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Is precalculus in college hard?

in this post, we’ll discuss precalculus in college and discover if it bad idea or not. In addtion respond to some famous questions people ask about this topic.

Is precalculus hard in college?

precalculus is not hard in college if we compared it to other math College topics like calculus and linear algebra.  students can take precalculus in high school before College to liberate themselves from additional hard work.

but it is still the hardest topic you can take in high school after algebra 2 or algebra 3 which students are forced to take to succeed in calculus subjects. Meaning without precalculus you could not study the other following courses like calculus 1 and calculus 2.

Pre-calculus will be hard for students who have not yet studied well in previous high school courses like algebra 1 students take in the 7 or 8th grade and algebra 2 you take in the 11th grade. Having trouble in these subjects will mean automatically suffering in precalculus and finding it more difficult.

In contrast, if you have a good level and did a good job in algebra 1 and algebra 2, you won’t face problems and spend less time studying precalculus compared to students who have every once have to go back and restudy what they have missed in previous courses to understand precalculus.

is precalculus required for college?

Yes, precalculus is required for college if you decide to study stem majors like math, physics, and engineering. Students can take precalculus in high school and in college, it is so essential to ensure that students have enough knowledge about math, especially algebra and trigonometry.

Pre-calculus is required for college because it prepares students to study more advanced math subjects like calculus and college algebra. In precalculus, college students take a course that summarizes algebra, trigonometry, and some basic topics required for calculus 1 subject.

So precalculus is there, in college and high school, and you have a chance to take it in both cases. But we recommend taking it early to avoid more overload and stress letting room for preparing more important calculus topics like calculus subjects.

you could read this related article: calculus vs precalculus.

Can I take calculus without precalculus in college?

You can’t take calculus without precalculus in college, you must complete a precalculus course before taking calculus which normally is calculus 1 afterward. You can’t understand calculus topics. if you don’t have previous knowledge and experience studying or taking precalculus courses in college.

The goal of precalculus is to prepare students for more advanced math subjects, especially calculus. 

In calculus course students study 4 pillars subjects that are:

so before studying these subjects you will need to have solid basics in algebra and some introductions about these topics in order to absorb calculus subjects.

For instance, in the first topics “ limits and continuity “students study it first part or introductory in precalculus and then expand on it in calculus courses. So you can take or understand this subject without taking precalculus before.

In addtion, derivates, and integrals are subjects that need to have a solid background in limits and continuity. So it is impossible to study derivatives without having already studied limits and continuity so each one must follow the right order.

So you can’t skip precalculus and go directly to calculus, even if the college allows that you will mostly fail in the upcoming calculus courses.

Is it bad to take precalculus in college?

It is bad for students to take precalculus in college, most educators recommend studying precalculus earlier in high school between the grade of 11th and 12 to have more time and prepare for college. 

We’re going to notice the 2 main reasons why it is bad to take precalculus in college:

1 – time

At college students should focus and begin to take calculus courses to accelerate and validate quickly their math model including calculus and college algebra. So if you decide to let a precalucus until you get a college, you will need to delay all calculus calsses until you take and succeed in the precalculus course.

Because you can’t skip precalculus and get directly to calculus. This process is not quick it takes time and effort, so don’t expect to take a precalucus today and validate it in the next week, at least it will take you 3 months which means a lost time must be deployed in another class.

so if you’d taken a precalucus class in high school you will be studying calculus 1 instead of precalucus.

2 – stressful 

Some students decide to take an alternative plan or strategy which is taking precalculus and calculus 1 at the same time. taking this strategy is high risk and could lead you to bun out.

It is very very hard to study at the same time precalculus and calculus you will have a lot of load and topics to understand.

In addtion, it is not efficient because most of the calculus topics are based on precalculus so you will be going back and forth between precalculus and calculus which is not fluent and comfortable at all.

A few of the students succeed with this plan especially when you have other subjects and college modules to validate, so your concentrations are split between many tasks.


if you haven’t yet reached college, is better to take precalculus before right now if you are in the 11th or 12th grade. You could also take a precalculus course as a summer course before you join college.

if you are in a college, the best thing we recommend is to focus on the precalculus course and then take calculus later. slowly but surely.