1. Parametric Equations/Tangents/Normals:
For a set of parametric descriptions whereby ), (t f x = ) (t g y = ,
) ( '
) ( '
t f
t g
dx
dy
=
Equation of tangent:   ) (
) ( '
) ( '
) ( t f x
t f
t g
t g y =
Equation of normal:   ) (
) ( '
) ( '
) ( t f x
t g
t f
t g y =
Question types:
Example: A curve has parametric equations
, sin 2 1 + = x cos 4 + = y .
P is a point on the curve where .
6
= =
tan
cos
sin
d
dx
d
dy
dx
dy
At P,
3 2
1
=
dx
dy
Equation of tangent: ) 2 (
3 2
1
)
2
3
4 ( = + x y
When it cuts the , axis y
3
1
2
3
4 0 + + = = y x
Equation of normal: ) 2 ( 3 2 )
2
3
4 ( = + x y
When it cuts the , axis y
2
3 7
4 0 = = y x
y
tangent
P
0 x
normal 2 units
Area of triangle = ) 2 (
2
1
3
13
3
1
3 4
2
3 7
4
3
1
2
3
4 = + =
(
(


\



\

+ + units
(shown)
Example: A curve is defined by the parametric equations
3 2
, t y t x = = . Show that the
equation of the tangent to the curve at the point P ( ) ,
3 2
p p is
. 0 3 2
3
= + p px y Show that there is just one point on the curve at which
the tangent passes through the point (3,5), and determine the coordinates
of this point.
SOLUTIONS :
2
3
2
3
2
t
t
t
dx
dy
= =
At , P p
dx
dy
2
3
=
Equation of tangent is p p y
2
3
3
= ) (
2
p x
Rearranging gives 0 3 2
3
= + p px y (shown)
Since it passes through (3,5),
2(5)3 p (3)+
3
p =0 0 9 10
3
= + + p p
0 ) 10 )( 1 (
2
= + + p p p
1 = p and point is ( , 1
2
3
1 ) = ( 1, 1) (shown)
(Quadratic polynomial has no real roots since determinant = 0 39 4
2
< = ac b )
2. Rates of Change:
The chain rule is typically used in such questions; variations of this rule include the
following:
dt
dh
dh
dV
dt
dV
= ,
dt
dr
dr
dV
dt
dV
= ,
dt
dr
dr
dA
dt
dA
= etc
Where , V , A r , h typically denote volume, area, radius and height quantities
respectively. Ensure knowledge of the separate derivatives are thorough and
clear, eg
dt
dV
describes the rate of change of volume.
Popular formulas:
Volume of Cone ( )h r
2
3
1
; Volume of Sphere ( )
3
3
4
r ;
Surface area of Sphere ( )
2
4 r
Question types:
Example: An inverted cone of base radius 4cm and height 8cm is initially filled with
water. Water drips out from the vertex at a rate of 2
1 3
s cm . Find the
rate of decrease in the depth of the water in the cone 16 seconds after the
dripping starts.
SOLUTIONS :
h r
h
r
2
1
2
1
8
4
= = =
At any time t, volume remaining V=
3 2 2
12
1
) ( )
2
1
(
3
1
3
1
h h h h r = =
Differentiating V with respect to , h
2
4
h
dh
dV
=
When t =16,
3
12
1
h = 128 ) 16 ( 2 ) 8 ( ) 4 (
3
1
3 2
= h
By the chain rule,
dt
dh
dt
dh
dh
dV
dt
dV
= =
2 3
) 128 (
4
2
1
315 . 0
= cms
dt
dh
(shown)
3. Maxima/Minima problems:
Maxima/minima problems typically employ the concept of stationary values, and
ascertaining the nature of those values (ie maximum or minimum) via the sign test
or investigating the second derivative if it is reasonably easy to attain.
Question types:
Example:
A length of channel of given depth d is to be made from a rectangular sheet of
metal of width 2a. The metal is to be bent in such a way that the cross section
ABCD is as shown in the figure, with AB+BC+CD= a 2 and with AB and CD
inclined to the line BC at an angle .
A D
d d
B C
Show that BC=2( ) cos ec d a and that the area of the cross section ABCD
is ) cos 2 (cot 2
2
ec d ad + .
Show that the maximum value of ) cos 2 (cot 2
2
ec d ad + , as varies,
is ) 3 2 ( d a d .
By considering the length of BC, show that the cross sectional area can only be
made equal to this maximum value if . 3 2 a d
SOLUTIONS :
ec d CD AB
AB
d
cos sin = = =
) cos ( 2 cos 2 2 2 ec d a ec d a CD AB a BC = = = (shown)
Area of cross section ABCD
= ( )
(
+ ) cot (
2
1
2 ) cos ( 2 d d ec d a d = ) cot ( ) cos ( 2 d d ec d a d +
= ) cos 2 (cot 2
2
ec d ad + (shown)
Let = y ) cos 2 (cot 2
2
ec d ad +
 
ec ec d
d
dy
cos cot 2 cos
2 2
+ =
=
Maximum value = =
(


\

+
3
2
2
3
1
2
2
d ad ) 3 2 ( d a d (shown)
) cos ( 2 ec d a BC = , putting in
3
= ,


\

= d a BC
3
2
2
Since , 0 BC a d d a 3 2
3
2
(shown)
Example:
The equation of a curve is , 2
2
c bx ax y + = where a, b and c are constants, a>0.
Find, in terms of a, b and c, the coordinates of the turning point on the curve, and
state whether it is a maximum or minimum point.
SOLUTIONS :
b ax
dx
dy
c bx ax y 2 2 2
2
= + =
, 0
a
b
x
dx
dy
= =
a
b
c y
2
=
0 2
2
2
> = a
dx
y d
[Q 0 > a ] Hence,


\

a
b
c
a
b
2
, is a minimum point.