• Support PF! Buy your school textbooks, materials and every day products via PF Here!

The difference between precalculus and trigonometry?

  • Thread starter Jurrasic
  • Start date
OK at the 2 year college here, they offer ONLY trig , and you take that after college algebra, and before you take calculus, and the counselors at the 2 year college all say that, trig and precalculus mean the same thing there, which is weird, because, then if you look at the classes offered at another nearby 2 year college, strangely, they offer trig AND precalculus, so what's the difference between the two?
 
At my 2 year, they have trig and pre-calculus separate. Trig was straight trig. Functions, identities, graphing, deriving, etc. Pre calculus if I remember correctly was mainly analyzing functions and their graphs. Exponential, logarithmic, polynomial, rational, trig functions mainly. Touch on conic sections and vectors as well I think. Maybe some complex numbers.
 

cepheid

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
5,183
35
Just by simple logic, pre-calculus should contain all of the mathematics necessary in order to understand calculus. This includes, but is not limited to trigonometry.

Other things ought to be included in pre-calculus, like functions, or analytic geometry. Maybe some algebra that hasn't already been covered.
 
Trig was straight trig. Functions, identities, graphing, deriving, etc.
This is all I could agree on about trigonometry since I've never taken it before.
However, for Precalculus, I can say that it includes only the "essentials" of trigonometry, such as graphs of all six functions and the inverse functions, right-triangle trig., analytic trigonometry, the very basics of vector analysis, and the very basics of Analytic Geometry. Also, the other material that is discussed that pretty much has nothing to do with trig. includes functions and their graphs, linear, absolute-value, quadratic, polynomial, exponential, logarithmic and rational functions, sequences and series, matrices, conics, and an introduction to limits. All the material needed to get you ready for the world of Calculus.
 
Last edited:
At my 2 year, they have trig and pre-calculus separate. Trig was straight trig. Functions, identities, graphing, deriving, etc. Pre calculus if I remember correctly was mainly analyzing functions and their graphs. Exponential, logarithmic, polynomial, rational, trig functions mainly. Touch on conic sections and vectors as well I think. Maybe some complex numbers.
That explains quite a bit. Thanks :)
 
at my school Precalculus = college algebra + trig. Though trig usually only has like a couple of sections while precalc and algebra have millions.
 
1,028
1
Check the syllabus for the course and see what is included?
 
at my school Precalculus = college algebra + trig. Though trig usually only has like a couple of sections while precalc and algebra have millions.
Yeah thanks that's really helpful. They actually have the same thing at this school with hardly any trig classes but tons of college algebra, and about 4 different calculus classes.
 
Check the syllabus for the course and see what is included?
It's not really cool at all, but they don't tell you any details other than the prerequisite and the days of week that the class is nothing ever about what the course covers, they make you wait until you get to see the syllabus, but you could always go to the book store and browse the books for any sections you're curious about
 
M

mege

It's not really cool at all, but they don't tell you any details other than the prerequisite and the days of week that the class is nothing ever about what the course covers, they make you wait until you get to see the syllabus, but you could always go to the book store and browse the books for any sections you're curious about
Is there a Course Catalog/Bulletin which has descriptions seperately from the Course Schedule? (there should be, the bulletin/catalog usually is good for a year or more, whereas the schedule is only good for the single term)
 

Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving
Top