# FACTORING GUIDE

I. Check for GCF
II. Count the number of terms

 Two Terms 1. Difference of squares 2. Sum or difference of cubes Example: Examples: *Note: does NOT factor Three Terms 1.Leading Coefficient is 1 2. Leading Coefficient is NOT 1 (find 2 numbers that multiply out to – 6 and add up to 1) (find 2 numbers that multiply out to 14 and add up to 9) a) Check to see if it is a perfect square trinomial (use square root of first and last term as first guess in trial and error) b) Use trial and error to factor (nail down your first and last terms and try different combinations to get your outer and inner terms to equal your original middle term) (outers = – 8x, inners = 3x, their sum is – 5x ) (outers = 24x, inners = – 1x, their sum is 23x ) c) An alternative to trial and error is the “ac method “ See textbook or a Math Center tutor for an explanation. Four Terms Factor by grouping Examples1. Two by Two: 2. Three by one :
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