O Level A-Math Trigonometry Basics : How Do We Know Which Formula To Use?

For the past month, other than being busy with the June Intensive Revision Programmes, I was also packed with Mid Year Exam Papers Review for my group of students.

I am pleased to announce that almost all see an improvement in their Mid Year Results (One boy has his grades jump from F9 to A2! Congrats, B!)

I was reviewing the school a-Math exam papers with one of my students during my A-Math Ultimate Leap Programme when she posted me a good question.

Let's take a look at her Trigonometry question first:

This was her solution for the question:

There is one misconception in her thoughts, can you spot it?

sin 3x is not equal to sin x + sin 2x!

In fact, the correct formula to choose for this question is

sin 3x = sin (2x + x)

= sin2xcosx + cos2xsinx

Her question was: how do you know which formula to use?

TIP: When the angle involved is ODD, we usually use addition formula (just like in this question).

When angle is EVEN, double angle formula is perhaps the correct one to choose.

Are you confused just like my student, which formula should be use? Leave me a comment.

I hope this post has made your understanding clearer :-)

Below is a list of useful posts on A-Math Trigonometry:

  1. How To Prove Trigonometry Identity
  2. A-Math Trigo Graphs
  3. More A-Math Trigo Graphs
  4. Drawing of Trigo Graphs

PS: I will be re-running A-Math Trigonometry Mastery Workshop in July as some students miss out the one in June due to other commitments. Registration is open! Click here for more details

Related Posts:

Hi, I'm Ai Ling Ong. I enjoy coaching students who have challenges with understanding and scoring in 'O' Level A-Maths and E-Maths. I develop Math strategies, sometimes ridiculous ideas to help students in understanding abstract concepts the fast and memorable way. I write this blog to share with you the stuff I teach in my class, the common mistakes my students made, the 'way' to think, analyze... If you have found this blog post useful, please share it with your friends. I will really appreciate it! :)

18 Responses to O Level A-Math Trigonometry Basics : How Do We Know Which Formula To Use?
  1. Danielle Relation
    July 10, 2009 | 2:47 pm

    I don't like math but as i realized, math is very useful in life! too bad that children don't realize this sooner


  2. desiree
    August 4, 2009 | 6:00 pm

    im still confuse...


    alwaysLovely Reply:

    What are you confused about?


    arun Reply:

    i bunked few of ma classes so got doubt in allied angles


  3. real
    August 10, 2009 | 6:11 pm

    Wow this was really informative! I didnt know about that haha


  4. Nguy?n ??c Tùng
    August 18, 2009 | 5:20 pm

    It is very Useful for me.


  5. sm
    September 11, 2009 | 12:41 am

    thanks this came out as a part of a question in my prelim now i noe how to do it =D


    alwaysLovely Reply:

    I'm glad you know how to do the question now!


  6. meera
    September 24, 2009 | 11:49 pm

    modulus graphs - method is so convenient.
    thank u very much


  7. ariane
    October 8, 2009 | 10:55 pm

    Hi, i am so happy to know you.I want to ask if i can also get information about A-LEVEL maths


  8. gautam
    October 28, 2009 | 4:51 am

    i am unable to understand this :(... plz explain in more detail or do it frm the basic plz....


  9. Pho Tharr
    November 27, 2009 | 7:10 pm

    It is useful for me! Thanks! Please send me another amazing things.


  10. Aayush
    March 23, 2010 | 5:20 pm

    why do i need a o levl maths for admission in a international university


  11. Joanan S. Sedano
    June 4, 2010 | 8:11 am

    Hi!! yes.. i was a bit confuse ..through your explaination, it beame clear now


  12. Darren
    July 14, 2010 | 1:36 am

    I just don't know about prove the identity,i don't understand how could it prove to be useful to our daily life..


  13. Darren
    July 14, 2010 | 1:48 am

    i don't know a bit about rate of change, could someone explain it via the same website??


  14. talha
    May 25, 2012 | 2:31 pm

    6&8 of june em gona attempt my cambridge finel exam and stii know i don't know about division


  15. Kash
    March 26, 2013 | 12:29 am

    I still don't get which formula you use if you want to find the length or an angle. Please help.


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