I took a precalc class over the summer but my school still recommends I don’t take BC calc despite not offering AB. How much of precalc is really important to calculus? Do you think I’ll be able to manage?

Precalc is important for calculus in that it prepares you to do math on your toes. Precalc is about graphing and manipulating equations without much thinking. For me, calc AB was pretty easy after taking precalculus over the summer. Calc BC is much harder, but if you feel like you are great at math, then you should take it. I didn’t use much precalculus (identities and such) in calculus now that I think about it, but it will give you a head start in the class since you have it fresh in your mind.

I would take AB but my school doesn’t allow it and I really don’t want to take precalc again. I wouldn’t say I’m amazing at math but I do get As in all my math classes so hopefully I’ll be ok! Thanks so much for the advice!!!

Precalculus is the normal course before calculus. So if you completed precalculus, you should be ready for calculus. College frosh who just completed precalculus in 12th grade of high school may take college calculus, which covers material at a similar speed as calculus BC. Seems odd that your high school does not want you to take calculus after completing precalculus.

If you have any concern about whether your precalculus course had gaps in the material needed for calculus, you can try this quiz: http://math.buffalo.edu/rur/rurci3.cgi

Also, what is your Calc BC class like? Have you heard anything from other students? I’m just asking because some schools curve generously in that class due to the sheer level of difficulty. Especially since your school only has Calc BC.

None of us can know if you are prepared to take calc BC. Have you compared the syllabus of your summer pre-calc course to the full year pre-calc course offered in your HS? Did you speak to your guidance counselor and/or math teacher about how the two courses stack up? Did you get permission in advance to take the summer pre-calc course as a replacement for the year long course in your HS? How good are you at math?

I think my school is just hesitant because I didn’t have a full year of precalc compared to the other people who are going into BC. Thank you so much for the quiz though!

In terms of the difficultly of the class, I haven’t heard much other than it’s definitely challenging and one of the hardest math courses we offer so I’m definitely worried. And I would say I’m decent at math like I’m no child prodigy but I have always gotten As in math. I did get permission from my school to take the summer course they said it was comparable, if anything we did more as we covered integrals and derivatives more in depth than my HS precalc class.

Duration is somewhat irrelevant. As noted above, if you covered all of the topics in your school’s Pre-Calc syllabus, and spent enough time (not duration) to cover them effectively, you should be well prepared.

Where was the course taken? How much time did you spend? A couple hours a week for two months probably isn”t enough to cover the material. But my D took courses that were 7 hrs/day over three weeks (18 days, actually) and she was fully prepared for subsequent coursework.

Did your school really say they are uncomfortable purely due to duration, even though all the topics were covered in a similar number of hours?

This makes it even more odd.

My son did a summer precalc class at a local CC. He then went on to Calc at the same CC (this is while in high school). He soon realized he had so many gaps because of that shortened precalc that he retook a semester long precalc at the CC. He’ll be taking Calc at his college this fall. Definitely need to be careful of those shortened summer math classes.

My course was 4 hours everyday (except weekends) for 6 weeks. My school said they wanted me to have a full year so that I don’t have gaps that will be detrimental to my success. I will definitely work hard to fill any gaps but I’m just worried that no matter how much work I put in I’ll still have trouble. However, not taking calc BC as a junior puts me behind as my school doesn’t offer it for senior year.

The majority of students take calc in college. Are you applying to very selective colleges? Both my kids got into good schools without calc in high school.

I am planning on applying to very selective schools and I was told taking calc BC is pretty important especially since I’m interested in STEM. But I also don’t want to tank my GPA by taking the class. If I don’t take it, I’ll have to take precalc again and with a pretty bad teacher.

You were told wrong. No college expects BC although a handful expect some level of calc.

What are Seniors who take Pre-Calc as Juniors supposed to take? It seems odd that the pre-req/sequence changes based on your year.

120 hours of quality teaching is the same as a 40 minute class every day for a standard 180 day school year. We can’t tell the quality of teaching, but if it was well taught, with homework on a regular basis to assist learning, it should be sufficient.

Unfortunately, if your school isn’t allowing it, my/our opinion doesn’t mean much.

(In general, it’s a good idea to address these things in advance, in detail. I shared CTY’s Fast Paced Science curricula, and their accreditation, with our school’s principal a couple years back to get written documentIon of my D’s direct path to AP science.)