2019 AMC 8 Problems/Problem 20

Problem 20

How many different real numbers $x$ satisfy the equation $$(x^{2}-5)^{2}=16?$$

$\textbf{(A) }0\qquad\textbf{(B) }1\qquad\textbf{(C) }2\qquad\textbf{(D) }4\qquad\textbf{(E) }8$

Solution 1

We have that $(x^2-5)^2 = 16$ if and only if $x^2-5 = \pm 4$. If $x^2-5 = 4$, then $x^2 = 9 \implies x = \pm 3$, giving 2 solutions. If $x^2-5 = -4$, then $x^2 = 1 \implies x = \pm 1$, giving 2 more solutions. All four of these solutions work, so the answer is $\boxed{\textbf{(D)} 4}$. Further, the equation is a quartic in $x$, so by the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra, there can be at most four real solutions.

Solution 2

We can expand $(x^2-5)^2$ to get $x^4-10x^2+25$, so now our equation is $x^4-10x^2+25=16$. Subtracting $16$ from both sides gives us $x^4-10x^2+9=0$. Now, we can factor the left hand side to get $(x^2-9)(x^2-1)=0$. If $x^2-9$ and/or $x^2-1$ equals $0$, then the whole left side will equal $0$. Since the solutions can be both positive and negative, we have $4$ solutions: $-3,3,-1,1$ (we can find these solutions by setting $x^2-9$ and $x^2-1$ equal to $0$ and solving for $x$). So the answer is $\boxed{\textbf{(D)} 4}$.

~UnstoppableGoddess

Solution 4

https://youtu.be/5BXh0JY4klM (Uses a difference of squares & factoring method, different from above solutions)

Solution 6

Video Solution - https://youtu.be/Lw8fSbX_8FU

Video Solution

-Happytwin

 2019 AMC 8 (Problems • Answer Key • Resources) Preceded byProblem 19 Followed byProblem 21 1 • 2 • 3 • 4 • 5 • 6 • 7 • 8 • 9 • 10 • 11 • 12 • 13 • 14 • 15 • 16 • 17 • 18 • 19 • 20 • 21 • 22 • 23 • 24 • 25 All AJHSME/AMC 8 Problems and Solutions