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I'm currently a physics major and I'm taking trigonometry for my fall semester. What are some tips towards succeeding, in order to get into "calculus"?

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closed as too broad by Asaf Karagila Jul 31 at 15:58

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    $\begingroup$ Make sure you learn all the angles? (I'm sorry -- this comment really isn't appropriate for the site but I just couldn't resist.) $\endgroup$ – Robert Shore Jul 31 at 15:30
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    $\begingroup$ Study hard and do a lot of practice. Practice is the only war forward. That means practicing without your notes, with Kahn academy, etc. This stuff is peanuts compared to what you will learn when you actually start physics, so you absolutely must master it. $\endgroup$ – Alfred Yerger Jul 31 at 15:32
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    $\begingroup$ Best advice I can give would be to never let yourself get behind the class. Even better, be ahead. Read one lesson ahead of the current lecture, and be ready with your questions. If you don't understand a topic that arises in a lecture, speak up! If you still don't get it, go to office hours or get a tutor. Stay current with homework / problem sets. $\endgroup$ – Doug M Jul 31 at 15:44
  • $\begingroup$ This question is not broad at all $\endgroup$ – David Aug 1 at 7:08
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  • First, forget about triangles! Think of circles instead! Get the intuition that $\cos$ and $\sin$ are just the coordinates of points on a circle.
  • Don't memorize values of trigonometric functions nor too many fancy equations! If you need to find out what $\sin{\pi}$ is, you can look it up in a coin!
  • Still, there are some formulae that you definitely should memorize, the main one being $\cos^2{x} + \sin^2{x} = 1$ You shouldn't just remember it, but understanding why it is true and what this has to do with the Pythagorean theorem
  • Also, complex numbers are your friends!

This is just general advice that would be easily adaptable to any other Math topic. I would need further details on the contents of the course to provide further help. Of course, practicing and reading about the concepts and their applications is what will ultimately lead you to success

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    $\begingroup$ If I may add, knowing which lines to draw in a circle and using them to derive angle formulas are also very useful. $\endgroup$ – Amy Ngo Jul 31 at 15:53
  • $\begingroup$ I disagree that one should forget about triangles. The more interpretations, the better. So instead of forgetting about triangles, get comfortable with circles and compare with triangles! $\endgroup$ – Qi Zhu Jul 31 at 16:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Kezer Of course! Indeed, later on I talk about relating the fundamental equation of trigonometry to the Pythagorean theorem. I mean using circles as the "foundational concept" and triangles as just an application $\endgroup$ – David Jul 31 at 16:31
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, I see, this is a good point! I still think that triangles "just being an application" is giving triangles not enough value. I mean, historically, trigonometric functions did come from triangles and a lot of intuition can be built from triangles (all depending on what one is doing). $\endgroup$ – Qi Zhu Jul 31 at 17:25
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I know this question must be asked here on this site, but I'll answer it anyway, maybe it'll help you before someone closes your question.

Understand/Study well/ Practicceeee. YouTube videos help you understand a lot better by the way especially those with visualizations that you don't see in class.

To get more precise to the class you'll study, just keep in mind that the $\cos$ and $\sin$ functions just give the coordinates of a point on the unit circle, and the lines tangent to the trignometric circle from the right and from above represent the $\tan$ and $\cot$ functions respectively so keep visualizing that in your head.

Also complex number have a complex form that they can be written in.

Finally, best of luck and I hope you'll succeed.

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