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Homework Help: How to remmember these trigonometric formulas

  1. Dec 5, 2009 #1
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 5, 2009 #2
    Do not memorize these formulas, it is a bad habit to memorize so many basic formulas. What you should do instead is to memorize only a few basic formulas and then train yourself to be able to derive most of the formulas on that page within one minute.

    E.g. I only use these formulas:

    sin^2(x) + cos^2(x) = 1

    sin(2x) = 2 sin(x) cos(x)

    cos(2x) = 2 cos^2(x) - 1

    sin(x+y) = sin(x)cos(y) + cos(x)sin(y)

    cos(x+y) = cos(x)cos(y) - sin(x)sin(y)

    Then, if I want to write sin(a) + sin(b) in a product form, I look at the formula

    sin(x+y) = sin(x)cos(y) + cos(x)sin(y)

    and I then immediately see that you need to consider
    sin(x+y) +sin(x-y) after which you can put a = x+y and b = x - y. So, we have:

    sin(a) + sin(b) = 2 sin[(a+b)/2]cos[(a-b)/2]

    I can do this in 15 seconds in my head, so why on Earth would I want to remember this and the other formulas?
  4. Dec 8, 2009 #3


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    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Hi estu2! :smile:

    Yes, you do need to memorise these formulas.

    I remember it this way:

    Sum or difference of sin always has a cos and a sin, just as in sin(A±B).

    Sum or difference of cos always has two coses or two sines, just as in cos(A±B).

    And a sum doesn't depend on the order, so it has to have cos the difference, which also doesn't; while a difference does, so it has to have sin the difference, which also does. :wink:
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