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Precalculus CLEP
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Precalculus CLEP Study Guide

Name of Exam: Precalculus CLEP

Number of Questions: 48

Time Limit: 90 Minutes

ACE Recommended Passing Score: 50

Practice Test Available?: Yes - Click here

Cost: $80 + Sitting Fee (Usually no more than $20) at your testing site. Military can take CLEPs for free with Tuition Assistance. Check with your Educational Officer!

Difficulty 1-5 : 4
(One being the easiest, and five being the hardest)

Alternatives: StraighterLine PreCalculus and ALEKS PreCalculus

Exam Description:

The Precalculus CLEP replaced the old College Algebra-Trigonometry CLEP as well as the full-fledged Trigonometry CLEP. The new exam heavily tests on your understanding of functions and their properties and includes the following: quadratic, absolute value, square root, rational, logarithmic, exponential, trigonometric, piecewise-defined, and inverse trigonometric.

Important! - There is an on-screen graphing calculator included that you will need for the first portion of this exam. CollegeBoard recommends that you download a free 30 day trial of the graphing calculator along with a tutorial in order to become familiar with its use. You can find that here.

You will need to know how to do the following with the above calculator:

  • Generate a table of values for a function
  • Find numerical solutions to equations
  • Perform calculations to include exponents, logarithms, roots, and trigonometric values
  • Find zeros of functions
  • Find minima/maxima of functions
  • Graph functions and analyze the graphs
  • Find points of intersection of graphs of functions

Personal Thoughts:

The idea of me actually teaching someone Precalculus is pretty funny. I have no qualms about being completely honest and saying that I have "not" taken this exam. My saving grace is that most of you who are thinking about taking this exam probably enjoy math, and are much further along the road of understanding than I am.

What I'm going to do is to list the topics you'll be tested on, give you some free resources and tutorials, and then get the heck out of the way. I think we'll both be better off that way.

Exam breakdown:

According to the College Board website, the Precalculus CLEP is broken down as follows:

30%Representations of Functions: Graphical, Symbolic, and Tabular
20%Algebraic Expressions, Equations, and Inequalities
15%Functions - Properties, Concept, and Operations
15%Trigonometry and its Application
10%Analytic Geometry
10%Functions as Models

Areas of Study

Representations of Functions: Symbolic, Graphical, and Tabular
(30% of the Precalculus CLEP )

  • Linear functions
  • Quadratic functions
  • Absolute value functions
  • Square root functions
  • Polynomial functions
  • Rational functions
  • Exponential functions
  • Logarithmic functions
  • Trigonometric functions
  • Inverse trigonometric functions
  • Piecewise-defined functions

Algebraic Expressions, Equations, and Inequalities
(20% of the Precalculus CLEP )

  • Algebraic expressions
  • Linear equations
  • Quadratic equations
  • Absolute value equations
  • Polynomial equations
  • Rational equations
  • Radical equations
  • Exponential equations
  • Logarithmic equations
  • Trigonometric equations
  • Nonlinear equations

Functions: Concept, Properties, and Operations
(15% of the Precalculus CLEP )

  • Domain
  • Range
  • Function notation
  • Evaluation
  • Inverse functions

Trigonometry and its Applications
(15% of the Precalculus CLEP )

  • Basic trigonometric functions
  • Inverse trigonometric functions
  • Basic trigonometric ratios and identities (in right triangles and on the unit circle)

Analytic Geometry
(10% of the Precalculus CLEP )

Analytic Geometry of:

  • Lines
  • Circle
  • Parabolas
  • Ellipse
  • Hyperbolas

Functions as Models
(10% of the Precalculus CLEP )

  • Symbolic Functions
  • Graphical Functions
  • Tabular Functions
  • Verbal Functions

Recommended Free Study Resources

See any of the below free resources to find the above topics. All of them are worth the time to review. Between the resources in the below list, you should be covered for the material on this exam.

The Math Page - Precalculus

MA 107 Lectures on DVD

Temple Virtual Precalculus Lessons


Analyze Math

Harvey Mudd College

John W. Bales - Precalculus Tutorial

On-line PreCalculus Tutorial Sites

MathWay Tool

Recommended bargain-priced study resources

Always check your library first! You may be able to find some of these for free. You don't have to buy the officially recommended resources all the time. If you're the type of person that prefers to study from a textbook source however, then please see below.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Precalculus - Haven't used it myself, but I've heard good things about it and it seems to be favorably liked on Amazon. This was at the local library, so you may want to check yours as well.

Pre-Calculus Demystified - Seems to be accepted as a great resource for the Precalculus CLEP.

Standard Deviants: Pre-Calculus, Vol. 1 - If learning by video is more your thing, then Standard Deviant has a DVD set for this very subject. It's comes in two parts, and this is the first volume.

Standard Deviants: Pre-Calculus, Vol. 2 - Volume two of the Standard Deviant Pre-Calculus DVD

InstantCert Academy - Precalculus Exam Feedback - Only one page of information here for the Precalculus CLEP, but it does provide some great resources. If you're already a subscriber I'd look it up. For non-subscribers you should run a forum search for Precalculus. There's quite a few posts in the free section that also give some feedback.

If you don't know what InstantCert is, then click here for the scoop as well as a discount code: **InstantCert Academy**

You'll find an InstantCert link for every exam here if that gives you an idea of the amount of information they have available. It's an outstanding resource.

Closing Thoughts

Once again, if you're thinking about taking this CLEP then you're probably a much bigger math fan than I am. I'm therefore hesitant to offer any words of wisdom because I don't have much to give on this subject. Suffice it to say that I wish you nothing but success, and I hope that the above resources help in some small way.

Best of luck!

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