Get out your calculators for AP Precalculus

New Math AP Course for 2023-2024 School Year


Benjamin Saperstein

Students may begin selecting AP Precalculus on this year’s course selection sheet

Of the dozens of AP courses currently offered by the College Board, only three of them are dedicated to math: AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, and AP Statistics. Having been in development since 2021, AP Precalculus will be added to that list starting in the 2023-2024 school year.

   According to the College Board, this course was designed to address students’ lack of readiness for college level mathematics. Around a third of all American college students invest time and money towards remedial math courses that do not contribute to their degree. Taking any precalculus class in high school increases a student’s likelihood of completing a bachelor’s degree by 155%, and AP Precalculus will allow students to explore the topics in greater depth while earning college credit. Not only will AP Precalculus help students prepare directly for more advanced math courses like calculus, but it also builds foundational skills that are applicable in a range of fields.

   In past years at Bloomfield Hills High School, students who would like to take precalculus could enroll in either the regular or honors level. Starting next year, however, AP Precalculus will be offered as a replacement to Honors Precalculus. Although administration doesn’t make staff instructional decisions until later, it is likely that the current Honors Precalculus teacher Mrs. DeAngelis will cover the new course. “Administration can always change a teacher’s teaching assignment any time before the school year begins,” she explains. “But I certainly hope I get to teach AP Precalculus as I initiated the course change for next school year as a replacement to Honors Precalculus.” In preparation for next year, Mrs. DeAngelis hopes to attend a four-day summer institute focused around AP Precalculus.

   As it stands now, the AP Precalculus curriculum will be divided into four units, and all are designed to be covered over instructional periods of around seven weeks each. The topics require a strong basis in algebraic skills and concepts, so the course should be taken by students who have already found success in previous math classes. According to Mrs. DeAngelis, “Students that successfully passed Honors Algebra 2 last year and would have signed up for Honors Precalculus should sign up for AP Precalculus.” 

  While the content covered in Honors Precalculus and AP Precalculus will be nearly identical, the primary difference between the two classes lies in the AP exam. Like all other AP courses, students will spend the entire year preparing to demonstrate their knowledge on a three-hour cumulative exam. This test will consist of 48 multiple-choice questions—with 12 being calculator active—and four free-response questions, two of which are calculator active. A score of three out of five is considered passing, but colleges will vary on which scores will be counted for credit. “I believe that the College Board offering another opportunity for students to earn college credit before entering college is fantastic!” says Mrs. DeAngelis.