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# Completing the square review

Completing the square is a technique for factoring quadratics. This article reviews the technique with examples and even lets you practice the technique yourself.

## What is completing the square?

Completing the square is a technique for rewriting quadratics in the form left parenthesis, x, plus, a, right parenthesis, squared, plus, b.
For example, x, squared, plus, 2, x, plus, 3 can be rewritten as left parenthesis, x, plus, 1, right parenthesis, squared, plus, 2. The two expressions are totally equivalent, but the second one is nicer to work with in some situations.

### Example 1

x, squared, plus, 10, x, plus, 24, equals, 0
We begin by moving the constant term to the right side of the equation.
x, squared, plus, 10, x, equals, minus, 24
We complete the square by taking half of the coefficient of our x term, squaring it, and adding it to both sides of the equation. Since the coefficient of our x term is 10, half of it would be 5, and squaring it gives us start color #11accd, 25, end color #11accd.
x, squared, plus, 10, x, start color #11accd, plus, 25, end color #11accd, equals, minus, 24, start color #11accd, plus, 25, end color #11accd
We can now rewrite the left side of the equation as a squared term.
left parenthesis, x, plus, 5, right parenthesis, squared, equals, 1
Take the square root of both sides.
x, plus, 5, equals, plus minus, 1
Isolate x to find the solution(s).
x, equals, minus, 5, plus minus, 1

### Example 2

4, x, squared, plus, 20, x, plus, 25, equals, 0
First, divide the polynomial by 4 (the coefficient of the x, squared term).
x, squared, plus, 5, x, plus, start fraction, 25, divided by, 4, end fraction, equals, 0
Note that the left side of the equation is already a perfect square trinomial. The coefficient of our x term is 5, half of it is start fraction, 5, divided by, 2, end fraction, and squaring it gives us start color #11accd, start fraction, 25, divided by, 4, end fraction, end color #11accd, our constant term.
Thus, we can rewrite the left side of the equation as a squared term.
left parenthesis, x, plus, start fraction, 5, divided by, 2, end fraction, right parenthesis, squared, equals, 0
Take the square root of both sides.
x, plus, start fraction, 5, divided by, 2, end fraction, equals, 0
Isolate x to find the solution.
The solution is: x, equals, minus, start fraction, 5, divided by, 2, end fraction

## Practice

Problem 1
• Current
Complete the square to rewrite this expression in the form left parenthesis, x, plus, a, right parenthesis, squared, plus, b.
x, squared, minus, 2, x, plus, 17

Want more practice? Check out these exercises: