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West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

AP Precalculus breakdown

A look at the newest AP class offered by the college board, Precalculus.
How+has+the+curriculum+for+AP+precalculus+changed%3F
Abby Guo
How has the curriculum for AP precalculus changed?

The new 2023-2024 school year brings new clubs, classes, sports and teachers. Among these additions is an AP course that’s replacing Precalculus Honors, AP Precalculus.

There has been some debate over why this new class was added by the college board. Some people have been saying it’s a cash grab because Precalculus isn’t an actual college course. So, why did it become an AP? One main reason, according to the college board, is to provide an introduction to other AP math classes, such as AP Calculus or AP Statistics. It’s also meant to reduce the amount of students that need to take remedial math in college.

“Usually, people will take advanced algebra [in college] because they couldn’t place into one of those other courses [Calculus or Statistics]. AP Precalculus is remediation to make sure they got the content that they needed,” Emily Carrizales said, the teacher for AP Precalculus.

Since Precalculus is technically a high school course, getting credit on the AP exam won’t fulfill the math requirement in college. However, it could count towards elective credit. The class itself will be weighed on a 5-point scale, like all other APs, which can help boost students’ GPAs.

I’m happy that this year’s students have a bit of a cushion.

— Emily Carrizales

“They can try, struggle, not get an A and still get a four [4.0 GPA],” said Mrs. Carrizales. “I’m hoping it helps with stress and mental health in my room. I think last year, with honors kids, they got stressed because they had to get an A to get their four, otherwise, it would hurt their GPA. I feel like the work level [of Precalculus] deserves that kind of cushion.”

The new course will include some new material that hasn’t been taught in previous years and exclude some content that has been taught in previous years. Half of the AP Precalculus AP test also requires calculators. This is a big change from Precalculus Honors because calculator use on most tests wasn’t allowed. However, the difficulty of the course seems to be the same or easier than Precaculus Honors.

“I don’t think it’s that much different compared to my past math classes,” said Daniel Tirgardoun, ’25.

Taylor Ajax ’25 agreed. “It doesn’t really feel like an AP. All our tests are not multiple choice or FRQ’s, like how you feel like they would be in an AP class.”

Despite the mandated curriculum, the main purpose of the class will still be to prepare students for more advanced math classes.

“I’m hoping that I can make sure that students are at the same level of readiness as we have had in the past because a lot of students were really ready for AP Calculus when they left Precalculus Honors,” said Mrs. Carrizales. “I don’t want it to dip that way. I want to make sure everybody’s at the same level of readiness.”

AP precalculus test times by Abby Guo
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About the Contributor
Abby Guo
Abby Guo, Video Editor
(she/her) Abby is a junior at West and this is her second year on staff. She is the Video Editor for the WSS. In her free time, she likes to hang out with her friends and listen to music on full volume.
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