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Students taking AP Stats before Pre-Calc

missypiemissypie Posts: 17,039Registered User Senior Member
edited February 2009 in Parents Forum
The race to boost the GPA is on. In their efforts to take as many AP classes as possible Junior year, lots of students in D's class are signing up for AP Stats for next year. They are coming off of AP Algebra II. The next recommended course is pre-AP Pre-Calc; after that, AP Calc or AP Stats is recommended for Sr. year.

They seem to think they can take AP Calc as a senior without having had Pre-Calc (which is a formal prerequisite). If they can get past the not having taken the prerequisite part, how likely are the students to succeed in AP Calc without having had Pre-Calc? I know that there are super math brains who could do Calc without having had any prerequisites; I'm talking about the other kids - the more normal "smart at math" kids.
Post edited by missypie on
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Replies to: Students taking AP Stats before Pre-Calc

  • ish718ish718 Posts: 253Registered User Junior Member
    Hmm, a lot of the material in pre calc and in algebra II are the same except pre calc goes more in depth with trigonometry and a few other things.

    I believe that extra trigonometry will be needed for calc, like all the identities and stuff.
  • SlitheyToveSlitheyTove Posts: 5,878Registered User Senior Member
    You need trig for calculus. Often, trig is part of a pre-calculus class. If it's not, then the student is going to need to pick up trig somewhere else, perhaps through a summer course. I'd think that the students would be best served by doing trig during the coming summer, then doing calculus in the coming year. Having a year gap between finishing Algebra II and restarting trig/calculus means they'll have to tune up their brains for the usual math sequence again, since stat math doesn't really overlap.

    And, what the heck is AP Algebra II?
  • missypiemissypie Posts: 17,039Registered User Senior Member
    Sorry - I meant pre-AP Algebra II.

    These kids are doing this to boost their GPA with the extra weighting AP classes give....it's pretty much necessary to be in the top 10%...but of course, it wouldn't be if no one played the game.
  • abasketabasket Posts: 9,189Registered User Senior Member
    My son is taking Pre-Calc now, junior year, and signing up for Calc and Statistics next year, senior year. My D thought Calc was much harder than Pre-Calc in high school so yeah, I"d say you need the "pre" first.

    Don't you hate the "race" for GPA points?
  • jessiehljessiehl Posts: 3,328Registered User Senior Member
    The way most schools teach pre-calc it doesn't matter all that much. It's like pre-algebra - a year-long review class.

    You don't need calc for AP Stats, based on my memories of it.

    When I was in high school, I was slightly resentful that we didn't weight grades. Now, I'm glad that we didn't. I'm all in favor of taking lots of AP classes because you want to challenge yourself and because you are ready for the classes (it's what I did), but not for the purpose of a class rank competition.
  • missypiemissypie Posts: 17,039Registered User Senior Member
    None of my kids want to go to UT or A&M, so the top 10% is not essential for them. 10th grade Daughter is currently at the bottom of the top 10% but she knows that next year, when she only takes 3 APs instead of 6-7, her rank will drop. She actually only wanted to take 2 APs, but added another "to stay in the hunt."

    It's amazing to consider that there are students in the top 10% of lots of Texas high school who take no AP classes, and the students at our school need to take 12+ APs to have a shot at it.
  • mdocmdoc Posts: 442Registered User Member
    That's not possible at my D's school. You can't take AP Calculus without Precalc and you can't take AP Stats without either Precalc or College Algebra/Trig (both of which follow Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II). So most kids can't take AP math until senior year (the exceptions being those who took high school math courses in middle school and have the prerequisites to take Precalc as sophomores). Prerequisites are pretty strictly enforced at D's high school, and for AP courses you generally need teacher or department head recommendations in addition to the prerequisite courses. An AP course is worth 0.5 extra, so it does make a difference in GPA, but not as much difference as it would at schools that give AP a full point advantage.
  • missypiemissypie Posts: 17,039Registered User Senior Member
    You just wouldn't believe the schedules some of these kids are committing to. If I had to take the load some of them are planning to take, I couldn't stand to go to school. (All that to get into the state flagship!)
  • missypiemissypie Posts: 17,039Registered User Senior Member
    An AP course is worth 0.5 extra, so it does make a difference in GPA, but not as much difference as it would at schools that give AP a full point advantage.

    That's the insanity of what these kids are doing. At our HS, pre-AP gives the student a full point over regular. AP gives 1.25 over regular. So they are taking the classes out of order (or skipping pre-Calc) for a .25 advantage.
  • Youdon'tsayYoudon'tsay Posts: 16,510Registered User Senior Member
    I was thinking of having ds2 take AP stats his sophomore year but not for a GPA advantage. BC Cal has just been such a struggle for ds1 as a junior, so I'd like to think that if ds2 waits until he's a senior it might be less of a struggle.

    The GPA advantage wouldn't work for us because he'd still need to take precal as a junior. Darn! :)
  • mdocmdoc Posts: 442Registered User Member
    ***That's the insanity of what these kids are doing. At our HS, pre-AP gives the student a full point over regular. AP gives 1.25 over regular. So they are taking the classes out of order (or skipping pre-Calc) for a .25 advantage.***

    That's crazy. But at least they have some incentive to take the pre-AP course. At D's high school, you get the same GPA points for an A in basic remedial math as you do for an A in precalculus (the accelerated third full year of algebra/full course in trig that is the prerequisite for AP Calc and AP Stats). Go figure.
  • ucsd_ucla_daducsd_ucla_dad Posts: 8,573Registered User Senior Member
    If I remember correctly, my D took AP Stats as a Sophomore at the same time she also took preCalc but she was the only student at her large public HS to take it that early. The school wasn't going to allow it but we appealed to the teacher for it and she ended up getting in and doing fine. AP Stats wasn't that difficult for her. She ended up with all junior year and senior year courses as AP courses. The problem was that she took AP Calc Junior year and was out of math courses to take at her HS in senior year.

    So if the schedule permits, the student's capable, and the student's interested in doing so, they may be able to take two math courses in the same year and not have to forego any of them - and get the GPA boost as well.
  • DeirdreToursDeirdreTours Posts: 546Registered User Member
    My son took AP stats on line as a junior because it was the only math class that could fit his schedule (he is in a very small IB program and had already taken IB precalculus a year ahead of the rest of the IB students. He described pre-cal as a rehash of algebra 2).
  • LKeiLKei Posts: 206Registered User Junior Member
    It should be about the class, not the points. I'm in Pre-Calc now, and I've learned so much more than I did in Algebra II. And since Pre-Calc is the Calculus prerequisite, I don't quite understand how they can move on to higher level math classes, especially AP, without taking it.

    That's asking for failure right there. I only know of one or two students in my entire school that could probably manage that. These kids must either be math geniuses...or...think they are.

    And for the people saying Pre-Calc is just an Algebra II repeat...it's not supposed to be. So you guys must've gotten WAY ahead in Algebra II...because I spent a full year learning and mastering Algebra II and I've spent this entire year learning Pre-Calc. I feel like I'm missing something here. :(
  • lawlzatyoulawlzatyou Posts: 194Registered User Junior Member
    At my school, some people double up on math junior year and take both AP Stats and Pre-Calc. I'm taking AP Calculus BC this year and I think that it would be kinda hard to take Calc without Pre-Calculus. You might not really be able to understand what is going on, but it is possible. You don't really need to KNOW the Pre-Calc stuff to be able to do the Calculus but you might not understand it. And plus, the Calculus book does a lot of review for the Pre-Calculus so I believe that Calculus without Pre-Calculus is possible. The only thing I think they might need to know from Pre-Calculus is trigonometric functions. That's about it so far.
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