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Taking Trigonometry Again

  1. Jul 15, 2011 #1
    I wasn't sure what to title this thread, so I apologise if it is misleading.

    I took trigonometry in high school and remember the fundamental things (unit circle, identities, sohcahtoa, right triangles, the law of sines, cosines, etc.). I have been able to handle trigonometry in calculus, but I still feel a little uneasy about my trig knowledge and would like to take the course again. I was thinking about taking it next semester along with calculus III, but I am wondering how this will come across to graduate schools reviewing my transcript--especially since I'm taking trig after my second year of calc. Would this be unfavorable? I have tried to study trig using several books but have not found any that go at the pace I need, so I have trouble with self study. I think taking an actual class would be beneficial.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 15, 2011 #2
    I am having a difficult time remembering what else was there besides what you have already mentioned in basic trigonometry. Certainly, there are some other topics like inverse trig functions, sec/csc/cot, and some application problems (angular velocity, etc), but they were just applications of what you have already mentioned. So if you know the basics well, you should be fine.

    But you did fine in Calc I and II, right? Then you probably know trigonometry about as much as some other peers in your class. Do you think trigonometry was one of the weakest point in these courses?

    I am assuming trigonometry was a pre-req for calc I, so taking it along with calc III would look very silly on your transcript. The grad schools probably won't care too much (they are more concerned about your performance in upper-division courses), but they will think why in world you bothered to take trigonometry again, instead of taking other interesting courses. Also, I don't think you can get a credit for that trig course since you have already taken calc I; at my school, you can't get a credit from a math class if you have taken a course that lists the course as a pre-req.

    I am not sure what the real problem is here, but let me suggest one thing: How are you reading those textbooks? You cannot read a math textbook like you would read a novel; you need to have a pen and a scratch paper near by so that you are ready to write stuff down. For example, if you were reading a worked-out example, and you got lost on how expression A became expression B, you should try to fill in the blank by yourself. You need to read a math textbook actively, and not passively.

    If you are already doing this, and still is not working out, you might want to get a tutor. It costs money, but it is probably less expensive and less time-consuming than actually taking a class in it.

    Finally, have you tried out some study aids (e.g. Schaum's outline, cliff notes)? You can probably get them pretty cheap. I also found this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21KMKz1FWK0" online; not sure how good this is (I have not watched it), but there are probably a lot more if you do some searching. There are millions of resources out there for cheap (or even free!), so I am sure there are something that fits your need.

    Don't take the class again; you probably know more than what you think you know :wink:
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2017
  4. Jul 15, 2011 #3
    Thanks so much for your response PieceOfPi :biggrin:
    Yeah, I'm fine with inverse function arcsine, arctangent,etc. and the other things you mentioned.

    Yes I did well in calc I and II. I wouldn't say it was a weak point in the sense that it affected my grades...some of my highest exam scores were on trig integrals etc, BUT I found myself reviewing some things and I feel as if I don't have the same mastery over it as algebra. For example when considering some problems with the inverse functions I have to draw things out and cannot do it all in my head. Application of trig to vectors was a breeze, but anytime trig is mentioned I feel a little uneasy:blushing: Plus I want to be an astrophysicist and I am super worried that the basic trig I know is not enough and I need to know trig to the same level of mastery as algebra. I think this last statement is the core of my concerns.

    Yes I was also thinking it would look silly. I don't mind not getting the credit as I am mainly taking it for review/mastery.

    Thanks PieceOfPi :)
    My real issue is I want to read everything because I do not want to miss anything, but I become disinterested when reviewing things I know...so I try to skim, but then I feel as if I am missing things. I think if I take a class that is graded I will endure the review of things I already know because I know I will be graded. But considering the things we've discussed here....I think maybe I will just do trig on thinkwell....still I am worried that I will be missing something lol -_-

    I'll consider what you have said here for the rest of the day and let you know what I decide. I actually added the trig course to my schedule yesterday but it is not too late to drop it.

    I wonder if I am wanting more out of trig than what there actually is, but I still think a review is in order. In high school we spent a lot of time doing problems on the calculator, and I am more interested in the geometry and theory surrounding trig--I think this is where I am lacking info.

    Sorry if this is a bit of a ramble.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2017
  5. Jul 15, 2011 #4
    Have you considered taking trig at a community college? It would be far cheaper than taking it at your university. Plus, if the class is for review I don't believe the CC transcript needs to be sent to your original school.
  6. Jul 15, 2011 #5
    Well I am currently at a "state" college lol. Not that I wasn't accepted to a university >_> I was accepted, but the online courses and cost of the college are more convenient for me. Thus whatever I take will be on my official transcript.
  7. Jul 15, 2011 #6
    Don't worry about that too much. I remember some formula's just find, but when confronted to a problem like writing [itex]\cos(x)+\sin(x)[/itex] as a product, I always need to go look things up. Trig formula's have a half life of 1 hour: you forget half of it in 1 hour time :biggrin:

    If you ask my advice, don't take the trig course. You can always review it in your spare time. Take a Schaum's outline and solve many exercises. Really, the only way to get good in trig is to make many exercises!! If you want challenges, I can probably invent a few for you :devil:

    It's probably true that astrophysicists will use lots of trig. But you'll get used to it. If you have to use trig a lot in applications, you will soon start knowing these things.

    Judging from your posts, your problem isn't the theory, it seems you know that very well. But maybe you have a lack of exercises. So try to make lots of exercises :smile:
  8. Jul 15, 2011 #7

    :biggrin::biggrin::biggrin::biggrin::biggrin: Starting August 1st? :)
    Thanks for the diagnosis Dr. Math :biggrin: also your comment about astrophysics and applications made me feel a LOT better. And thanks so much PieceOfPi and Wellesley.

    I will drop the trig class and probably get the thinkwell trig along with a free textbook somewhere. I have a little break between summer and fall terms so I will concentrate on this then. I really appreciate everyone's input :)
  9. Jul 15, 2011 #8

    I like Serena

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    Homework Helper

    some more input
  10. Jul 15, 2011 #9
    lololol thanks for the input I like Serena :tongue2:
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