Sunday, November 22, 2009

Calming Down and Factoring

So I just finished reviewing all the math problems from my last practice test. Most of my issues are fairly correctable: not reading the problem carefully enough, reading carefully but forgetting an element of the question by the time I've completed some calculations, making problems more complicated than they have to be (this is a bit harder to correct as it requires the ability to translate problems into their simplest terms on first take, which is difficult for me as a "non-math" person who has been out of school for years), making simple errors in calculation, and so forth. There are a few concepts, however, that I need to review again. One of those is factoring polynomials. I've just been reviewing how to factor polynomials, and I want to share this great video I found on YouTube:

Know any middle schoolers or high schoolers who are learning to factor polynomials? I highly recommend you show them this video! I'm having so much fun taking polynomials from other YouTube videos on factoring polynomials, using this method, and getting the problems factored correctly before the other videos finish.

Here's another good one for cases in which you have four terms:

Students today are so lucky to have access to internet teachers! What cool stuff.

I'm having so much fun with factoring polynomials that I need to stop myself from doing more. Since factoring is just one of many concepts challenged by the GRE, I can't afford to spend more than a few minutes on it. Bummer. Time for me to go figure out something about factoring exponents in general, which apparently is the easiest way to realize that 3^17+3^18 is equal to (4)3^17. Also, I really need a tutorial in how to recognize problems that are best solved by unfactoring, that is using the FOIL method...and the simplest and fastest way to complete these problems. Any suggestions?

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