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### Course: Algebra 1 > Unit 14

Lesson 9: Strategizing to solve quadratic equations# Strategy in solving quadratic equations

Based on the initial form of a quadratic equation, we can determine which solution methods are and aren't appropriate. Created by Sal Khan.

## Want to join the conversation?

- Completing The Square seems much faster and easier then plugging numbers into the Quadratic Equation.

When should we use the Quadratic Equation over Completing The Square? or are both valid and it's just personal preference?(9 votes)- I would argue against what RN said and say completing the square is more useful, perhaps not easier though. completing the square gets you vertex form, which would allow you to more clearly graph the function.(10 votes)

- At3:14,(
*or really at*) can't we just say that (x+3) = -1? Sal says that it wouldn't work to say that (x+3) = 0 because the equation is (x+3)(x+1) = -1, and just jumping to x = -3 wouldn't work because that only works for x+3 = 0. But couldn't we just say that x = -4, because x+3=-1 = -4+3=-1?3:23

So we just say that*x = -4 or x = -2*instead of*x = -3 or x = -1*?

Does this make sense?(8 votes)- It won't work because if x=-4, then it will be (4+3)(4+1)=-1, and 7*5 is not -1. The easiest way is to use the 0 property when factoring, because 0 times anything is 0. If not, there's going to me lots of guessing and error.

Hope this helps!(0 votes)

- It seems like completing the square takes up much less time. At what points do we use completing the square or do we use the quadratic formula(6 votes)
- Is there a specific way to tell which method to use? or is it a guess and check?(5 votes)
- What part of it don't you understand?(1 vote)

- so for x^2+5x-3=-2+5x I first cancel the 5s, and then I work my way to the answer being x=±√1. Is that correct?(1 vote)
- Yes, and the square root of 1 is just 1, so you can simply say x = 1 or -1. Hope this helps.(2 votes)

- At about1:47, why can't you take x^2=-4x -4, and take the square root for

x=+-2x+-2

And then add or subtract the 2x from the right side to make either

3x=+-2 (and divide both sides by 3)

or

-1x=+-2

?

Thanks!(0 votes)- because the √(4x-4) cannot be simplified except to take out a 4 to get 2√(x-1). All you did was divide it by 2, not take the square root(1 vote)

- How is it that (x + 1)(x - 1) = 8 multiplies to x^2 - 1 = 8 instead of (x - 1)^2 = 8?(0 votes)
- Sal, at2:09why couldn't you just take the square root of -4x-4 and put a plus or minus sign in front? Please give me a answer.(0 votes)
- At about3:05in the video for the third strategy in solving a quadratic equation, why doesn't Sal add -1 to both sides, instead of right off the bat, factoring the left hand side?

LATER: Actually, nevermind. He goes on to say that the third example needs to be equal to 0 in order to get the solutions.

What is the zero product property? (Sal mentions this at the last few seconds of the video.)(0 votes)- If you multiply two (or more) things and the product is 0, then one or the other or both have to equal zero. That is why if we have (x+3)(x+1)=0, we have to say either x+3=0 or x+1=0.(0 votes)

## Video transcript

- [Instructor] In this video, we're gonna talk about
a few of the pitfalls that someone might encounter while they're trying to solve a quadratic equation like this. Why is it a quadratic equation? Well, it's a quadratic because it has this second
degree term right over here and it's an equation because
I have something on both sides of an equal sign. So one strategy that people might try is, well, I have something squared, why don't I just try to take
the square root of both sides? And if you did that, you would get the square root of x squared
plus four x plus three is equal to the square
root of negative one. And you immediately see a few problems. Even if this wasn't a negative one here, that's the most obvious problem. But even if this was
a positive value here, how do you simplify or how do you somehow
isolate the x over here? You've pretty quickly hit a dead end. So just willy nilly, taking the square root of
both sides of a quadratic is not going to be too helpful. So I'll put a big X over there. Another strategy that sometimes
people will try to go for is to isolate the x squared first. So you could imagine, let me just rewrite it. X squared plus four x plus
three is equal to negative one. They might say, let's
isolate that x squared by subtracting four x from both sides and subtracting three from both sides. And then what happens? On the left hand side, you do indeed isolate the x squared, and on the right hand side, you get negative four x minus four. And now, someone might say, if I take the square root of both sides, I could get, I'll just write that down. Square root of x squared is equal to, and you could try to take
the plus of minus of one side to make sure you're
hitting the negative roots. Negative four x minus four. And you could get something like this, you would get x is equal to plus or minus the square root
of negative four x minus four, but this still doesn't help you. You still don't know what x is, and it's really not clear what to do with this algebraically. So this is yet another dead end. Now, there's some cases in which this strategy would have worked. In fact, it would have worked if you did not have
this first degree term. If you did not have this
x term, so to speak. Then this strategy would have worked assuming that there are some solutions. But if you have an x term like this and it doesn't cancel out somehow, you know, if there was another
four x on the other side, then you could subtract
four x from both sides, and they would disappear. But if can't make these things disappear, this strategy that I've just outlined is not going to be a productive one. Now another strategy that
you'll sometimes see people use, especially when they
see something like this, let me rewrite it. X squared plus four x plus
three is equal to negative one. They immediately go into factoring mode. They say, hey, wait, I think I
might be able to factor this. I can think of two numbers
that add up to four and whose product is three. Maybe three and one. And then they immediately factor
this left hand expression, say that's going to be x plus three times x plus one, and then that's going to
be equal to negative one. And then they either are
about to make a mistake, this is actually algebraically valid. But they either make a mistake or they realize that
they're at a dead end. Because just saying that
something times something is equal to negative one doesn't help you a ton. Because it's not clear
yet, how you'd solve for x. Another thing, try to do is, is they'll immediately say, okay, therefore x is
equal to negative three or x is equal to negative one because negative three will
make this first term zero and negative one, or negative one would
make the second term zero. But remember, this would only be true if you're multiplying two things and you got zero as their product, then the solutions would be anything that made either one of
those terms equal to zero. But that's not what
we're dealing with here. Here we're taking the product
is equal to negative one. So in order to factor like this and make headway in most cases, you're going to wanna have a zero on the right hand side over here. And that's also true if you're trying to apply
the quadratic formula. A lot of folks would say, okay, I see a quadratic
equation right over here. Let me just apply the quadratic formula. They say, if I have something of the form ax squared plus bx plus
c is equal to zero. The quadratic formula would say that the roots are gonna be x is equal to negative b plus or minus the square root
of b squared minus four ac, all of that over two a. And so they'll immediately say, all right, I can recognize a here, as just being a one, there's a one coefficient
implicitly there, b is four, c is three. And they'll say, okay, x
is equal to negative four plus or minus the square
root of b squared, which is 16, minus four
times one, times three, all of that over two times one. But there's a problem. The quadratic formula applies when the left hand side is equal to zero. That's not what we have over here. So we're falling into that same pitfall. So everything I just did, none of this is a good idea. So the way to approach this, if you want zero over here, you wanna add one on the right hand side, and if you wanna maintain the equality, you have to add a one
on the left hand side. And so you're going to get x squared plus four x plus
four is equal to zero. And now you could use
the quadratic formula or you could factor. You might recognize two
plus two is equal to four. Two times two is equal to four. So you could say x plus two times x plus two is equal to zero. And so in this case, you say, all right, x could be
equal to negative two or x could be equal to
negative two. (chuckles) So this one only has one solution, x is equal to negative two. But the key is to recognize that you need the zero on
the right hand side there, if you wanna use a quadratic formula or if you wanna use factoring
and the zero product property.