JimmyWorld wrote:
In the xy plane, at what points does the graph of y=(x+a)(x+b) intersect the x-axis?
(1) a + b = -1
(2) The graph intersects the y axis at (0,-6)
Target question: At which two points of the graph does y=(x+a)(x+b) intersect the x-axis?IMPORTANT ASIDE ABOUT X-INTERCEPTS:
Let's examine the point where a line (or curve) crosses the x-axis. At the point of intersection, the point is on the x-axis, which means that the y-coordinate of that point is
0. So, for example, to find where the line y=2x+3 crosses the x-axis, we let y=
0 and solve for x. We get:
0 = 2x+3
When we solve this for x, we get x= -3/2.
So, the line y=2x+3 crosses the x-axis at (-3/2, 0)
Likewise, to determine the point where y = (x + a)(x + b) crosses the x axis, let y=0 and solve for x.
We get: 0 = (x + a)(x + b), which means x=-a or x=-b
This means that
y = (x + a)(x + b) crosses the x axis at (-a, 0) and (-b, 0)So, to solve this question,
we need the values of a and b Aside: y = (x + a)(x + b) is actually a parabola. This explains why it crosses the x axis at TWO points. Now let's rephrase the target question...
REPHRASED target question: What are the values of a and b?Statement 1: a + b = -1 There's no way we can use this to determine the values of a and b.
Since we can answer the
target question with certainty, statement 1 is NOT SUFFICIENT
Statement 2: The line intercepts the y axis at (0,-6) This tells us that when x = 0, y = -6
When we plug x = 0 and y = -6 into the equation y = (x + a)(x + b), we get -6 = (0 + a)(0 + b), which tells us that ab=-6
In other words, statement 2 is a fancy way to tell us that ab = -6
Since there's no way we can use this information to determine the values of a and b, statement 2 is NOT SUFFICIENT
Statements 1 and 2 combined: Statement 1 tells us that a+b = -1
Statement 2 tells us that ab = -6
Rewrite equation 1 as a = -1 - b
Then take equation 2 and replace a with (-1 - b) to get: (-1 - b)(b) = -6
Expand: -b - b^2 = -6
Set equal to zero: b^2 + b - 6 = 0
Factor: (b+3)(b-2) = 0
So, b= -3 or b= 2
When b = -3, a = 2 and when b = 2, a = -3
In both cases,
the two points of intersection are (3, 0) and (-2, 0)Since we can answer the
target question with certainty, the combined statements are SUFFICIENT
Answer: C