Factoring

Oh man, there's a lot to go over in this chapter! Don't worry: whether you're learning factoring for the first time, or the fourth, the key thing to do is to not necessarily pay attention to everything your teacher tells you about factoring. The problem is that many teachers have a "special method" for figuring out what goes in the parentheses. Why's that a problem? Because the "special method" is so special that it's harder to learn than factoring, and even when students do figure it out, they can't remember all the "special" details two years later when they're in pre-calc! So, don't worry: I'll get you through factoring with the classic method that has saved my most-confused students over the years.

Basic Factoring: "Factoring Stuff Out"

This video is about the first thing you learn in factoring: pulling out "like terms" or "the greatest common factor" (gcf). Basically, it's where you take an expression that doesn't have any parentheses, and you put parentheses in it.

Easier Factoring Problems

Factoring problems can get rough, but in this video we'll just do ones where the x2 doesn't have a number in front of it.  I also cover  the sign rules.

Hard Factoring Problems (free)

Don't let your teacher confuse you! In this video I encourage you to forget what you know about factoring and come at it with my tried-and-true "trial and error" method, which over the years has saved many of my students from factoring oblivion.

Factoring Difference of Squares

The main way to spot Difference of Squares is that there's no middle term.  Once identified, you'll make quick work of gems like x2-16, x2 - 4, and y2-1.

Factoring by U (aka Z) Substitution

When the exponents get big, it's time to substitute. You'll need this to factor things like x4-16, x8-64, or x4+4x2-5.  Check with your teacher to find out how rigorous you have to be for full credit!

Factoring Sum & Difference of Cubes

This video is about a rarely-seen factoring situation: cubes. I give you the formula to make it easy, and explain how to use it. As usual, I encourage you to reduce mistakes by writing out Every. Single. Step. And do nothing in your head!

Factoring by Grouping

Factoring by grouping is annoying because it only works on problems that are carefully contrived by your teacher. Unlike most types of factoring, once you're out of the factoring chapter you'll never see grouping again, so figure out your teacher's pet problems, then move on.

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