Certain GCSE maths topics seem to cause more problems than others. Trigonometry seems to be one of the maths topics that many students do not like. When doing your GCSE maths revision allow plenty of time for trigonometry and try to master the concept. Here is a strategy that you can use for your GCSE maths revision that may help you decide which trigonometrical formula to use.
The first step is to draw the diagram. Put the measurements that you have been given on to the diagram. Ensure that you label the right angle. Often these things will have been done already.
The next thing to do is to mark in the measurement that you have been asked to calculate, call it “x”. It could be an angle or a side.
The next step is to find the side that is opposite the right angle and mark it “H” for hypotenuse.
The next step is to find the side opposite the angle which is either marked “x”, because it is to be calculated, or has a value, because it is to be used to calculate the length of one of the sides. Mark this side “O” for opposite.
The next step is to mark the third side “A” for adjacent.
Now decide which two sides are needed for the calculation. These will either be the two sides for which you have measurements or one side for which you have a measurement and the one marked “x”.
The two sides will either be “A” and “O” (use the formula for Tan) or “A” and “H” (use the formula for Cos) or “O” and “H” (use the formula for Sin).
Write down the formula you are going to use and fill in the values you know. You should then be able to calculate the missing value.
This procedure may seem lengthy but if you get into the habit of using it when you are doing your GCSE maths revision it will become second nature and should ensure that you always use the correct trigonometrical formula.
If you have found trigonometry to be hard, this may simplify things. Breaking a procedure into logical steps can make things easier. When doing your GCSE maths revision ensure that you set aside time to master this topic. Trigonometry is always tested in at least one of the GCSE maths exams, so ensure that you give yourself the opportunity to score full marks on this particular maths topic.