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Arithmetic & geometric progressions: A summary

Arithmetic progression Geometric progression
First term, a First term, a
Common difference, d Common ratio, r
nth term, ( ) 1
n
T a n d = + − nth term,
1 n
n
T ar

=
1
constant
n n
T T

− =
1
constant
n
n
T
T

=
Sum of the first n terms,
( ) 2 1
2
n
n
S a n d = + −


or ( )
2
n
a l + where l is the last term
Sum of the first n terms,
( )
1
1
n
n
a r
S
r

=

where 1 r <
or
( )
1
1
n
a r
r


where 1 r >
Sum of the next n terms:
1 2 2
...
n n n
T T T
+ +
+ + + =
2n n
S S −
Relationship between sum and term:
1 n n n
S S T

− =
No sum to infinity exists Sum to infinity,
1
a
S
r

=

,
exists if 1 r <
Useful results:
( ) ( )
2
1
1 2 1
6
n
r
n
r n n
=
= + +

, ( )
2
3
1
1
2
n
r
n
r n
=

= +




Number of terms in
n
r
r m
T
=

: 1 n m − +

Example 1: This type of question deals with basic properties of a series.

The sum of the first n terms of the series is
2
1
5
n
| |

|
\ ¹
. Show that this is a geometric series.
Does the sum to infinity exist?

Key steps:
• Find
1 n n n
T S S

= −
• Find
1 n
T

from
n
T
• Show that
1
constant
n
n
T
T

=
• Check if the modulus of the constant is less than 1

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Example 2: This type of question deals with the forming of relationships between AP &
GP.

An arithmetic series and a geometric series have r as the common difference and the
common ratio respectively. The first term of the arithmetic series is 1 and the first term of
the geometric series is 2. If the fourth term of the arithmetic series is equal to the sum of
the third and fourth terms of the geometric series, find three possible values of r.

Key steps:
• Find out how the AP & GP look like:
− for AP, ( ) 1 1
n
T n r = + −
− for GP,
1
2
n
n
T r

=

• Form a relationship, given in the question:
4 3 4
of AP of GP T T T = +
2 3
1 3 2 2 r r r ⇒ + = +

• Solve the cubic equation for three r values.

Example 3: This type of question deals with the recognition of patterns in general.

The sequence of odd integers is grouped in brackets as follows:
(1), (3, 5), (7, 9, 11), (13, 15, 17, 19), … such that each bracket contains one more integer
than the preceding bracket.
(i) Write down the total number of integers in the first n brackets and find the sum of all
the integers in the first n brackets.

(ii) Find the first integer in the nth bracket and find also the sum of the integers in the nth
bracket.

Key steps for (i):
• Find a pattern for the number of integers in each bracket:
− bracket 1: 1
− bracket 2: 2
− bracket 3: 3
:
:
− bracket n: n

• Find the total number 1 2 ... n = + + + , which is the sum of AP

• Find a pattern for the sum of integers in each bracket:
− bracket 1:
3
1 1 =
− bracket 2:
3
8 2 =
− bracket 3:
3
27 3 =
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− bracket 4:
3
64 4 =
:
:
− bracket n:
3
n (this gives the answer for part ii)

• Find the total sum
3 3 3 3
1
1 2 ...
n
r
n r
=
= + + + =



Key steps for (ii):
• Find a pattern for the first integer in each bracket:
− bracket 1: 1
− bracket 2: 3 1 2 = +
− bracket 3: 7 1 2 4 = + +
− bracket 4: 13 1 2 4 6 = + + +
:
:
− bracket n: ( ) 2 2 1
2
n
n + −

, which is the sum of AP

Example 4: This type of question deals with the recognition of patterns related to
compound interests.

I save $C every month, at 0.5% per month interest on the total amount saved. Find an
expression for the total amount $T that I would have at the end of n months. Find the
number of months n at the end of which T first exceeds 100C.

Key steps:
• Draw up a table to record important values systematically.

Month Start End T
1 C 1.005C 1.005C
2 1.005C
( ) 1.005 1.005 C C + ×
2
1.005 1.005 C C +
3
2
1.005 1.005 C C +
( )
2
1.005 1.005 1.005 C C C + + ×
2 3
1.005 1.005 1.005 C C C + +
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
n
1.005 ... 1.005
n
C C + +

• Find a pattern for T:
− Month 1: 1 term & power = 1
− Month 2: 2 terms & power = 2
− Month 3: 3 terms & power = 3
:
:
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− Month n: n terms & power = n, which is the sum of GP with first term 1.005 and
common ratio 1.005.

• To find n, set up an equality and solve it: 100 T C >

. The first term of the arithmetic series is 1 and the first term of the geometric series is 2. 9. 11). given in the question: T4 of AP = T3 + T4 of GP ⇒ 1 + 3r = 2r 2 + 2r 3 • Solve the cubic equation for three r values. Key steps: • Find out how the AP & GP look like: − for AP. Tn = 1 + ( n − 1) r − for GP. The sequence of odd integers is grouped in brackets as follows: (1). find three possible values of r.. 19). (3. Example 3: This type of question deals with the recognition of patterns in general. 15. If the fourth term of the arithmetic series is equal to the sum of the third and fourth terms of the geometric series.Example 2: This type of question deals with the forming of relationships between AP & GP. which is the sum of AP Find a pattern for the sum of integers in each bracket: − bracket 1: 1 = 13 − bracket 2: 8 = 23 − bracket 3: 27 = 33 Page 2 . 5). 17. + n . Key steps for (i): • Find a pattern for the number of integers in each bracket: − bracket 1: 1 − bracket 2: 2 − bracket 3: 3 : : − bracket n: n • • Find the total number = 1 + 2 + . (7. An arithmetic series and a geometric series have r as the common difference and the common ratio respectively. … such that each bracket contains one more integer than the preceding bracket. Tn = 2r n −1 • Form a relationship. (i) Write down the total number of integers in the first n brackets and find the sum of all the integers in the first n brackets. (13. (ii) Find the first integer in the nth bracket and find also the sum of the integers in the nth bracket.

005C + 1.005C + C ) ×1. Find an expression for the total amount $T that I would have at the end of n months.005C 3 : : 1.005C + 1.− bracket 4: 64 = 43 : : − bracket n: n3 (this gives the answer for part ii) • Find the total sum = 13 + 23 + . Find the number of months n at the end of which T first exceeds 100C.005C + .5% per month interest on the total amount saved.005n C (1.005C (1...0052 C 1.005 2 T 1. which is the sum of AP  2 Example 4: This type of question deals with the recognition of patterns related to compound interests. Key steps: • Draw up a table to record important values systematically.0052 C + 1. I save $C every month.005C 3 1. + n3 = ∑ r 3 r =1 n Key steps for (ii): • Find a pattern for the first integer in each bracket: − bracket 1: 1 − bracket 2: 3 = 1 + 2 − bracket 3: 7 = 1 + 2 + 4 − bracket 4: 13 = 1 + 2 + 4 + 6 : : n − bracket n:  2 + 2 ( n − 1)  .. Month Start 1 C 2 1.0052 C End 1. + 1.005 : : n • : : : : Find a pattern for T: − Month 1: 1 term & power = 1 − Month 2: 2 terms & power = 2 − Month 3: 3 terms & power = 3 : : Page 3 . at 0.005C + 1..005C + 1.005 C + C ) ×1.005C 1.

005.005 and common ratio 1. which is the sum of GP with first term 1.− Month n: n terms & power = n. • To find n. set up an equality and solve it: T > 100C Page 4 .