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Do I need knowledge of trigonometry for this course?

  1. Nov 20, 2015 #1
    I've started community college after being out of school for a while. I started with Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Geometry: I have a strong grasp on all three. The next class offered at my school is Precalculus. Trig is not offered.

    The PreCalc course description
    "An intensive preparation for calculus. This course is intended for computer science, engineering, mathematics, and natural science majors. Topics include algebraic, exponential, logarithmic and trigonometric functions and their inverses and identities, conic sections, sequences, series, the binomial theorem and mathematical induction."

    What do you guys think?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 20, 2015 #2
    Best to ask the professor this question. But usually, precalculus does not require any trig. Instead, most precalculus classes will actually introduce the necessary trig.
  4. Nov 20, 2015 #3


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    The Trigonometry included in Pre-Calculus is intense, and almost but not quite as thorough as a regular semester-long Trigonometry course. If you have the time, you could find and study from a good Trigonometry textbook on your own either before your Pre-Calculus course begins, or after it ends. If so done, spend at least 3 to 4 months to study Trigonometry as fully as a normal semester course.
  5. Nov 20, 2015 #4
    It may help to know how the trig functions work (as it would be good to know anything about a class before it starts), but it's far from necessary. I'd argue it's overkill, since trig can be taught very intuitively, and your class is probably only going to cover the basics (ask you professor about this though). If you've done well in Algebra up to this point you should be fine.

    If you're really anxious though and you have 8 hours to blow, just do problems from any old trig book after watching some video lectures or go on Khan Academy and kill two birds with one stone. Again though, you should be fine. Learning to factor for the first time is harder than learning trig for most of the students I've tutored for the last two years (and I mainly tutor algebra and trig students with some physics strewn in).

    I'd argue the best things for you to work though are how radian measures work, how they relate to each other in a unit circle, and how the unit circle relates to sine, cosine, and tangent. Know those things and the rest of trig is putty in your lap.
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