# AP Calculus BC : Alternating Series with Error Bound

## Example Questions

### Example Question #1 : Harmonic Series

Determine whether the following series converges or diverges: The series conditionally converges

The series diverges

The series may (absolutely) converge, diverge, or conditionally converge

The series (absolutely) converges

The series (absolutely) converges

Explanation:

Given just the harmonic series, we would state that the series diverges. However, we are given the alternating harmonic series. To determine whether this series will converge or diverge, we must use the Alternating Series test.

The test states that for a given series where or where for all n, if and is a decreasing sequence, then is convergent.

First, we must evaluate the limit of as n approaches infinity: The limit equals zero because the numerator of the fraction equals zero as n approaches infinity.

Next, we must determine if is a decreasing sequence. , thus the sequence is decreasing.

Because both parts of the test passed, the series is (absolutely) convergent.

### Example Question #1 : Alternating Series With Error Bound

Determine whether converges or diverges, and explain why.

Divergent, by the comparison test.

Convergent, by the -series test.

Convergent, by the alternating series test.

More tests are needed.

Divergent, by the test for divergence.

Convergent, by the alternating series test.

Explanation:

We can use the alternating series test to show that converges.

We must have for in order to use this test. This is easy to see because is in for all (the values of this sequence are ), and sine is always nonzero whenever sine's argument is in .

Now we must show that

1. 2. is a decreasing sequence.

The limit implies that so the first condition is satisfied.

We can show that is decreasing by taking its derivative and showing that it is less than for : The derivative is less than , because is always less than , and that is positive for , using a similar argument we used to prove that for . Since the derivative is less than  is a decreasing sequence. Now we have shown that the two conditions are satisfied, so we have proven that converges, by the alternating series test.

### Example Question #1 : Alternating Series With Error Bound

For the series: , determine if the series converge or diverge.  If it diverges, choose the best reason.      Explanation:

The series given is an alternating series.

Write the three rules that are used to satisfy convergence in an alternating series test.

For :    The first and second conditions are satisfied since the terms are positive and are decreasing after each term.

However, the third condition is not valid since and instead approaches infinity. ### Example Question #3 : Alternating Series With Error Bound

Determine whether the series converges or diverges: The series is conditionally convergent.

The series is (absolutely) convergent.

The series is divergent.

The series may be convergent, divergent, or conditionally convergent.

The series is divergent.

Explanation:

To determine whether the series converges or diverges, we must use the Alternating Series test, which states that for - and where for all n - to converge, must equal zero and must be a decreasing series.

For our series, because it behaves like .

The test fails because so we do not need to check the second condition of the test.

The series is divergent.

### Example Question #1 : Lagrange's Theorem

Which of the following series does not converge?      Explanation:

We can show that the series diverges using the ratio test.   will dominate over since it's a higher order term. Clearly, L will not be less than, which is necessary for absolute convergence.

Alternatively, it's clear that is much greater than , and thus having in the numerator will make the series diverge by the limit test (since the terms clearly don't converge to zero).

The other series will converge by alternating series test, ratio test, geometric series, and comparison tests.

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