Why is Trig Required in College but Not in High School?

In summary, the conversation discusses the differences between high school and college math courses, specifically Trigonometry. It is noted that in high school, Trigonometry may be included in a Precalculus class, while in college it is often a separate course. The importance of having a strong foundation in math is emphasized, and it is recommended to take a placement test to determine the appropriate course to take. Additionally, some individuals suggest that high schools should offer dedicated courses in Trigonometry and Analytic Geometry instead of AP Calculus.
  • #1
annoyinggirl
218
10
Why is that in high school, Trignometry is often not a course, but in college, it is?
I remember in high school, after taking Geometry in Freshmen year, I took Algebra 2 in sophomore year. Then in junior year, i took Pre Cal, and then Calculus. I just took a placement test at a community college, and it shows that my Trig score is not ready for Calculus. The counselor asked me if I wanted to take two steps back to get Trigonometry, or if I wanted to take only one step back to take PreCal. My scores show that I should take Trigonometry, but because I took AP Calc in high school and Calc in college( that I failed, one of the reasons is that I had a really shaky math foundation), she is willing to let me take Trigonometry, Precal, or Calculus.

I don't want to waste a semester taking Trigonometry. Isn't Trigonometry included in Precalculus? I remember that in high school, there was a lot of Trigonometry in my Precalculus class. Why is there a separate class for Trig in college, but not in high school? Should I take Trig and PreCal or does Pre cal include Trig? I know I am not ready for Calculus, because I failed it twice (mostly because once because I was online too much, and once because I had too many units so I didn't have enough time to do math, but I remembered that I had a very difficult time when I really did sit down to study, because I didn't have the fundamentals and foundation of pre cal. I didn't struggle to derive equations; that was easy and straight forward. I could do that in my sleep. I did, however, struggle to manipulate equations, isolate variables, do trig functions on related problems, set a equation single variable, simply and factor equations, etc. Basically, I forgot everything but the Calculus.
 
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  • #2


I would take the pre-calculus course as usually that deals with functions. Aka does sin(x)csc(x)=cos(x)sec(x), manipulating trig graphs, etc. Things of that nature.

Also, did you ever take calculus two/BC? As in calculus two/BC second semester, you deal with trigonometric integrals, and if you did fine in that section, then you should be fine overall with trig.
 
  • #3


romsofia said:
I would take the pre-calculus course as usually that deals with functions. Aka does sin(x)csc(x)=cos(x)sec(x), manipulating trig graphs, etc. Things of that nature.

Also, did you ever take calculus two/BC? As in calculus two/BC second semester, you deal with trigonometric integrals, and if you did fine in that section, then you should be fine overall with trig.

She hasn't taken Calc 2.

As for you AnnoyingGirl, math in college is much different than math in high school. In college it's MUCH more about understanding the proof behind mathematical ideas, you are not only taught the ideas, you are taught where they come from and why they are considered correct. Also, you take things to much more advanced extremes. Yes, you'll learn basic trig in a pre-calc or calc course, but you won't learn what you need to learn about trig. (Furthermore, you won't be given the time you need to learn trig if you need to catch up in a math class that comes after trig.)

I consider myself far above average in math, but I would never trust in my math skills enough to skip a course. Each and every course in math or science is very high importance if you plan to succeed in the proceeding course. (Much more so than any other subjects that I know of.)

What would I recommend? I would recommend that you take a placement test and see where your math skills lie. Don't ever assume you are good enough to skip a class, especially if you are not 100% confident in your math skills as it is.

If your placement test says trig or anything higher, stick with trig and go from there. Trust me, if you stick with trig you'll find yourself around midterm breathing a sigh of relief that you didn't jump straight to calc instead.

(They don't offer a pre-calc course at my school, so I don't know how that fits in with the timeline, but I was able to succeed in calc with a trig class and a college algebra class as preparation. College algebra at my school may be called pre-calc in your school, if so, I would recommend you take both pre-calc and trig before you go on to calc. The sturdier foundation you have the better, because I promise you you will end up using each and every tiny detail about math that you've ever learned sometime in a future math class.)
 
  • #4


Go to khanacademy.com, scroll down to the math videos and start refreshing your memory. That's how I did it after initially assessing into math 111. Never let it be said that the military doesn't make you stupid. I forgot everything because I was wasting my time there.
 
  • #5


you answered it yourself. if people do not learn trig in high school then they have to learn it in college. same for euclidean geometry, algebra, writing,,,,,,,
 
  • #6


If I had my way about it, in high school they would have a dedicated trig course and an analytic geometry course and skip the AP calculus. Then the students entering college might actually be ready for calculus. As it is, I think the largest numbers of students are in remedial algebra when they enter.
 
  • #7


annoyinggirl said:
I don't want to waste a semester taking Trigonometry. Isn't Trigonometry included in Precalculus? I remember that in high school, there was a lot of Trigonometry in my Precalculus class. Why is there a separate class for Trig in college, but not in high school? Should I take Trig and PreCal or does Pre cal include Trig? I know I am not ready for Calculus, because I failed it twice (mostly because once because I was online too much, and once because I had too many units so I didn't have enough time to do math, but I remembered that I had a very difficult time when I really did sit down to study, because I didn't have the fundamentals and foundation of pre cal. I didn't struggle to derive equations; that was easy and straight forward. I could do that in my sleep. I did, however, struggle to manipulate equations, isolate variables, do trig functions on related problems, set a equation single variable, simply and factor equations, etc. Basically, I forgot everything but the Calculus.
Read the course descriptions in your school's course catalog carefully. That should give you your answer as to whether the school's Precalculus course contains Trig or not.

Each school will do things differently when it comes to offering precalculus courses. At my undergrad, there is only one Precalculus course (that contained Trig) and no separate Trig course. I am also aware of schools where they will offer separate, semester courses in College Algebra and Trig, and a third course that combines the two. (In many places, Precalculus = College Algebra + Trig.)

LCKurtz said:
If I had my way about it, in high school they would have a dedicated trig course and an analytic geometry course and skip the AP calculus. Then the students entering college might actually be ready for calculus. As it is, I think the largest numbers of students are in remedial algebra when they enter.

The high school I went to was part of a county school system that offered those courses. But only to the honors students. Students in the "honors" track had to take two math courses junior year if they wanted to take Calculus senior year. One was called "Trignometry/Analytic Geometry" and the other was "College Algebra." GT students (Gifted & Talented; I was in this track) took a single precalculus course that combined the two honors courses.
 
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  • #8


(Furthermore, you won't be given the time you need to learn trig if you need to catch up in a math class that comes after trig.)

Sure you will. I never took a trig class in my life. The only formal trig I had was about three weeks in a precalc class.
 

Related to Why is Trig Required in College but Not in High School?

1. Why is trigonometry required in college but not in high school?

Trigonometry is required in college because it is a fundamental branch of mathematics that is necessary for many science, engineering, and math-related fields of study. It provides a strong foundation for higher level math courses and is often used in various real-world applications.

2. Is trigonometry necessary for all college majors?

No, trigonometry is not required for all college majors. While it is important for fields such as engineering, physics, and math, it may not be necessary for majors in the humanities, social sciences, or arts.

3. Can I skip trigonometry in high school and still do well in college?

It is possible to skip trigonometry in high school and still do well in college, but it may put you at a disadvantage. Trigonometry builds upon algebra and geometry, and not having a strong understanding of these subjects may make it more challenging to learn trigonometry in college.

4. How is trigonometry used in real life?

Trigonometry is used in many real-life scenarios, including architecture, navigation, engineering, and astronomy. It helps in calculating distances, angles, and heights, and is also used in fields such as music and art.

5. Can I learn trigonometry on my own rather than taking a class in high school?

While it is possible to self-study trigonometry, it is generally recommended to take a class in high school to ensure a strong understanding of the subject. Trigonometry can be a challenging topic, and having a teacher and classmates to ask questions and discuss concepts with can be beneficial.

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