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Precalc tips

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GRAPHING RATIONAL FUNTIONS.A rational function is any two polynomials divided together. They can have VA, HA, holes, obliqueasymptotes, and x y intercepts. There domain is never all real

1)

The domain of this function is any value except for values of x that makes the functionundefined. At x=0 our function is undefined so the domain should be (-infinity, 0)U(0, infinity)Remember that domain deals with what values of x that do

esn’t make the function undefined

and range is about what values of y can you get out of the function. () means an open interval(not included in) and [ ] means closed interval (included in)2)

To find vertical asymptotes we first set the denominator equal to 0. This gives us x=0. Now weneed to plug in x=0 into our function. If we get out a

then we have an asymptote at x=0. If when we plug in x=0 into our function we get

we have a hole at x=0.Plugging in x=0 gives

()

so we indeed have a VA at x=0.3)

To find horizontal asymptotes we need to look at the HIGHEST DEGREE of both the nominatorand denominator. You can have 3 cases.Case 1. The Degree of the nominator is HIGHER than the degree of the denominator. Then thereare no horizontal asymptotes. An example of a function like this would be

()

. As you can see the HD of the N is 3 and the HD of the D is 1. So there will be nohorizontal asymptote.Case 2. The Degree of the nominator EQUALS the degree of the denominator. Then there will bea horizontal asymptote at the ratio of the coeffs in front of the Highest Degree of both thenominator and denominator. An example of this would be a function like

()

. As you can see the HD of the N is 2 and the HD of D is 2. So there will bea horizontal asymptote at y=3/10.Case 3. The Degree of the nominator is LESS than the degree of the denominator. Then there willbe a horizontal asymptote at y=0. An example of this would be something like

. As you can see the HD of the N is less than the HD of the D, so there will be a horizontalasymptote at y=0

Now going back to our problem we have

. We can easily see that this will havea horizontal asymptote at y=2 since the HD of the N = HD of the D.4)

Next we need to find x and y intercepts. You need to pay attention to the math when

you’re

doing these if when you solve for an x or intercept and you get an imaginarynumber or something undefined then

it’s

safe to say that there will be no intercept. Payattention to your asymptotes too. If you have an asymptote at x=0, then it

’

s safe to saythat you won

’

t have a y intercept.Remember that you can cross a horizontal asymptote but NEVER a vertical asymptote.So given

To find x intercepts set y=0. The x will go away and we will have 0=2x-6, solving for xgives x=3. Thus we have an x intercept at x=3, or at the point (3,0)To find y intercepts set x=0. This gives

. This should scream at you that it isundefined. Thus there will be no y intercepts for this function.We could also tell that there will be no y intercepts, since we know that we have avertical asymptote at x=0. That means that the function will have an asymptote alongthe entire y axis, so it will never be able to cross.5)

Now that we know VA, HA, x intercept, y intercept we pretty much know everythingabout the graph. I would graph points next. Remember that if you

don’t

feel like youhave a good idea of what the function does at an interval PICK MORE POINTS.Sometimes it

’

s good to pick numbers like ½ if you want to see what happens between 0and 1.When you graph first label asymptotes and then points. Make sure to include x and yintercept points if there are any.If you want to check your work on a graph than use wolfram alpha, just type in thefunction and it should pop up.