Edexcel IGCSE Maths

Revision Notes

5.1.2 Vectors - Finding Paths

Finding paths in vector diagrams

  • It is important to be able to describe vectors by following paths through a geometric diagram
  • The following grid is made up entirely of parallelograms, with the vectors  and  defined as marked in the diagram:


Vector parallelogram grid, IGCSE & GCSE Maths revision notes

Vector paths vector FB 01, IGCSE & GCSE Maths revision notes

  • Getting from point to point  we have to go the ‘wrong way’ down  and then the ‘right way’ along

Vector paths vector FB 02, IGCSE & GCSE Maths revision notes

  • It follows that:

  • Keeping those things in mind, it is possible to describe any vector that goes from one point to another in the above diagram in terms of a and b

Exam Tip

Adding and subtracting vectors follows all the same rules as adding and subtracting letters like x and y in algebra (this includes collecting like terms).

It doesn’t matter exactly what path you follow through a diagram from starting point to ending point – as long as you add and subtract the general vectors correctly along the path you use, you will get the correct answer.

Worked Example

Vector parallelogram grid, IGCSE & GCSE Maths revision notes


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