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Hi, could anyone help me understand the difference between algebra 2 + trig, precalc, and college algebra? I've seen people say that algebra 2 + trig and percalc are essentially the same thing, but I know that most highschoolers take both with a2+t one year and precalc the next. Then there is the fact that CLEP offers separate exams for College Algebra, and Precalculous, which further confuses me. If college algebra is not precalc, is it algebra 2, or something entirely different? The names may vary by region, we live in New York State if that helps. 


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Algebra 2 comes after Algebra 1

Algebra 2 with Trig has some chapters of Trigonometry at the end of the text-- in most cases it is not a full Trig program (but good intro).  The Trig in these helps students moving on to a good Physics class the following year as they may not get to the Trig part of Pre-Calc in time to coordinate with the needs of the Physics class.

After this the course names get a bit tricky!

At the high school level:

College Algebra is not Algebra 2-- it is a continuation of Algebra 2 and it is sometimes called 'Algebra 3'.  It is one semester of a Pre-Calc course.

Trig is Trig-- a one semester course the 2nd part of a Pre-Calc course

Calculus would come next if needed


At the college level they have even a wider variety of math courses depending on the requirements for different majors.

One of my daughters only had to take 'Algebra for College Students'-- this was a repeat of Algebra 2 mixed with part of a statistics class.

Pre-Calc comes in all sorts of flavors-- the students can tailor the class to their needs and abilities. A one semester Pre-Calc is most often a review...

Not all majors require Trig and Calculus-- usually only those that require physics (so most STEM)  For business majors they usually take Statistics and College Algebra then go to Business Calc --not the same as 'regular' or engineering calc (high school calculus is almost always engineering calc).


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