# Does AP Calculus use Trig?

I am a sophmore in HS and I want to know if I need to take Trig in order to understand it. If I take Honors Calc instead of Honors Trig… should it matter?

Calculus uses trigonometry a lot. Like, a whole lot. If you’re not comfortable with trigonometry, you’re going to be in trouble in a calculus class.

But that may not mean that you need to take the trig class. If honors calculus is designed to be taken instead of honors trig, they will probably teach you the necessary trigonometry.

The best thing to do would be to talk to some of the math teachers and see what they think. They know the curriculum better than we do and can give more specific advice.

What parts of trig?

I know some basics and i can learn the rest independently… and I already know polar cordinates…

What ultrafilter said. And I’ll add…

I suppose theoretically you could sneak through calculus without having had trig. However, you’ll soon be asked to solve integrals and take derivatives of expressions involving the trig functions (sine, cosine, tangent, etc.) and it will help greatly to have a sense of what they measure, to visualize how they behave relative to each other, and to know their special features — for example, where the zero crossings are, the maxima and minima, and so on.

You will also need to know at least some of the common trig identities: how to rewrite or simplify arbitrary expressions of trig functions in terms of other trig functions.

Basically, you need trig to do calculus. Sorry.

All of it.

It’s definitely possible to learn trigonometry independently, and there will undoubtedly be a review in the beginning, so you may not need the class if you’re sufficiently motivated.

Like I said before, talk to the teachers and see what they have to say.

Yeah. I took AP Calc AB last year, and we used trig quite frequently. I can’t see you getting a 5 on the AP without some knowledge of trig.

I’m a junior taking AP Calculus. You’ll need a thorough understanding of trig, trust me. In fact, at my school and all other schools I’ve heard of, trig is a prerequisite for taking any Calculus- honors or AP.

Well here is the wrench in the monkey, I have had something that is called “Honors Advanced Math” which is basiclly Pre-Calc and some basics of Trig… the only prerequisite for AP Calc is that we have either Trig or HAM… and I have taken HAM… Is anyone familar with both courses?

Read about trig independently, its not very hard. You will need it for calculus however, so don’t ignore it. I recommend taking the most difficult classes your school offers, challenges are what hone your skills.

Calculus is honestly easier than alot of the math that precedes it. Just get into the right mindset and understand what it is an integral or a derivative really is and you’ll breeze through it even if you don’t know trigonometry / algebra thoroughly.

If you meet all the prereqs, then I’ll suppose you’ll have learned all that’s required for the class - at least to the standards of whoever designed it. Definitely ask a teacher.

I’ll affirm that it’s thoroughly possible to learn trigonometry on your own; I’ve never taken a trig class, and I’ve done fine in calc so far. In fact, if you know the basics, you’ll probably be able to learn all you’ll need for AP calc in a week of study.

I think this is about all the trig you need to know for elementary calculus:

http://www.krellinst.org/UCES/archive/resources/trig/node60.html

http://www.krellinst.org/UCES/archive/resources/trig/node61.html

http://www.krellinst.org/UCES/archive/resources/trig/node62.html

You also need to be very comfortable working in radians. Degrees have no place in Calculus. But if you can tell me, say, cos(3pi/4), you’re probably in good shape.