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Polynomial Inequalities Name: ________________________

The basic plan for solving polynomial inequalities is as follows. Use these steps to solve these inequalities
a) If necessary, solve the inequality for zero first.
b) Replace the inequality with an equals sign instead and follow the next steps to graph the function on the
graph first – don’t worry about the inequality yet.
c) Put the polynomial into factored form.
d) Find and plot the zeros.
e) Use sign testing and multiplicity or if quadratic determine which way it opens.
f) Now sketch the polynomial.
g) Final and VITAL step: Once the polynomial is graphed, you go back to the original question, the inequality, and
realize what the problem is asking when the function is > 0, or “when is the function positive?”. LOOK on the
graph – now write down the x-intervals where the graph is positive. Voila!
1. Follow steps a-e: x2 + 6x + 4 > 0

Based on your answers to steps (a) through (e), draw a quick sketch of the function y = x2 + 6x + 4.
This should not require much work—no calculator, no completing the square—you don’t even need
to know what the vertex is. Just draw a parabola that opens the way you said it should in part (b),
and equals zero where you said it should in part (a).

a. Now, our original goal was to solve the inequality x2 + 6x + 4 > 0. Based on your graph, for what
x-values is this function positive? Write your answers in interval notation, and you’re done.
2. 2x2 + 11x + 9 ≤ 3x + 1

3. (x - 1)(x – 2)(x + 1) ≤ 0 This one is already in factored form, so just put in an equals and you’re
already at step d! (x - 1)(x – 2)(x + 1) = 0

4. – x3 + x2 + 6x ≥ 0

Some Answers
1. The zeros are -3 ± √5. The solution to the question is x < -3-√5 or x > -3+√5
2. The zero is -2 When is the inequality true? Never – it hits zero once, but does not go negative
3. x < -1 or 1 < x < 2