# For a complete set of online Algebra notes visit http://tutorial.math.lamar.edu.

Algebra Cheat Sheet

Basic Properties & Facts
Arithmetic Operations
( )
, 0
b ab
ab ac a b c a
c c
a
a a ac b
b c bc b
c
b d bd b d bd
a b b a a b a b
c d d c c c c
a
b c a
c a bc
d
| `
+ · + ·

. ,
| `

. ,
· ·
| `

. ,
+ −
+ · − ·
− − +
· · +
− −
| `

+
. ,
· + ≠ ·
| `

. ,
Exponent Properties
( )
( )
( )
( )
1
1
0
1
1, 0
1 1
n
m
m m
n
n m n m n m
m m n
m
n nm
n
n
n
n n
n
n n
n n
n n
n
n
n
n
a
a a a a
a a
a a a a
a a
ab a b
b b
a a
a a
a b b
a a a
b a a
+ −

· · ·
· · ≠
| `
· ·

. ,
· ·
| ` | `
· · · ·

. , . ,

1
, if is odd
, if is even
n
n n n n
n
m n nm
n
n
n n
n n
a a ab a b
a a
a a
b b
a a n
a a n
· ·
· ·
·
·

Properties of Inequalities
If then and
If and 0 then and
If and 0 then and
a b a c b c a c b c
a b
a b c ac bc
c c
a b
a b c ac bc
c c
< + < + − < −
< > < <
< < > >

Properties of Absolute Value
if 0
if 0
a a
a
a a
≥ ¹
·
'
− <
¹

0
Triangle Inequality
a a a
a
a
ab a b
b b
a b a b
≥ − ·
· ·
+ ≤ +

Distance Formula
If ( )
1 1 1
, P x y · and ( )
2 2 2
, P x y · are two
points the distance between them is

( ) ( ) ( )
2 2
1 2 2 1 2 1
, d P P x x y y · − + −

Complex Numbers

( ) ( ) ( )
( ) ( ) ( )
( )( ) ( )
( )( )
( )
( )( )
2
2 2
2 2
2
1 1 , 0
Complex Modulus
Complex Conjugate
i i a i a a
a bi c di a c b d i
a bi c di a c b d i
a bi c di ac bd ad bc i
a bi a bi a b
a bi a b
a bi a bi
a bi a bi a bi
· − · − − · ≥
+ + + · + + +
+ − + · − + −
+ + · − + +
+ − · +
+ · +
+ · −
+ + · +

For a complete set of online Algebra notes visit http://tutorial.math.lamar.edu. © 2005 Paul Dawkins
Logarithms and Log Properties
Definition
log is equivalent to
y
b
y x x b · ·

Example
3
5
log 125 3 because 5 125 · ·

Special Logarithms
10
ln log natural log
log log common log
e
x x
x x
·
·

where 2.718281828 e · K
Logarithm Properties
( )
( )
log
log 1 log 1 0
log
log log
log log log
log log log
b
b b
x x
b
r
b b
b b b
b b b
b
b x b x
x r x
xy x y
x
x y
y
· ·
· ·
·
· +
| `
· −

. ,

The domain of log
b
x is 0 x >
Factoring and Solving
Factoring Formulas
( ) ( )
( )
( )
( ) ( ) ( )
2 2
2
2 2
2
2 2
2
2
2
x a x a x a
x ax a x a
x ax a x a
x a b x ab x a x b
− · + −
+ + · +
− + · −
+ + + · + +

( )
( )
( )( )
( ) ( )
3
3 2 2 3
3
3 2 2 3
3 3 2 2
3 3 2 2
3 3
3 3
x ax a x a x a
x ax a x a x a
x a x a x ax a
x a x a x ax a
+ + + · +
− + − · −
+ · + − +
− · − + +

( )( )
2 2 n n n n n n
x a x a x a − · − +
If n is odd then,
( ) ( )
( )( )
1 2 1
1 2 2 3 1
n n n n n
n n
n n n n
x a x a x ax a
x a
x a x ax a x a
− − −
− − − −
− · − + + +
+
· + − + − +
L
L
Solve
2
0 ax bx c + + · , 0 a ≠
2
4
2
b b ac
x
a
− t −
·
If
2
4 0 b ac − > - Two real unequal solns.
If
2
4 0 b ac − · - Repeated real solution.
If
2
4 0 b ac − < - Two complex solutions.

Square Root Property
If
2
x p · then x p · t

Absolute Value Equations/Inequalities
If b is a positive number
or
or
p b p b p b
p b b p b
p b p b p b
· ⇒ · − ·
< ⇒ − < <
> ⇒ < − >

Completing the Square
Solve
2
2 6 10 0 x x − − ·

(1) Divide by the coefficient of the
2
x
2
3 5 0 x x − − ·
(2) Move the constant to the other side.
2
3 5 x x − ·
(3) Take half the coefficient of x, square
it and add it to both sides
2 2
2
3 3 9 29
3 5 5
2 2 4 4
x x
| ` | `
− + − · + − · + ·

. , . ,

(4) Factor the left side
2
3 29
2 4
x
| `
− ·

. ,

(5) Use Square Root Property
3 29 29
2 4 2
x − · t · t
(6) Solve for x
3 29
2 2
x · t

For a complete set of online Algebra notes visit http://tutorial.math.lamar.edu. © 2005 Paul Dawkins
Functions and Graphs
Constant Function
( ) or y a f x a · ·
Graph is a horizontal line passing
through the point ( ) 0, a .

Line/Linear Function
( ) or y mx b f x mx b · + · +
Graph is a line with point ( ) 0, b and
slope m.

Slope
Slope of the line containing the two
points ( )
1 1
, x y and ( )
2 2
, x y is
2 1
2 1
rise
run
y y
m
x x

· ·

Slope – intercept form
The equation of the line with slope m
and y-intercept ( ) 0, b is
y mx b · +
Point – Slope form
The equation of the line with slope m
and passing through the point ( )
1 1
, x y is
( )
1 1
y y m x x · + −

( ) ( ) ( )
2 2
y a x h k f x a x h k · − + · − +

The graph is a parabola that opens up if
0 a > or down if 0 a < and has a vertex
at ( ) , h k .

( )
2 2
y ax bx c f x ax bx c · + + · + +

The graph is a parabola that opens up if
0 a > or down if 0 a < and has a vertex
at ,
2 2
b b
f
a a
| ` | `
− −

. , . ,
.

( )
2 2
x ay by c g y ay by c · + + · + +

The graph is a parabola that opens right
if 0 a > or left if 0 a < and has a vertex
at ,
2 2
b b
g
a a
| ` | `
− −

. , . ,
.

Circle
( ) ( )
2 2
2
x h y k r − + − ·
Graph is a circle with radius r and center
( ) , h k .

Ellipse
( ) ( )
2 2
2 2
1
x h y k
a b
− −
+ ·
Graph is an ellipse with center ( ) , h k
with vertices a units right/left from the
center and vertices b units up/down from
the center.

Hyperbola
( ) ( )
2 2
2 2
1
x h y k
a b
− −
− ·
Graph is a hyperbola that opens left and
right, has a center at ( ) , h k , vertices a
units left/right of center and asymptotes
that pass through center with slope
b
a
t .
Hyperbola
( ) ( )
2 2
2 2
1
y k x h
b a
− −
− ·
Graph is a hyperbola that opens up and
down, has a center at ( ) , h k , vertices b
units up/down from the center and
asymptotes that pass through center with
slope
b
a
t .

For a complete set of online Algebra notes visit http://tutorial.math.lamar.edu. © 2005 Paul Dawkins
Common Algebraic Errors
Error Reason/Correct/Justification/Example
2
0
0
≠ and
2
2
0
≠ Division by zero is undefined!
2
3 9 − ≠
2
3 9 − · − , ( )
2
3 9 − · Watch parenthesis!
( )
3
2 5
x x ≠
( )
3
2 2 2 2 6
x x x x x · ·
a a a
b c b c
≠ +
+

1 1 1 1
2
2 1 1 1 1
· ≠ + ·
+

2 3
2 3
1
x x
x x
− −
≠ +
+

A more complex version of the previous
error.
a bx
a
+
1 bx ≠ +
1
a bx a bx bx
a a a a
+
· + · +
Beware of incorrect canceling!
( ) 1 a x ax a − − ≠ − −
( ) 1 a x ax a − − · − +
Make sure you distribute the “-“!
( )
2
2 2
x a x a + ≠ + ( ) ( ) ( )
2
2 2
2 x a x a x a x ax a + · + + · + +
2 2
x a x a + ≠ +
2 2 2 2
5 25 3 4 3 4 3 4 7 · · + ≠ + · + ·
x a x a + ≠ +
See previous error.
( )
n
n n
x a x a + ≠ + and
n n n
x a x a + ≠ +
More general versions of previous three
errors.
( ) ( )
2 2
2 1 2 2 x x + ≠ +
( ) ( )
2
2 2
2 1 2 2 1 2 4 2 x x x x x + · + + · + +
( )
2
2
2 2 4 8 4 x x x + · + +
Square first then distribute!
( ) ( )
2 2
2 2 2 1 x x + ≠ +
See the previous example. You can not
factor out a constant if there is a power on
the parethesis!
2 2 2 2
x a x a − + ≠ − +
( )
1
2 2 2 2
2
x a x a − + · − +
Now see the previous error.
a ab
b c
c

| `

. ,

1
1
a
a a c ac
b b b b
c c
| `

| `| `
. ,
· · ·

| ` | `
. ,. ,

. , . ,

a
ac b
c b
| `

. ,

1
1
a a
a a b b
c c b c bc
| ` | `

| `| `
. , . ,
· · ·

| `
. ,. ,

. ,

Repeated real solution. a ≠ 0 −b ± b 2 − 4ac 2a 2 If b − 4ac > 0 .lamar.edu. x n − a n = ( x − a ) ( x n −1 + ax n − 2 + L + a n −1 ) xn + a n = ( x + a ) ( x n −1 − ax n − 2 + a 2 x n −3 − L + a n −1 ) 2 Solve 2 x − 6 x − 10 = 0 Completing the Square (4) Factor the left side 3 29  x−  = 2 4  (5) Use Square Root Property 3 29 29 x− = ± =± 2 4 2 (6) Solve for x 3 29 x= ± 2 2 2 (1) Divide by the coefficient of the x 2 x 2 − 3x − 5 = 0 (2) Move the constant to the other side. x 2 − 3x = 5 (3) Take half the coefficient of x. If b 2 − 4ac = 0 . square it and add it to both sides 9 29  3  3 x 2 − 3x +  −  = 5 +  −  = 5 + = 4 4  2  2 2 2 For a complete set of online Algebra notes visit http://tutorial.718281828K Factoring Formulas x 2 − a 2 = ( x + a )( x − a ) x 2 + 2ax + a 2 = ( x + a ) x 2 − 2ax + a 2 = ( x − a ) 2 2 Logarithm Properties log b b = 1 log b 1 = 0 log b b x = x log b ( x r ) = r log b x b logb x = x log b ( xy ) = log b x + log b y x log b   = log b x − log b y  y The domain of log b x is x > 0 Factoring and Solving Quadratic Formula Solve ax 2 + bx + c = 0 .math. x= Square Root Property If x 2 = p then x = ± p Absolute Value Equations/Inequalities If b is a positive number p =b ⇒ p = −b or p = b p <b p >b ⇒ ⇒ −b < p < b p < −b or p>b x 2 + ( a + b ) x + ab = ( x + a )( x + b ) x3 + 3ax 2 + 3a 2 x + a 3 = ( x + a ) x3 − 3ax 2 + 3a 2 x − a 3 = ( x − a ) 3 3 x3 + a3 = ( x + a ) ( x 2 − ax + a 2 ) x3 − a 3 = ( x − a ) ( x 2 + ax + a 2 ) x −a 2n 2n = (x −a n n )( x n +a n ) If n is odd then.Logarithms and Log Properties Definition y = log b x is equivalent to x = b y Example log 5 125 = 3 because 53 = 125 Special Logarithms ln x = log e x natural log log x = log10 x common log where e = 2.Two complex solutions.Two real unequal solns. If b 2 − 4ac < 0 . © 2005 Paul Dawkins .

k ) . vertices b units up/down from the center and asymptotes that pass through center with b slope ± . a Graph is a line with point ( 0. y1 ) and ( x2 .   2a  2 a  Circle 2 2 ( x − h) + ( y − k ) = r 2 Graph is a circle with radius r and center ( h. b ) and slope m. y2 ) is y2 − y1 rise = x2 − x1 run Slope – intercept form The equation of the line with slope m and y-intercept ( 0. f  −   .  2a  2 a   (y −k) 2 − ( x − h) 2 For a complete set of online Algebra notes visit http://tutorial. Hyperbola =1 a2 b2 Graph is a hyperbola that opens left and right. Line/Linear Function y = mx + b or f ( x ) = mx + b Parabola/Quadratic Function x = ay 2 + by + c g ( y ) = ay 2 + by + c The graph is a parabola that opens right if a > 0 or left if a < 0 and has a vertex   b  b  at  g  −  . a Hyperbola =1 b2 a2 Graph is a hyperbola that opens up and down. © 2005 Paul Dawkins . a ) . vertices a units left/right of center and asymptotes b that pass through center with slope ± . y1 ) is m= y = y1 + m ( x − x1 ) ( x − h) 2 ( y −k) + 2 ( x − h) 2 ( y −k) − 2 Parabola/Quadratic Function 2 2 y = a ( x − h) + k f ( x) = a ( x − h) + k The graph is a parabola that opens up if a > 0 or down if a < 0 and has a vertex at ( h. k ) .lamar. Parabola/Quadratic Function y = ax 2 + bx + c f ( x ) = ax 2 + bx + c The graph is a parabola that opens up if a > 0 or down if a < 0 and has a vertex  b  b  at  − . −  .edu. has a center at ( h.Functions and Graphs Constant Function y = a or f ( x ) = a Graph is a horizontal line passing through the point ( 0. has a center at ( h. k ) with vertices a units right/left from the center and vertices b units up/down from the center. k ) . Slope Slope of the line containing the two points ( x1 .b ) is y = mx + b Point – Slope form The equation of the line with slope m and passing through the point ( x1 . k ) . Ellipse =1 a2 b2 Graph is an ellipse with center ( h.math.

You can not factor out a constant if there is a power on the parethesis! − x2 + a2 = ( − x2 + a 2 ) 2 Now see the previous error.math. a   a 1  a  c  ac =   =    =  b   b   1  b  b     c c a a      b  =  b  =  a  1  = a    c  c   b  c  bc   1 1 ( 2 x + 2) − x2 + a2 ≠ − x2 + a2 a ab ≠ b c   c a   ac b ≠ c b For a complete set of online Algebra notes visit http://tutorial. a + bx a bx bx = + = 1+ a a a a Beware of incorrect canceling! − a ( x − 1) = − ax + a Make sure you distribute the “-“! ( x + a) 2 ≠ x2 + a2 ( x + a) 2 = ( x + a )( x + a ) = x 2 + 2ax + a 2 x2 + a2 ≠ x + a x+a ≠ x + a ( x + a) n ≠ x n + a n and 2 2 n x+a ≠ n x + n a 5 = 25 = 32 + 42 ≠ 32 + 42 = 3 + 4 = 7 See previous error.lamar. More general versions of previous three errors.Common Algebraic Errors Error 2 2 ≠ 0 and ≠ 2 0 0 −32 ≠ 9 Reason/Correct/Justification/Example Division by zero is undefined! −32 = −9 .edu. © 2005 Paul Dawkins . ( −3 ) 2 = 9 Watch parenthesis! (x ) 2 3 ≠ x5 (x ) 2 3 = x2 x2 x2 = x6 a a a ≠ + b+c b c 1 ≠ x −2 + x −3 2 3 x +x a + bx ≠ 1 + bx a − a ( x − 1) ≠ − ax − a 1 1 1 1 = ≠ + =2 2 1+1 1 1 A more complex version of the previous error. 2 ( x + 1) = 2 ( x 2 + 2 x + 1) = 2 x 2 + 4 x + 2 2 2 2 ( x + 1) ≠ ( 2 x + 2 ) ( 2 x + 2) 2 ≠ 2 ( x + 1) 2 = 4 x2 + 8x + 4 Square first then distribute! See the previous example.