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# Tests for Convergence of a Sequence

:
Definition of Convergence of a Sequence:
Given any sequence {an}, the sequence is convergent if

lim a n
n

=L

Squeeze Theorem for Sequences
If an  bn  cn for all n  N, and if

lim a n
n

lim c n

= n

lim bn

= L, then n  

=L

Geometric Sequence:
A geometric sequence { ar n 1 } is convergent if −1 < r  1 and divergent for all other values of r.

an
If −1 < r < 1, then  lim
n 

 0

Tests for Convergence of a Series:

Definition of Convergence of a Series: Given any series  a n , the series is convergent if the sequence
n 1

n

sn  S where
of partial sums {sn} is convergent to a number S; that is lim
n 

sn 

 ai

i 1

Evaluating the (Limit of) Partial Sum
If you are lucky and you find an explicit general formula the nth partial sum,
terms of n, then you can
series.

sn
evaluate nlim


If the limit of the partial sum exists,

n

sn 

 ai expressed in

i 1

to see if it approaches a number S to find the sum of the

lim sn  S , then the series is convergent with sum S.
n 

If the limit of the partial sum does not exist, then the series is divergent.
Test for Divergence
an  0 or does not exist, then the series
Given any series  an , if lim
n 

a

n

is divergent.

an  0
*** Test for divergence fail to conclude if lim
n 
Special Series :

 a   ar

n 1

is convergent for −1 < r < 1 and is divergent for r  −1 or r  1.
a
n 1
*** If an infinite geometric series  ar is convergent, then its sum is S 
1 r
1
p – Series:  an   p is convergent for p >1 and is divergent for p  1.
n
Geometric Series:

n

Integral Test Suppose f(x) is a continuous. The comparison tests require that you have a known convergent or known divergent series you can compare on a term by term basis to the terms of a b n n  Ratio Test: Given a series  an : n1 If < 1. then n is divergent and an  bn n n Limit Comparison Test Suppose  an and  bn are series with positive terms an > 0 and bn> 0 for all n  1 : an  C for some finite number C > 0. positive. the test gives no information about convergence or divergence of an The ratio test is useful for series whose terms contain factorials. decreasing function on the interval [1.  a n n1 that . n is convergent and an  bn for all n  1. ) and with an = f(n) for all integers n  1 :  then a n 1 n  then a n 1 n  is convergent if and only if is divergent if and only if   1  1 a n is a series f ( x)dx is convergent . then series  a n is absolutely convergent and therefore also convergent. n1 If > 1 or lim an 1 = . then the series n  If lim n  *** an  a n is divergent. then  a is also divergent. Comparison Test Suppose  an and are series with positive terms an > 0 and bn> 0 for all n  1 : b If  b If  a is also convergent. then either both series converge or both n   bn If lim series diverge. f ( x)dx is divergent . n1 an 1 = 1 . for all n  1. C   .

If you can find a test that works for series with positive terms to show that   a converges. 1) bn  0 for all n  1 bn  0 2) lim n  3) bn+1 < bn for all n  1 . consider {bn} where bn = |an| : bn The series converges if all the 3 conditions are satisfied. then this test does not give you any information about the convergence or n1  divergence of the alternating series a n . You need to find another test of convergence. converges absolutely if n n Alternating Series Test Suppose  an is an alternating series  an   (1) n 1 . n1  If a n diverges. n1 converges. the series is "absolutely convergent" which is a stronger condition that n1 convergence. n1 a *** An alternating convergent series  a *** An alternating convergent series n n  a also converges converges conditionally if  a diverges. then this test tells you that n n1 a n also converges. then so does n1  If a n  a n .Absolute-Convergence Test  Suppose an is an alternating series: If  an converges.