pre-calc tutoring

Pre-calc is technically just a warm-up for calculus. But it can be incredibly difficult and challenging in its own-right. Pre-calc is a course that is composed of other mathematics topics—namely trigonometry and algebra. However, in the case of pre-calc the trig & algebra are geared towards given the student a solid foundation to understand and excel at calculus.

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Pre-calc, Ap calc, & advanced calc are incredibly demanding courses.

students often struggle in calc courses.

this is sad because calculus is one of the most beautiful and thought-provoking courses in all of mathematics. Concepts such as “Rate of change” are super important & can even be life-changing ideas! 

At Math Tutor Denver, we know that solving difficult problems such as tangent and cosine can be super frustrating and even rage-inducing. We’ve been there ourselves. Math is really hard. And pre-calc can make even the best students lose hope. That’s why we’re are here, though! We are here to support you and your family and help make learning pre-calc much easier and much more stress-free.

“In my free time, I do differential and integral calculus.” – Karl Marx

it’s all about the unit circle 

the pre-calc solution

One of the most important concepts in pre-calc is The Unit Circle. It is the holy grail. The Unit Circle is a critical topic in trigonometry. The circle allows students to easily understand the relationships between sine, cosine, and tangent. 

At Math Tutor Denver, we frequently start working with students towards the end of their pre-calc classes when things aren’t going well. One of the first thing we always start asking about is the student’s understanding of the unit circle. Invariably, they don’t have a solid grasp of it. “Oh yeah, what’s that thing?” They normally ask. At this point we as tutors already know what’s going wrong for the student.

The Unit Circle is critical for quickly being able to determine the side lengths and angles of triangles, as well as determining the radius of circles. This brings us to the second key of pre-calc which is a solid understanding of triangles. If you remember from our geometry page, triangles are also a critical piece of understanding for geometry courses. 

It’s also going to be important to understand your identities, mainly your pythagorean and reciprocal identities. But the more identities that you know, the more quickly you will be able to solve problems and breeze through exams. 


When students finish their pre-calc courses and are getting ready to start AP calculus, there are a few important ideas they should understand well and feel very comfortable with.

First off, students taking AP calculus need to have demonstrated strong proficiency in algebra, geometry, and also trigonometry (pre-calc). 

On a more micro-level, students need to know the basics of linear equations and understand how to solve complex quadratic equations. Students should have a good understanding of the properties of exponents, which in reality is an 8th grade math topic—but one that many many high schoolers have forgotten entirely. AP calc students need to be very quick at using and recognizing the properties of exponents. 

Furthermore, understanding logarithms and reciprocals are important. 

Having prerequisite knowledge is actually one of the most over-looked and under-appreciated parts of calculus. This is because most of the problems that are given to you in calculus draw on trigonometry and pre-algebra. It’s not even the calculus concepts themselves that are always the most difficult—it’s understanding the examples that are presented to you. And most of the time those examples are based upon math that you learned a long time ago in elementary school, middle school, or early high school.  



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Feel free to email us anytime to ask more questions. We are always happy to chat about math education and algebra—regardless of whether or not you need tutoring! 

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