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Difference between Pre-Calculus and Calculus?

  1. Oct 11, 2011 #1
    What is the difference between Pre-Calculus and Calculus? Is Pre a more broken down version of Calculus or is it compulsory to learn it before Calculus?

    What I'm saying is, what does Pre-Calculus consist of compared to Calculus?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 11, 2011 #2


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    I think pre-calc has limits, binomial theorem, perms + combs, exponential growth, polar co-ords, parametric equations, basic complex analysis (complex numbers), inverse functions, series, sequences, logs, vectors.

    Seeing as you're in the UK, why do you want to learn pre-calculus? I like the UK A-level module system better. From that list, those things are definitely not strict prerequisites for learning calculus.
  4. Oct 11, 2011 #3
    well, to me, it seemed like pre calc was more of a trig class. we always worked more with trig identities and the unit circle than anything else. then of course there was graphing and other parts to it.
  5. Oct 11, 2011 #4
    Understood. ;)
  6. Oct 11, 2011 #5


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    Pre-Calculus is a course to prepare for the study of Calculus. Pre-Calculus contains topics of Algebra more deeply than seen in "Intermediate" Algebra, and most of the topics of Trigonometry including vectors and polar coordinates. The course may also include binomial theorem, probability, and a bit of linear algebra. ALSO important content of a GOOD Pre-Calculus course is the study of Limits.

    Calculus differs from Pre-Calculus by studying Limits and using Limits to develop and understand rates of change of functions
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