Revision as of 10:28, 21 June 2006 by Thor (talk | contribs)

Note to readers and editers: Please fix up this page by adding in material from Joe's awesome factoring page.

Why Factor

Factoring equations is an essential part of problem solving. Applying number theory to products yields many results.

There are many ways to factor.

Difference of Squares


Difference of Cubes


Sum of Cubes


Simon's Trick

See Simon's Favorite Factoring Trick (This is not a recognized formula, please do not quote it on the USAMO or similar national proof contests)

Summing Series

Also, it is helpful to know how to sum arithmetic series and geometric series.

Vieta's/Newton Factorizations

These factorizations are useful for problem that could otherwise be solved by Newton sums or problems that give a polynomial, and ask a question about the roots. Combined with Vieta's formulas, these are excellent factorizations that show up everywhere.

  • $\displaystyle (a+b+c)^2=a^2+b^2+c^2+2(ab+bc+ca)$
  • $\displaystyle (a+b+c)^3=a^3+b^3+c^3+3(a+b)(b+c)(c+a)$
  • $\displaystyle (a+b+c)^5=a^5+b^5+c^5+5(a+b)(b+c)(c+a)(a^2+b^2+c^2+ab+bc+ca)$

Another Useful Factorization


Other Resources

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