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

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

    Reply

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