Summary of Convergence Tests for Series

Test term test (or the zero test)
n

th

X
I X
n n

Series
an

Convergence or Divergence Diverges if lim
n n

Comments Inconclusive if lim
n

Geometric series

=0

ax

or

I X
n

=1

ax

 1

!

3I an T= 0
1 x
a

3I an = 0.

Converges to

only if jxj < 1

Diverges if jxj ! 1

Useful for comparison tests if the nth term an of a series is similar to axn . Useful for comparison tests if the nth term an of 1 a series is similar to p .
n

p

-series

I X
n

1
n

Converges if p > 1 Diverges if p Converges if Diverges if
c ZI c

=1

p

1

Integral

an (c ! 0) = an = f (n) for all n

I X

ZI

f x

( ) dx converges

n c

f x

( ) dx diverges

X

Comparison

an

and

X

bn

X X X X

bn

converges =A diverges =A

X

with 0

X

an

bn

an

and

X

for all n
bn

an

X

an

converges

bn

diverges converges

Limit Comparison*

with an ; bn > 0 for all n and lim
n

bn

converges =A diverges =A

X

3I bn
n

an

=L>0

bn

X

an

an

diverges

The function f obtained from an = f (n) must be continuous, positive, decreasing and readily integrable for x ! c. The comparison series X bn is often a geometric series or a p-series. The comparison series X bn is often a geometric series or a p-series. To nd bn consider only the terms of an that have the greatest e ect on the magnitude. Inconclusive if L = 1. Useful if an involves factorials or nth powers. Test is inconclusive if L = 1. Useful if an involves th n powers. Useful for series containing both positive and negative terms. Applicable only to series with alternating terms.

Ratio

X X

an

with lim

3I

j

an

j nj
a a

+1 j = L

Converges (absolutely) if L < 1 Diverges if L > 1 or if L is in nite Converges (absolutely) if L < 1

Root* Absolute Value

an

with lim

p n j j= n n3I
an

L

Diverges if L > 1 or if L is in nite

X

j nj
a

X
I X
n

X
(an > 0)

j n j converges =A
a

X

an

converges

Alternating series

=1

( 1)n 1 an

Converges if 0 < an+1 < an for all n and lim an = 0
n

3I

*The Root and Limit Comparison tests are not included in the current textbook used in Calculus classes at Bates College.

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