I am on track to take IB Pre-Calculus this [sophomore] year since I took Algebra 2 Honors the past year. However, math not being a strong suit of mine, I am considering taking IB Math Studies my sophomore and junior year, to then take pre-calculus over the summer of my senior year, and finish off with AP Calculus AB.

With an intended major in Political Science , would this inhibit an acceptance or adversely affect my application?

My all-time dream school is Columbia University, and I’d of course be looking to apply to other elite schools such as Yale, Harvard, and Stanford.

Side note:

If I were to double major in Biology and Political Science, so STEM, how bad would this be?

I understand AP Calculus AB is harder than IB Calculus so wouldn’t that weigh in my favor?

Why not just take the normal progression of precalculus, then calculus (or IB math (not studies) SL or HL if you need it for full IB diploma)? IB math studies is for students who will not need to take additional math.

Biology majors typically do need to take calculus and statistics. Political science majors typically do need to take a course in statistical and quantitative methods.

I’m pretty bad at math and that’s why I’d like to take IB Math Studies for the next two years; so I can brush up before taking Calculus.

I’m concerned if that 2 year “break period”, although I’d finish with AP Calc AB and improve my GPA and IB scores with Studies, would negatively affect an application to Columbia and other elite schools, even if for a non-STEM major.

IB math studies is not primarily a review course for algebra and geometry. It covers a varied collection of math topics including more advanced ones like logic, statistics, trigonometry, and calculus, but in less depth than the usual courses for those who go on to take additional math.

https://www.ibo.org/globalassets/publications/recognition/5_mathstudiessl.pdf

Since you are two grade levels ahead in math (algebra 2 in 9th grade instead of 11th grade), why do you think that you are not very good in math?

I had a very hard time this year in Algebra 2, and have since taking Algebra 1 in the seventh grade and was advised by my teacher to not take Pre-Calculus. My GPA is pretty low (3.778/4.74) due to medical circumstances this year, so I want to ensure it won’t drop any lower as I hope to finish high school with at least a 3.9 UW.

Math studies won’t prepare you for calc AB and is not meant for students who will study science or business or economics.

Your best bet would be to take IB math SL (not studies’ not HL) over 2 years. Doesn’t your school offer that? It’d include de Precalculus review plus statistics and an into to calc.

It is offered, however I am not prepared to excel or comfortably pass Pre-Calculus this upcoming year, which is why I would want to take it in the summer of senior year, to then continue on to AP Calculus AB.

IB Math SL isn’t precalculus. Look at the curriculum content for the two years. It does include some precalculus, calculus, statistics… It’s not straight precalculus for a year - unless your school offers it differently than intended by the IB curriculum designers.

Math studies can’t be followed by calculus. I’m not sure a school would let a math studies student bifurcate to the path you’re thinking of. Checkwirh your guidance counselor before you embark on that plan.