Exact Values

In VCE Maths Methods (and Specialist Maths), unless told otherwise, you should always leave your answer as an exact value.

This means you leave your answer without evaluating surds, pi, e, fractions etc.

The most common use for exact values is with trig ratios.

For the standard angles, you only need to remember two values:

  • $\sin(30^\circ ) = \dfrac{1}{2}$
  • $\tan(45^\circ ) = 1$

From these two values, we can construct two triangles


and fill in the other values using Pythagoras:


Then from these triangles we can use SOHCAHTOA to obtain the needed exact values:


You should also know the exact values for 0 and 90.
These can be deduced by remembering the unit circle definitions and that

  • $x = \cos(\theta)$
  • $y = \sin(\theta)$
  • and $\tan(\theta)$ is the y-coordinate on the tangent line x = 1
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License