Mathematics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people studying math at any level and professionals in related fields. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

enter image description here

I simplified $1 + \sec^2 x$ to

$1 + 1/\cos^2 x$ then

$2/\cos^2 x$ but I am stuck here.

share|cite|improve this question
$\sin^2 x + \cos^2 x=1 $ , so : $C$ – pedja Apr 25 '12 at 2:47
Oh dear. You cannot add $1$ and $\dfrac{1}{\cos ^2 x}$ without getting a common denominator! It's close to D and E, but neither of those. Can you see why it's close? – The Chaz 2.0 Apr 25 '12 at 2:48
Guess the socratic method loses to spoonfeeding... – The Chaz 2.0 Apr 25 '12 at 2:49
@TheChaz nice :D – Vadim Apr 25 '12 at 2:57
Test of Math as a Foreign Language? – Vadim Apr 25 '12 at 3:02
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Generally, what I usually do in such multiple choice questions (if I don't know how to advance) is work backwards from the given options and see which one is consistent with the question. And it is no surprise that only one of the answers will turn out to be the correct one!
Do the same here.
But lets be clever and try out the options which have a $\sec^2{x}$. (But do note that this method isn't the best method since your $\sec^2{x}$ could later appear out of other trig ratios too. To save time, we go for the ones containing $\sec^2{x}$. If this doesn't work then we shall try the other options).

The options we will try out are , thus $A$, $B$ and $C$.

$A$ doesn't seen to work here because there is no simple relation between $\csc^2 x$ and $\sec^2x.$ It is inconclusive, but this most likely, isn't the answer.

$B$ Same seems to be the case here. If $\sec^2x+\sin^2x-\cos^2x=\sec^2x+1$ this would mean that $\sin^2x-\cos^2x=1$ . Which is not true.
$\sin^2x+\cos^2x=1$ is the correct identity. (which is what we have in $C$)

$C$ is very similar to $B$ but it is actually better than $B$. From the definition of a unit circle we have that $\sin^2x+\cos^2x=1$. If you look at the expression in $C$ you see a $\sin^2x+\cos^2x$ in it. So the expression can thus be reduced as $$\sec^2x+\underline{\sin^2x+\cos^2x}=\sec^2x+\underline{1}$$
Thus $C$ is your correct answer.

This wasn't a very difficult problem, but I hope this answer helps you solve Multiple Choice questions better. This strategy is particularly useful when you are stuck with the question. No matter how difficult (or easy) the problem may be, it usually works (it does for me!)

share|cite|improve this answer


share|cite|improve this answer
The centering really makes it. – Austin Mohr Apr 25 '12 at 3:01
@Austin: Double dollars signs! Maybe I should have colored it... – The Chaz 2.0 Apr 25 '12 at 3:01
@TheChaz Can you also add some cool animation? – Vadim Apr 25 '12 at 3:03
@Vadim: As you wish – The Chaz 2.0 Apr 25 '12 at 3:10
@Dan: My inspiration – The Chaz 2.0 Apr 25 '12 at 12:47

it's very easy question answer is $C$


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

share|cite|improve this answer
On this forum, we try to avoid language that could be construed as insulting (e.g. "it's very easy"). – Austin Mohr Apr 25 '12 at 7:14

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.