If you are thinking of taking precalculus next semester then you might be wondering how hard it will be.

The post will show you how hard precalculus is and what you can do to make it easier.

So, is precalculus hard in college? Precalculus can have a high failure rate depending on the college. You can expect it to be of a similar difficulty as college algebra if you took it already.

How hard precalculus will be for you will largely depend on a number of factors and there are a number of things that you can do to make it easier.

How hard precalculus is

It depends on what you already know

How difficult precalculus will be for you will depend a lot on what you already know.

If you took a lot of math classes in high school and did well on them then you should also be able to do well in precalculus.

Whereas, if you did not take many math classes in high school or you did not do well in them then you will need to put more effort into precalculus. With that being said, many people do enter precalculus without any prior knowledge and are able to do well in it but they also work harder.

It depends on the professor

The level of difficulty of the class will depend a lot on the professor that is teaching it.

The professor will, usually, dictate the pace of the class, what goes on exams and how much homework there is. Some professors will tell you to know everything from the book and others will give you a study guide.

Before picking a precalculus class it would help to look at what other students have said about the professor on ratemyprofessors.com. Make sure to schedule your classes as soon as you can since the recommended professors have their classes fill up quickly.

It depends on your interest in the subject

Another thing to consider is how much interest you have in math.

If you are not very interested in the subject then you will have a harder time in the class since it will be harder to motivate yourself to study. If that is the case then it would help to not just think about the class itself but also to consider what you’ll be able to get out of the class.

It will be a class that you will have to put effort into

Precalculus is a class that typically requires a lot of effort. Some of the concepts can be difficult to grasp and there tends to be a lot of homework that gets set.

In addition, there will be lots of different possible ways to ask similar questions so it will be helpful to have seen lots of variations of questions before exams.

Ways to make precalculus easier

There are a number of things that you can do to make precalculus go more smoothly that I will mention below.

Make sure to do well on the homework

The weighting that gets given to the homework can often be high in precalculus. Many students do not take the homework seriously. This is a mistake since doing well on the homework can help boost your grade and help you to do better on exams. While doing poorly on the homework will mean that you will have to do better on exams to make up for it.

You can ensure that you do well on the homework by reading the book before starting it, avoiding waiting until the day before it is due and using resources such as Google and Youtube to study parts that you get stuck on.

Plan the semester out early on

It is important to plan the schedule of the semester out during the first week of classes. By doing so you will be able to spot potentially demanding weeks ahead of time, avoid missing deadlines and know when you need to focus on certain classes.

Read the textbook before attempting the problems

Many students jump straight to the problems before reading the relevant chapter from the textbook in an effort to save time. The problem with this is that the professor might have skipped over sections and the questions will be based on what is in the textbook.

Instead, it will help you to understand the material better and to have an easier time doing the homework reading the textbook first.

Get help when necessary

It is important to get help when you really get stuck. By getting help you will be able to show the professor that you are putting an effort into the class, avoid having gaps in your knowledge on the exam and you will be able to have a higher homework grade.

However, while it is important to get help when you get stuck it is also important to try to figure out the solution yourself beforehand. This means that you should reread the relevant chapter, look at tutorials on Youtube and look at any lecture notes that you might have first.

Prioritize what the professor gives you

When preparing for exams it would help to make sure to understand any material that the professor gives you since it will often be very like to appear on the exam. After that, you will often find that questions similar to the homework questions will be common as well.

Prepare for the class in advance

One way to make precalculus much easier for yourself is to prepare for the class before taking it. By doing so you will be able to understand the lectures much more easily and you will be able to do better on the exams.

You can prepare by watching this Youtube series.


I created and currently manage College Corner. I received a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. My goal is to help current students do better in college and to help future students plan for college. You can read more about me and my website here.