High School Math : Limits

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for High School Math

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Limits

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

A limit describes what -value a function approaches as  approaches a certain value (in this case, ). The easiest way to find what -value a function approaches is to substitute the -value into the equation.

Substituting  for  gives us an undefined value (which is NOT the same thing as 0). This means the function is not defined at that point. However, just because a function is undefined at a point doesn't mean it doesn't have a limit. The limit is simply whichever value the function is getting close to.

One method of finding the limit is to try and simplify the equation as much as possible:

As you can see, there are common factors between the numerator and the denominator that can be canceled out. (Remember, when you cancel out a factor from a rational equation, it means that the function has a hole -- an undefined point -- where that factor equals zero.)

After canceling out the common factors, we're left with:

Even though the domain of the original function is restricted ( cannot equal ), we can still substitute into this simplified equation to find the limit at

Example Question #1 : Find The Limit Of A Function

Let .

Find .

Possible Answers:

The limit does not exist.

Correct answer:

Explanation:

1overx

This is a graph of . We know that  is undefined; therefore, there is no value for . But as we take a look at the graph, we can see that as  approaches 0 from the left,  approaches negative infinity. 

This can be illustrated by thinking of small negative numbers.

NOTE: Pay attention to one-sided limit specifications, as it is easy to pick the wrong answer choice if you're not careful. 

 is actually infinity, not negative infinity. 

Example Question #1 : Find The Limit Of A Function

Evaluate the limit below:

 

Possible Answers:

1

0

Correct answer:

Explanation:

 will approach when approaches , so  will be of type  as shown below:

 

 

So, we can apply the L’ Hospital's Rule:

 

 

since:

hence:

Example Question #1 : Finding Limits As X Approaches Infinity

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

Example Question #1 : Finding Limits As X Approaches Infinity

Calculate .

Possible Answers:

The limit does not exist.

Correct answer:

Explanation:

This can be rewritten as follows:

 

We can substitute , noting that as ,

, which is the correct choice.

Example Question #4 : Find The Limit Of A Function

The speed of a car traveling on the highway is given by the following function of time:

What can you say about the car's speed after a long time (that is, as  approaches infinity)?

Possible Answers:

The speed of the car approaches zero.

The speed of the car approaches a constant number.

Nothing can be concluded from the given function.

The speed of the car depends on the starting speed.

The speed of the car approaches infinity.

Correct answer:

The speed of the car approaches infinity.

Explanation:

The function given is a polynomial with a term , such that  is greater than 1. 

Whenever this is the case, we can say that the whole function diverges (approaches infinity) in the limit as  approaches infinity.

This tells us that the given function is not a very realistic description of a car's speed for large !

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