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Steps to Factor a Polynomial

Prep Arrange in descending order of powers and
combine like terms .
I Factor Out the Greatest Common Factor ( GCF ),
Get a positive leading coefficient .
II If the Polynomial has 4 terms or more,
Factor by Grouping
III Factoring Trinomials ( 3 terms )
 A. Trial and Error
  1) Write down 2 pairs of parentheses
  2) Determine your signs: + + , − − or + −
** See Be low **
  3) Factor the front term
  4) Try different factors of the last term
until the binomials FOIL to the trinomial.
 B. Perfect Square Trinomial
IV Factoring Binomials ( 2 terms )
A. Difference of Two Squares
B. Sum of Two Squares - Does Not Factor
C. Difference of Two Cubes
D. Sum of Two Cubes
V Check for Complete Factorization:
VI The Polynomial Does Not Factor ex) x^2 + 5x + 1 Does Not Factor

Determine the signs of the factors : + + , – – or + –

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