calculus, AP Precalculus introduces the concept of limits. Students explore the behavior of functions as they approach certain values and learn to evaluate limits algebraically and graphically.

9. Calculus Connections: Throughout the course, students are exposed to calculus concepts and connections. They explore the notion of continuity, rates of change, and the relationship between derivatives and graphs of functions.

In addition to these core topics, AP Precalculus emphasizes problem-solving, critical thinking, and mathematical reasoning. Students are expected to apply their knowledge to solve complex problems, analyze and interpret data, and communicate their mathematical understanding effectively.

It's important to note that the specific content and depth of coverage can vary between schools, so it is advisable to consult the course syllabus provided by your school or instructor for more detailed information on the content covered in your AP Precalculus course.


AP Precalculus offers several advantages to students who choose to take the course. Here are some key advantages:

1. College Readiness: AP Precalculus prepares students for college-level mathematics, especially for calculus and other higher-level math courses. By taking AP Precalculus in high school, students can gain a solid foundation in essential mathematical concepts and skills that will be valuable in their college coursework.

2. Advanced Placement Credit: AP Precalculus is an Advanced Placement (AP) course, which means students have the opportunity to earn college credit or advanced standing by performing well on the AP exam. This can allow students to bypass introductory-level math courses in college, saving both time and money.

3. College Admission Advantage: Taking rigorous courses like AP Precalculus demonstrates to college admissions officers that students are challenging themselves academically. It can enhance a student's college application and make them more competitive during the admissions process.

4. Strong Math Skills: AP Precalculus helps students develop and strengthen their mathematical skills. The course covers a wide range of mathematical concepts, from algebra and trigonometry to analytic geometry and complex numbers. By engaging with these topics, students improve their problem-solving abilities, critical thinking skills, and mathematical reasoning.

5. Preparation for Calculus: AP Precalculus serves as a strong foundation for calculus. The course introduces students to many calculus-related concepts, such as limits, derivatives, and rates of change. This exposure to calculus concepts allows students to transition more smoothly into a college-level calculus course.

6. Skill Development: AP Precalculus enhances important skills that are applicable beyond the realm of mathematics. Students develop their analytical thinking, logical reasoning, and problem-solving skills, which can be valuable in various academic disciplines and future careers.

7. College-Level Instruction: AP Precalculus provides students with an opportunity to experience college-level instruction while still in high school. The course is taught at a higher level of rigor and depth than a standard high school precalculus course, allowing students to experience the challenges and expectations of college-level academics.

8. Personal Growth: The demanding nature of AP Precalculus fosters personal growth and discipline. Students learn to manage their time effectively, work independently, and develop resilience and perseverance in the face of challenging math problems. These skills are transferable to other academic and professional endeavors.

Overall, AP Precalculus offers numerous advantages to students who are seeking to excel in mathematics, prepare for college-level coursework, and stand out during the college admissions process. It provides a solid foundation in mathematical concepts, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving abilities that are valuable in a wide range of academic and professional pursuits.


AP Precalculus is a challenging course designed for students who have a strong interest and aptitude in mathematics. Here are some key points to consider for students who should consider taking AP Precalculus:

1. Strong Math Background:

Students who have excelled in previous math courses, such as algebra, geometry, and trigonometry, may be well-suited for AP Precalculus. A solid foundation in these subjects is essential for success in the course.

2. Interest in Advanced Math:

Students who have a genuine interest in mathematics and enjoy solving complex mathematical problems may find AP Precalculus engaging and fulfilling. The course delves into advanced topics and concepts, allowing students to explore mathematics at a deeper level.

3. College-Bound Students:

AP Precalculus is particularly beneficial for students planning to pursue majors or careers in fields that require a strong mathematical background, such as engineering, computer science, physics, economics, or any STEM-related discipline. Taking AP Precalculus demonstrates academic rigor and can give students a head start in college.

4. Future Calculus Students:

Students who plan to take calculus in college should strongly consider taking AP Precalculus. The course covers many fundamental concepts and skills that serve as a solid preparation for calculus. It introduces students to topics like limits, derivatives, and integrals, which are foundational to calculus.

5. Highly Motivated and Disciplined Students:

AP Precalculus is a rigorous course that demands a high level of dedication and self-discipline. Students considering AP Precalculus should be willing to invest extra time and effort in studying, completing assignments, and solving challenging math problems.

6. Analytical Thinkers:

AP Precalculus requires strong analytical thinking skills. Students should be comfortable analyzing complex mathematical problems, applying logical reasoning, and using critical thinking skills to arrive at solutions.

7. College Credit Aspirants:

Students who aim to earn college credit or advanced standing by performing well on the AP Precalculus exam can benefit from taking the course. By earning a qualifying score, students may be able to bypass introductory-level math courses in college, saving time and money.

8. Goal-Oriented Students:

Students who are driven and goal-oriented may find AP Precalculus a rewarding challenge. The course allows them to push their boundaries, expand their mathematical knowledge, and achieve personal and academic growth.

It is important to note that while AP Precalculus offers numerous benefits, it is a demanding course that requires commitment and dedication. Students should carefully consider their strengths, interests, and future academic goals before deciding to enroll in AP Precalculus. It can be helpful to consult with math teachers, guidance counselors, or academic advisors to determine if AP Precalculus is the right fit for individual circumstances and aspirations.


In conclusion, AP Precalculus is an advanced mathematics course that provides students with a comprehensive understanding of fundamental mathematical concepts and prepares them for higher-level math courses, including calculus. It offers several advantages, including college credit opportunities, deeper mathematical exploration, and enhanced problem-solving skills. Students who excel in math, have a strong interest in the subject, and plan to pursue math-intensive fields in college should consider taking AP Precalculus. However, it is crucial to assess personal strengths, goals, and commitment levels before deciding to enroll in the course. Proper guidance and consultation with educators can help students make an informed decision about whether AP Precalculus is the right choice for their academic journey.