Upon request by some students, I’ll discuss a few trigonometry formulae here and also some of their uses in A’levels. I’ve previously discussed the use of factor formulae here under integration.

I’ll start with the R-Formulae. It should require no introduction as it is from secondary Add Math. This formulae is not given in MF26, although students can derive it out using existing formulae in MF26.

$a \text{cos} \theta \pm b \text{sin} \theta = R \text{cos} (\theta \mp \alpha)$

$a \text{sin} \theta \pm b \text{cos} \theta = R \text{sin} (\theta \pm \alpha)$

where $R = \sqrt{a^2 + b^2}$ and $\text{tan} \alpha = \frac{b}{a}$ for $a > 0, b > 0$ and $\alpha$ is acute.

Here is a quick example,

$f(x) = 3 \text{cos}t - 2 \text{sin}t$

Write $f(x)$ as a single trigonometric function exactly.

Here, we observe, we have to use the R-Formulae where

$R = \sqrt{3^2 + 2^2} = \sqrt{13}$

$\alpha = \text{tan}^{\text{-1}} (\frac{2}{3})$

We have that

$f(x) = \sqrt{13} \text{cos} ( t + \text{tan}^{\text{-1}} (\frac{2}{3}))$.

I’ll end with a question from HCI Midyear 2017 that uses R-Formulae in one part of the question.

A curve D has parametric equations

$x = e^{t} \text{sin}t, y = e^{t} \text{cos}t, \text{~for~} 0 \le t \le \frac{\pi}{2}$

(i) Prove that $\frac{dy}{dx} = \text{tan} (\frac{\pi}{4} - t)$.

I’ll discuss about Factor Formulae soon.  And then the difference and application between this two formulae.

• […] to share more on factor Formulae today. However, a few students are not so sure how to get the R-formulae correctly during their preliminary exams recently. So I thought that I’ll share how they can […]

• […] R-Formulae seems to be popular about the prelims this time round, making waves in various schools. Perhaps it was because it appeared in the specimen paper, and if you’re keen on how it can be integrated or need a refresher. I did it recently here. […]