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Most SAT trigonometry questions are based on trigonometric ratios, the relationships between the angles and sides of a right triangle in relation to one of its acute angles (less than 90 degrees).

You can answer almost any SAT trig question by using the mnemonic device for the three basic trigonometric ratios: SOH CAH TOA.

SOH CAH TOA stands for

Try a few examples.

Practice questions

  1. For the right triangle is

    the sine of the angle A?

  2. For the right triangle,

    if tan B =

    finds cos A.

Answers and explanations

  1. D. Using the SOH in SOH CAH TOA you know the sine of angle A comes from the opposite (1) through the hypotenuse (2), for an answer of 1/2.
  2. D. If tan B =

    and tangent is opposite (the TOA of SOH CAH TOA), then draw the triangle like this:

    If you see this as one of the Pythagorean triples, you automatically throw the 5 on the hypotenuse:

    Cosine is CAH, which is adjacent via hypotenuse. Therefore cos A =