Factoring is a tough subject, but it's one you'll keep using throughout your math career, and it's the most common weakness of students I tutor from more advanced classes. The most common problem, though, seems to be "tricks" that some teachers show students to make factoring "easier". I put those terms in quotes because these methods are usually harder to learn and remember than factoring is on its own! So, in the videos below I teach factoring the old school way: trial and error! You may have to erase once or twice on the harder problems, but hey, it beats staring at a blank test trying to remember how the heck your teacher set up that "chart thing" that seemed so helpful at the time.
If you have a super-hard teacher and this chapter doesn't cover you, check out the Algebra 2 Factoring Chapter for more advanced problem types.
Factoring Stuff Out (a.k.a. "distribution in reverse")
Instead of taking a problem like 2(x-3) and distributing it to 2x-6, we're going to do the exact opposite: start with 2x-6 and break it up into 2(x-3) by pulling out common factors. Seem like a waste? It's a necessary skill that you'll see throughout your math career, and it's a great lead-in for the more difficult type of factoring with two sets of parentheses, coming up in the next videos.
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.
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.
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.
If you do not have an account, you should get one, because it is awesome! You can save a playlist for each test or each chapter, and save your "greatest hits" into a "watch right before the final" list (not that we recommend cramming, but when in Rome...)