Precalculus: At a Glance
Description of the Examination
Te CLEP® Precalculus examination assesses student mastery
of skills and concepts required for success in a ﬁrst-semester
calculus course. A large portion of the exam is devoted to testing
a student’s understanding of functions and their properties.
Many of the questions test a student’s knowledge of speciﬁc
properties of the following types of functions: linear, quadratic,
absolute value, square root, polynomial, rational, exponential,
logarithmic, trigonometric, inverse trigonometric and piecewise
deﬁned. Questions on the exam will present these types of
functions symbolically, graphically, verbally or in tabular form.
A solid understanding of these types of functions is at the core
of all precalculus courses, and it is a prerequisite for enrolling in
calculus and other college-level mathematics courses.
A graphing calculator, which is integrated into the exam soFware,
is available to students only during Section 1 of the exam.
Students are expected to know how and when to make use of it.
Te graphing calculator, together with a brief tutorial, is available
to students as a free download for a 30-day trial period. Students
are expected to become familiar with its functionality prior to
taking the exam. ±or more information about downloading
the practice version of the graphing calculator, please visit the
Precalculus exam description on the CLEP website,
Te examination contains approximately 48 questions, in two
sections, to be answered in 90 minutes.
• Section 1: 25 questions, 50 minutes. Te use of an
graphing calculator (non-CAS)
is allowed for this section.
Only some of the questions will require the use of the calculator.
• Section 2: 23 questions, 40 minutes. No calculator is allowed
for this section. Although most of the questions on the exam
are multiple choice, there are some questions that require
students to enter a numerical answer.
Knowledge and Skills Required
Questions on the examination require candidates to demonstrate
the following abilities:
• Recalling factual knowledge and/or performing routine
• Solving problems that demonstrate comprehension of
mathematical ideas and/or concepts
• Solving nonroutine problems or problems that require insight,
ingenuity or higher mental processes
Te subject matter of the Precalculus examination is drawn from
the following topics. Te percentages next to the topics indicate
the approximate percentage of exam questions on that topic.