Having trouble factoring. : General GMAT Questions and Strategies
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# Having trouble factoring.

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Manager
Joined: 06 Aug 2011
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25 Oct 2011, 16:31
Okay, I've been having my head in a book, but cannot lick factoring. I'm doing fine on most other areas, but this remedial, basic concept is giving me trouble. If I have a problem like 3x(squared) - 12x + 12, I can't figure out how to factor it. Can anyone help me out? Thanks.
Manager
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25 Oct 2011, 17:01
Stoneface wrote:
Okay, I've been having my head in a book, but cannot lick factoring. I'm doing fine on most other areas, but this remedial, basic concept is giving me trouble. If I have a problem like 3x(squared) - 12x + 12, I can't figure out how to factor it. Can anyone help me out? Thanks.

Since 3 is a prime number, you immediately know that you're looking for (3X + C1) (1X + C2), where C1 and C2 are constants

C1*C2 = 12

3*C2 + 1*C1 = -12

The only two constants that satisfy this equation are -2 and -6

So you end up with (3X - 6)(1X - 2)
Manager
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25 Oct 2011, 18:08
It's not that one particular problem I'm having trouble with, it's working this sort of equation in general. For example, how would you work 567x(squared) - 684 + 1200? I mean, how do you know what to put as the constants?

Does anyone know where to find a decent video on this? I can't find anything worth watching on YouTube.
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25 Oct 2011, 18:12
Stoneface wrote:
It's not that one particular problem I'm having trouble with, it's working this sort of equation in general. For example, how would you work 567x(squared) - 684 + 1200? I mean, how do you know what to put as the constants?

Does anyone know where to find a decent video on this? I can't find anything worth watching on YouTube.

That type of question will be impossible to factor by hand. You'll only see (simple numbers)x^2 on the GMAT.

You can solve constants by using algebra but it's usually much easier just to plug in numbers. Basically you just need to practice factoring over and over again; there's no trick to the process.
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26 Oct 2011, 04:53
Stoneface wrote:
Okay, I've been having my head in a book, but cannot lick factoring. I'm doing fine on most other areas, but this remedial, basic concept is giving me trouble. If I have a problem like 3x(squared) - 12x + 12, I can't figure out how to factor it. Can anyone help me out? Thanks.

In this case, first look for something general to get rid of:

3x^2 - 12x + 12 = 3(x^2 - 4x + 4)

Then, with the portion in parentheses you have a familiar binomial.
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Nicholas MOSES

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Re: Having trouble factoring.   [#permalink] 26 Oct 2011, 04:53
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# Having trouble factoring.

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