AP Precalculus

Learn all about the course and exam. Already enrolled? Join your class in My AP.

Not a Student?

Go to AP Central for resources for teachers, administrators, and coordinators.

About the Course

Taking AP Precalculus prepares you for other college-level mathematics and science courses. During the course, you’ll explore everyday situations using mathematical tools and lenses. You’ll also develop an understanding of modeling and functions, and examine scenarios through multiple representations. The course framework outlines content and skills needed for careers in mathematics, physics, biology, health science, social science, and data science.

Skills You'll Learn

  • Algebraically manipulating functions, equations, and expressions

  • Translating mathematical information between representations

  • Communicating with precise language, and providing rationales for conclusions

Equivalency and Prerequisites

College Course Equivalent

A college precalculus course or a college algebra with trigonometry course.

Recommended Prerequisites

You should have successfully completed introductory algebra and geometry courses. In particular, you should be able to demonstrate proficiency with linear functions, polynomial addition and multiplication, factoring quadratic trinomials, using the quadratic formula, solving right triangle problems involving trigonometry, solving linear and quadratic equations and inequalities, algebraic manipulation of linear equations and expressions, and solving systems of equations in two and three variables. You should also be familiar with piecewise-defined functions, exponential functions and rules for exponents, radicals (e.g., square roots, cube roots), and complex numbers. 

Exam Date

Mon, May 13, 2024

12 PM Local

AP Precalculus Exam

This is the regularly scheduled date for the AP Precalculus Exam.

About the Units

The course content outlined below is organized into commonly taught units of study that provide one possible sequence for the course. Your teacher may choose to organize the course content differently based on local priorities and preferences.

Course Content

Unit 1: Polynomial and Rational Functions

You’ll expand your understanding of polynomial and rational functions through the lenses of modeling and various rates of change.

Topics may include: 

  • Describing how quantities change with respect to each other
  • Describing end behavior of polynomial and rational functions
  • Identifying asymptotes of and holes in the graphs of rational functions
  • Modeling aspects of scenarios using polynomial and rational functions
  • Identifying assumptions and limitations of function models

On The Exam

30%–40% of multiple-choice section score 

Unit 2: Exponential and Logarithmic Functions

You’ll deepen your understanding of inverses by exploring the relationship between exponential and logarithmic functions.

Topics may include: 

  • Relating geometric sequences and exponential functions
  • Modeling data sets with exponential functions
  • Composing functions and finding inverses
  • Modeling scenarios with logarithmic functions
  • Validating a function model using a residual plot

On The Exam

27%–40% of multiple-choice section score 

Unit 3: Trigonometric and Polar Functions

You’ll model and explore periodic phenomena using transformations of trigonometric functions.

Topics may include: 

  • Relating right triangle trigonometry to the sine, cosine, and tangent functions
  • Modeling data and scenarios with sinusoidal functions
  • Using inverse trigonometric functions to solve trigonometric equations
  • Graphing functions using polar coordinates
  • Describing how angles and radii change with respect to each other in a polar graph

On The Exam

30%–35% of multiple-choice section score 

Unit 4: Functions Involving Parameters, Vectors, and Matrices

You’ll expand your understanding of the function concept by exploring a variety of new function types.

Topics may include: 

  • Describing how quantities change with respect to each other in a parametric function
  • Graphing conic sections using implicitly defined functions and parametric functions
  • Using vectors to describe motion of an object
  • Describing the impact of a transformation matrix on a graphical object
  • Modeling change in a context using matrices  

On The Exam

Not Assessed on the AP Exam

Credit and Placement

Search AP Credit Policies

Find colleges that grant credit and/or placement for AP Exam scores in this and other AP courses.

Course Resources

See Where AP Can Take You

AP Precalculus can lead to a wide range of careers and college majors

Career Areas 151
Majors 83