College Algebra : Quadratic Equations

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for College Algebra

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Quadratic Equations

Solve for x.

Possible Answers:

x = –9, –2

x = –2

x = –6, –3

x = 6, 3

Cannot be factored by grouping

Correct answer:

x = –6, –3

Explanation:

1) This is a relatively standard quadratic equation. List and add factors of 18.

1 + 18 = 19

2 + 9 = 11

3 + 6 = 9

2) Pull out common factors of each pair, "x" from the first and "6" from the second.

3) Factor again, pulling out "(x+3)" from both terms.

4) Set each term equal to zero and solve.

x + 3 = 0, x = –3

x + 6 = 0, x = –6

Example Question #2 : Quadratic Equations

Solve for x.

Possible Answers:

x = –4

x = 4

x = 2, 4

x = 1

x = –1

Correct answer:

x = –1

Explanation:

1) After adding like terms and setting the equation equal to zero, the immediate next step in solving any quadratic is to simplify. If the coefficients of all three terms have a common factor, pull it out. So go ahead and divide both sides (and therefore ALL terms on BOTH sides) by 4.

Since zero divided by four is still zero, only the left side of the equation changes.

2) Either factor by grouping or use the square trick.

Grouping:

1 + 1 = 2

(The "1" was pulled out only to make the next factoring step clear.)

x + 1 = 0, x = –1

OR

Perfect Square:

x = –1

 

Example Question #6 : Quadratic Equations

Billy is several years older than Johnny. Billy is one less than twice as old as Johnny, and their ages multiplied together make ninety-one. When will Billy be 1.5 times Johnny's age?

Possible Answers:

When Johnny is 2 and Billy is 3

When Johnny is 4 and Billy is 6

When Johnny is 7 and Billy is 13

When Johnny is 12 and Billy is 18

When Johnny is 14 and Billy is 21

Correct answer:

When Johnny is 12 and Billy is 18

Explanation:

1) Before we can figure out when Billy will be 1.5 times Johnny's age, we have to figure out their current ages. So let's define our variables in terms of the first part of the question.

B = Billy's age and J = Johnny's age

It's easier to solve if we put one variable in terms of the other. If Billy were just twice as old as Johnny, we could write his age as B = 2J.

But Billy is one less than twice as old as Johnny, so B = 2J – 1

2) We know that the two boys' ages multiply together to make ninety-one.

B * J = J(2J – 1) = 91

3) Now we have our factored quadratic. We just need to multiply it out and set everything equal to zero to begin.

4) Now we need to factor back out. We start by multiplying the first coefficient by the final term and listing off the factors.

2 * –91 = –182

1 + –182 = –181

2 + –91 = –89

7 + –26 = –19

13 + –14 = –1

5) Split up the middle term in so that factoring by grouping is possible.

6) Factor by grouping, pulling out "2J" from the first set of terms and "13" from the second.

7) Factor out the "(J-7)" from both terms.

8) Set both parentheses equal to zero and solve.

2J + 13 = 0, J = –13/2

J – 7 = 0, J = 7

Clearly, only of the two solutions works, since Johnny's age has to be positive. Johnny is 7, therefore Billy is 2(7) – 1=13. But we're not done yet!

9) We need to figure out at what point Billy will 1.5 times Johnny's age. Guess and check would be a fairly efficient way to do this problem, but setting up an equation would be even faster. First, though, we need to figure out what our variable is. We know Billy's and Johnny's current ages; we just need to figure out their future ages. One variable is always better than two, so instead of using two different variables to represent their respective future ages, we'll use one variable to represent the number of years we have to add to each of their current ages in order to make Billy 1.5 times older than Johnny. Let's call that variable "x."

1.5(J + x) = B + x

We know the values of J and B, so we can go ahead and fill those in.

1.5(7 + x) = 13 + x

10) Then we solve for x algebraically, with inverse order of operations.

10.5 + 1.5x = 13 + x

0.5x = 2.5

x = 5

J = 7 + 5 = 12

B = 13 + 5 = 18

Example Question #2 : Quadratic Equations

Find all of the solutions to the following quadratic equation:

Possible Answers:

None of the above

Correct answer:

Explanation:

This requires the use of the quadratic formula.  Recall that:

 for .

For this problem,

So,

.

.

 

Therefore, the two solutions are:

Example Question #3 : Quadratic Equations

Solve for .

Possible Answers:

No solution

Correct answer:

Explanation:

Write the equation in standard form by first eliminating parentheses, then moving all terms to the left of the equal sign.

First:

Inside:

Outside:

Last:

Now factor, set each binomial to zero, and solve individually. We are lookig for two numbers with sum  and  product ; these numbers are .

and

or

The solution set is .

Example Question #14 : Quadratic Equations

Solve for .

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

Solve by factoring. We need to find two factors that multiply to eight and add to six.

One of these factors must equal zero in order for the equation to be true.

Example Question #15 : Quadratic Equations

Solve 

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

First, we must factor out any common factors between the two terms.  Both 3 and 12 share a factor of 3, so we can "take" 3 out, like this:

.

Inside the parentheses, it becomes clear that this is a difference of squares problem (a special factor), which can be solved with the equation

.

Thus, 

Now, we can set each factor to 0, and solve for :

and

.

Example Question #31 : How To Find The Solution To A Quadratic Equation

Solve for x.

Possible Answers:

x = –5

x = –5/2, –5

x = –2/3, –3

x = –5, 5

x = –2/5, –5

Correct answer:

x = –5/2, –5

Explanation:

1) The first step would be to simplify, but since 2, 15, and 25 have no common factors greater than 1, simplification is impossible.

Now we factor. Multiply the first coefficient by the final term and list off the factors.

2 * 25 = 50

Factors of 50 include:

1 + 50 = 51

2 + 25 = 27

5 + 10 = 15

2) Split up the middle term to make factoring by grouping possible.

Note that the "2" and the "10," and the "5" and the "25," have to go together for factoring to come out with integers. Always make sure the groups actually have a common factor to pull.

3) Pull out the common factors from both groups, "2x" from the first and "5" from the second.

4) Factor out the "(x+5)" from both terms.

5) Set each parenthetical expression equal to zero and solve.

2x + 5 = 0,  x = –5/2

x + 5 = 0, x = –5

Example Question #32 : Quadratic Equations

Use the quadratic formula to find the solutions to the equation.

Possible Answers:

and 

 and 

 and 

 and 

 and 

Correct answer:

and 

Explanation:

The quadratic formula is as follows:

We will start by finding the values of the coefficients of the given equation:

Quadratic equations may be written in the following format:

In our case, the values of the coefficients are:

Substitute the coefficient values into the quadratic equation:

After simplifying we are left with:

leaving us with our two solutions:

 and 

Example Question #92 : Systems Of Equations

Solve for x:

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

To solve for x, we must first simplify the trinomial into two binomials.

To simplify the trinomial, its general form given by , we must find factors of  that when added give us . For our trinomial,  and the two factors that add together to get  are  and .

Now, using the two factors, we can rewrite  as the sum of the two factors each multiplied by x:

Next, we group the first two and last two terms together and factor each of the groups:

Now, simplify further:

Finally, set each of these binomials equal to zero and solve for x:

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