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I’m currently at the end of my sophomore year and i’m on track to take pre calculus my junior year but I want to be able to take Calculus BC my senior year so I have two choice either take pre calculus at a college during the summer or just self study on my own. I’m leaning towards self studying because I don’t wanna pressure myself into a college class and i’m confident that I can learn everything that I will need next year on my own. The only thing that is holding me back is that skipping a math class might look bad in my college transcript. Does it matter? Or does it look good or bad?

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• a year ago[edited]

No, it does not however, my advice is not to get ahead of your skis which is a saying like don't bite off more than you can chew.

If you take AP Calc AB without Pre-calc as a foundational course, you might get clobbered and struggle and get a B or C and do poorly on the AP exam. Colleges would rather like to see the progress in STEM courses sequentially and get high marks on both the class work and the test scores.

So if your Math course rigor looks like Algebra 2, Geometry, Pre-Calc, AP Calc AB with As and a 5 on the AP exam, that looks better than not being able to get As in AP Calc AB/BC and high marks on the AP exams.

One thing I can recommend doing is taking Pre-Calc like everyone else in your class Junior year and then during the summer between Jr and Sr. take a summer Calculus score at a community college or outlier.org which will allow you to take AP Calc B/C in Senior year. Just make sure you get the approval to do so ahead of time.

Over the past 5 years or so, the trend for really gifted STEM students is to take PreCalc in 10th grade, then AP Calc A/B 11th and AP Calc B/C 12th. Some advanced students can take A/B/C concurrently during 11th and leave 12th grade to take classes like Differential Equations, Real Analysis, DIscrete Math, Multivariable Calc, and others.

One thing to keep in mind is top STEM schools like MIT and CalTech give you ZERO AP credit for most of your STEM APs so as part of their graduation requirements, you will have to take Calculus, Physics, etc all over again as Freshman or Sophomore anyway.

Good luck

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Unweighted GPA:** 3.7**

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SAT: **720 math**

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