Trigonometry Practice Questions and Problems for ACT/SAT

March 20, 2024
5 min read

Are you studying for the ACT or the SAT? If so, you may want to brush up on some trigonometry questions.

Trigonometry might seem intimidating, but it's a vital tool in many fields. From designing buildings to navigating the seas, trigonometry helps solve real-world problems.

In engineering, it's all about making sure structures stand strong. Trigonometry helps engineers calculate angles and measurements to ensure safety and stability. It also helps us find our way, whether we're driving down the street or sailing across the ocean.

Even in technology, trigonometry plays a big role. Ever wonder how those 3D video games are made? Trigonometry is behind the scenes, making it happen.

Along with real world application, trigonometry is also crucial for standardized tests like the ACT/SAT. To do well, you need to understand basic principles and sharpen your problem-solving skills. Here, we've compiled practice questions to help you prepare effectively. Let's get into it. 

How Is Trigonometry Applied in Practical Situations?

Trigonometry is applied practically in tasks such as building construction and flight navigation, where it helps measure heights, distances, and angles accurately. It allows for accurate calculations in designing buildings, plotting travel routes, and crafting detailed maps. Let’s discuss this further.

Measuring Heights and Distances

Trigonometry serves as the go-to tool for measuring heights and distances in various industries. Engineers and surveyors rely on its principles to determine the height of structures like buildings and mountains without the need for physical access.

By leveraging concepts such as angle of elevation and distance, precise measurements can be made, ensuring accuracy in construction and urban planning projects.

Aviation Navigation

In the world of aviation, trigonometry plays a critical role in navigation and flight planning. Pilots use trigonometry to figure out exactly where their plane is in relation to things like landmarks or radio signals from the ground. 

This helps them decide if they're on the right course and if they need to change direction to stay on track. So, if they need to adjust their flight path to avoid bad weather or reach their destination more efficiently, trigonometry helps them do it accurately.

Criminology Investigations

Trigonometry aids forensic experts in reconstructing crime scenes and analyzing evidence. Investigators use principles of projectile motion and angle measurement to determine the trajectories of bullets and assess collision dynamics in accidents. 

By relying on trigonometric calculations, law enforcement agencies gain valuable insights into the circumstances of incidents, which helps in the investigation process.

Marine Biology Research

In marine biology, trigonometry plays a key role in helping scientists study and protect marine life. They use sonar technology and trigonometric concepts to map the ocean floor and explore underwater ecosystems. 

Knowing things like how far light travels underwater is important for understanding where marine life is and how ecosystems work. Trigonometry helps scientists take precise measurements and analyze data accurately for their research.

Navigation Systems

Trigonometry has always been crucial for navigation, from ancient methods using stars to today's GPS technology. 

GPS devices use trigonometry to figure out where satellites are and where users are, giving precise location details for cars, boats, and planes. Trigonometry guarantees accurate route planning and navigation, making travel safer and more efficient.

Calculus and Physics

Trigonometry is the backbone of understanding how things move and interact in the world around us. In subjects like calculus and physics, you'll see trigonometric functions pop up in equations that describe all sorts of cool stuff like motion, swinging back and forth, and how waves travel.

Physicists lean on trigonometry when they're studying things like sound and light waves. It helps them figure out what those wave shapes mean, model how light moves through space, and even predict how tiny particles behave in the world of quantum mechanics.

Cartography and Mapping

Trigonometry is crucial for making maps. It helps surveyors measure distances and angles accurately, so maps are reliable. GIS software also uses trigonometry to process and analyze spatial data. This math is vital for tasks like planning cities, managing the environment, and responding to disasters.

Satellite Systems

Trigonometry is essential for the design and operation of satellite communication and navigation systems. Engineers use trigonometric calculations to determine satellite orbits, transmission angles, and signal coverage areas. 

Satellite-based positioning systems like GPS rely on trigonometry for accurate triangulation, enabling applications such as navigation, surveying, and precision agriculture.

Overall, trigonometry certainly isn’t kindergarten math. You need to work hard to get a handle on it. But, when you do—you can do so much with it, from designing structures to navigating the world; trigonometry empowers you to tackle real-world challenges with precision. 

Most Common ACT/SAT Trigonometry Questions

Most ACT/SAT trigonometry questions typically focus on basic trigonometric ratios, angle measurements, and solving right triangle problems. Let’s take a look at a few ACT sample questions

1. In the right triangle shown below, the length of AB is 8 units, ∠A measures 60°, sin 60° ≈ 0.866, cos 60° ≈ 0.5, and tan 60° ≈ 1.73. Approximately how many units long is BC, to the nearest hundredth of a unit?

A. 4.00 

B. 4.61 

C. 4.80 

D. 6.93 

E. 9.23

2. If sin α = 1213, and cosα = 513, then tanα =? 


B. 713

C. 125

D. 1713

E. 6013

3. If 0° < x° < 90° and sin x = 12 , then cos x = ? 

A. 12

B. 32

C. 2


E. 2√33

4. From a hot air balloon, the angle between a radio antenna straight below and the base of the library downtown is 57°, as shown below. If the distance between the radio antenna and the library is 1.3 miles, how many miles high is the balloon?

A. 1.3sin(57°)

B.  1.3cos(57°)

C. 1.3tan(57°) 

D. 1.3 sin 57° 

E. 1.3 tan 57°

5. What is the smallest positive value for x where y = sin 2x reaches its maximum? 

A. 4π

B. π

C. 32π

D. 2π

E. 52π

6. One of the graphs below is that of y = A sin θ for θ between 0 and 6.28 radians, where A is a constant. Which one?

A. 12/5

B. 13/12

C. 12/13

D. 5/12

E. 5/13

7. In the right triangle below, the length of AB is 13 units and the length of CB is 12 units. What is the tangent of ∠A ?

A. 12/5

B. 12/13

C. 5/13

8. If sin θ = 0.8 and cos φ = -0.6, where 0° < θ < 90° and 90° < φ < 180°, what is the value of sin(θ + φ)? 

A. 0.96  

B. 0.64  

C. 0.48  

D. -0.16  

E. -0.72  

9. In a right triangle, the length of the side opposite the 30° angle is 10 units. What is the length of the hypotenuse?

A. 5 units  

B. 10 units  

C. 15 units  

D. 20 units  

E. 25 units  

10. Given that sec α = 2 and cot α = -3, what is the value of tan α?

A. -1.5  

B. -0.5  

C. 0.5  

D. 1.5  

E. 2.5  

To wrap it up, mastering the basics of trigonometry and familiarizing yourself with the terms sets you up to breeze through ACT trigonometry questions and ace those standardized tests. 

So, keep practicing those trigonometric concepts and memorizing the key formulas, and you'll be well-prepared to tackle any trigonometry question that comes your way. 


Looking for answers to common trigonometry questions? Whether tackling the basics or grappling with more complex problems, our FAQ section offers straightforward explanations and helpful tips to guide you through your trigonometry journey.

1. Does the SAT/ACT Include Trigonometry?

Yes, the SAT/ACT includes Trigonometry. Although both tests cover similar math topics, the ACT includes questions on basic trigonometry, but the SAT Trigonometry questions 

2. How to Solve Hard Trigonometry Questions?

Solving difficult trigonometry questions involves breaking down the problem, identifying relevant trigonometric identities or formulas, and applying them methodically to find the solution.

3. How to Solve Easy Trigonometry Questions?

Simplifying easy trigonometry questions starts with understanding basic trigonometric ratios, like sine, cosine, and tangent, and then applying them directly to the given problem using simple calculations and diagrams when necessary.

Final Thoughts

By exploring the practical uses and problem-solving techniques shared here, you're not only preparing for tests but also gaining skills that apply to real-life situations. 

Trigonometry helps us measure heights, navigate the skies, and much more. So, keep learning, and with each trigonometry question you tackle, you're getting better at understanding and solving problems in the world around you.

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