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# Helpsheet

Recognize a quadratic expression and how to expand or factorise it Solve a quadratic expression using trial-and-error methods and also by using the formula Understand the relationship between the algebraic and graphical solution of a quadratic equation Recognize and solve simultaneous quadratic equations

This publication can be cited as: Carter, D. (2008), Quadratic Equations, Teaching and Learning Unit, Faculty of Business and Economics, the University of Melbourne. http://tlu.fbe.unimelb.edu.au/ Further credits: Beaumont, T. (content changes and editing), Pesina, J. (design and layout).

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Helpsheet

Expanding pairs of brackets
(a + b)(c + d), (where a, b, c and d are unspecified constants) = ac + ad + bc + bd. *One way to help remember this is FOIL First, Outside, Inside, Last. Many expressions you will see are of the form (x + a)(x + b), multiplying this out gives x2 + (a + b)x + ab A quadratic expression contains an unknown x raised to the power 2, no higher or lower.

## Technique for factorising a quadratic expression

Remember: factorising is the reverse of expanding. e.g Factorise x2 + 12x + 32 Assume the factors are (x + a)(x + b). From this (x + a)(x + b) = x2 + (a + b)x + ab. From the expression given a + b = 12 and ab = 32. So look for two numbers whose sum is 12 and product is 32. By trial and error we find that 4 + 8 = 12 and 4 x 8 = 32, so we have the factors (x + 4) and (x + 8). Therefore the solution to the factorisation of x2 + 12x + 32 is (x + 4)(x + 8). Not all expressions can be factorised using this technique.

We are asked to solve the equation x2 + 12x + 32 = 0 From the previous example: x2 + 12x + 32 = (x + 4)(x + 8) Therefore we need to solve (x + 4)(x + 8) = 0. When ab =0, then either a = 0 or b = 0, So either x + 4 = 0 or x + 8 = 0, which gives x = -4 and x = -8 as solutions (also known as roots). You can check your answers by substituting each one in turn into the original equation. The general form of a quadratic equation is ax2 + bx + c = 0

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Helpsheet

## The formula for solving any quadratic equation

Using the trial and error method can be quite difficult and time consuming and relies heavily on guesswork. A formula exists for solving any quadratic equation. This takes us straight to the roots and will also tell us whether a solution exists. Given any quadratic equation ax2 + bx + c = 0 (where a, b and c are given constants) the solution (roots) are given by the formula x = - b (b2- 4ac) 2a e.g x2 + 12x + 32 = 0 from this we have a = 1, b = 12 and c = 32, substituting these values into the formula gives x = - 12 (122 4 x 1 x 32) 2x1 = -12 (144 128) 2 = - 12 16 2 x = - 12 + 4 or x = - 12 - 4 2 2 x = -4 or x = -8 (as found previously using trial and error method) In this example we found two roots, from this we can deduce that if b2- 4ac > 0, there will be two solutions Not all quadratics can be factorised. If b2- 4ac is a negative result, then we have to find a square root of a negative number, which we have seen earlier it has no square root. Therefore if b2- 4ac is negative there are no real roots to the equation. i.e. If b2- 4ac < 0, there is no solution. Some quadratics have only one root (solution). These are called perfect squares. e.g. x2 + 10x + 25 = 0. Using trial and error or the formula you will find (x + 5) (x + 5) = 0 or (x + 5)2 = 0 => x = -5 A perfect square occurs when b2- 4ac = 0. i.e. there will be one solution.

y = x2 + 12x + 32 is an example of a quadratic function. The general form of a quadratic function is y = ax2 + bx + c. (a, b, c are parameters) The graph of a quadratic function is a curve called a parabola. It is a U-shape arising from the fact that x2 is positive when x is either positive or negative. If the parameter a is positive then the U-shape has its two arm pointing upwards. If the parameter a is negative, then the U-shape has its two arms pointing downwards. The absolute value of a determines how steeply the curve turns up (or down). Page 2

Helpsheet

The constant term, c, determines the y intercept. The roots of the equation determine the x intercept(s). If there are no roots to the equation then the curve does not cross through the x-axis. i.e. in the case of a positive graph it will be wholly above the x-axis, and if it is a negative graph it will be wholly beneath the x-axis.