The Course

AP Precalculus

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Course Overview

AP Precalculus prepares students for other college-level mathematics and science courses. Through regular practice, students build deep mastery of modeling and functions, and they examine scenarios through multiple representations. The course framework delineates content and skills common to college precalculus courses that are foundational for careers in mathematics, physics, biology, health science, social science, and data science.

The Benefits of AP Precalculus

AP Precalculus gives any student ready for high school precalculus the opportunity to earn college credit and/or placement and stand out to colleges. 

To learn more about the benefits of this new AP subject and find out how to offer it at your school, visit Adopt AP Precalculus.

Course and Exam Description

Course Resources

Course Content

The course framework included in the AP Precalculus Course and Exam Description is organized into four commonly taught units of study that offer one possible sequence for the course. 

Units 1, 2, and 3 are assessed on the end-of-course AP Exam and describe what students should know and be able to do to qualify for college credit or placement. Unit 4 is not assessed on the exam and describes additional topics you might include based on state or local requirements.

You have the flexibility to organize the course content as you like. You can also augment the framework to meet state and local requirements.  


Exam Weighting (Multiple-Choice Section)

Unit 1: Polynomial and Rational Functions


Unit 2: Exponential and Logarithmic Functions


Unit 3: Trigonometric and Polar Functions


Unit 4: Functions Involving Parameters, Vectors, and Matrices

Not assessed on the AP Exam

Mathematical Practices

The AP Precalculus framework outlines distinct skills, associated with three mathematical practices, that students should practice throughout the year—skills that will help them learn to think and act like mathematicians.



Exam Weighting (Overall)

1. Procedural and Symbolic Fluency

Algebraically manipulate functions, equations, and expressions.


2. Multiple Representations

Translate mathematical information between representations.


3. Communication and Reasoning

Communicate with precise language, and provide rationales for conclusions.


AP and Higher Education

Higher education professionals play a key role in developing AP courses and exams, setting credit and placement policies, and scoring student work.

The AP Higher Education section features research about AP, resources on evaluating AP courses for credit and placement, and information on how to get involved.

This chart shows recommendations for what cut score should be demonstrated to earn college credit and how many semesters of credit should be awarded. Your students can look up credit and placement policies for colleges and universities on the AP Credit Policy Search.

AP Precalculus Course Development

Every AP course is designed in consultation with college faculty and experienced high school teachers. In an ongoing effort to maintain alignment with best practices in college-level learning, AP courses and exams emphasize research-based curricula aligned with higher education expectations. College faculty and experienced high school teachers guide the development of the AP course framework, which defines what students must know and be able to do to earn a qualifying score on the AP Exam, thus conferring college credit or placement.

As part of the course development process for AP Precalculus, the AP Program gathered course research through examination of college syllabi, analysis of textbooks and pedagogical research, and content advisory sessions with college faculty. Then, an advisory board and writing team collaborated on the course framework based on these research inputs.

Meet the AP Precalculus Development Committee

The AP Program is unique in its reliance on Development Committees. These committees, made up of an equal number of college faculty and experienced secondary AP teachers from across the country, are essential to the preparation of AP course curricula and exams.