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 INTRODUCTION

In this topic we shall begin with the set of real numbers. Then, we will learn about
polynomial and equations. We will also learn the operations of polynomials and
apply these operations in solving problems in quadratic equations and partial
fractions.
SETS OF REAL NUMBERS

The numbers that we use can be classified into various categories. We call them
set of numbers. Let us begin with a set of natural numbers. Natural numbers are
basic counting numbers as follows:

= N { 1, 2, 3, ... }

1.1
T
T
o
o
p
p
i
i
c
c

1
1


Concepts
of Algebra
3. Factorise polynomials;
4. Identify proper and improper fractions; and
5. Express proper and improper fraction as partial fractions.
2. Solve mathematical operations involving polynomials;
1. Describe the sets of real numbers;
By the end of this topic, you should be able to:
LEARNING OUTCOMES
 TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA

2
Next, we will introduce you to a set of integers as follows:

= ± ± ± = ,...} 3 , 2 , 1 , 0 { Z { ..., –3, –2, –1, 0, 1, 2, 3, ... }

Note that integers are zero, positive and negative natural numbers, that is:

N N Z ÷ = } 0 {

where – N is a set of negative natural number. For convenience, we write to
denote a set of positive integer and to denote a set of negative integer.
+
Z
÷
Z

The set of real numbers, denoted as R, is a set which includes integers and all
values in between, for example,1.22, etc.

Rational numbers are numbers that can be written as the ratio of two integers .
This important set of numbers is defined as follows:

)
`
¹
¹
´
¦
= e = 0 , , : q q p
q
p
Z Q

This set is made up of numbers that can be written as the ratio of two integers,
q
p
,
where q is nonzero. For example,
3
1
,
3
1
÷ , 0, 1 are rational numbers. Any integer
is rational, that is, since Q Z _
1
a
a = for all integer a.

Real numbers that are not rational are called irrational. , , 2 t sin 27
o
are
examples of irrational numbers. Irrational numbers are those that cannot be written
as a ratio of two integers and we denote the set of irrational numbers as . ' Q

Thus, we conclude that a set of real numbers, is a set made up of all rational and
irrational numbers, i.e., ' Q Q R = . It is easy to see that . R Q Z N _ _ _
TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA 
3
As a simple exercise, can you give:
(a) an integer which is not natural?
(b) a rational number which is not integer?
(c) a real number which is not rational?
SELF-CHECK 1.1
POLYNOMIALS 1.2

An expression of the form:

ax
k


where a is a constant and x an unknown (or a variable) and k > 0 is an integer is
called a monomial. a is referred to as the coefficient of the monomial. We can
compute the sum or difference of any two monomials like ax
k
and bx
k
and the
results of these operations are also monomials. These operations are performed by
using a distributive property as shown in Example 1.1:

Example 1.1


2 2 2
4 2 (4 2) 6
2
x x x + = + = x
2
and 3 5
2 2 2
(3 5) 2 x x x ÷ = ÷ = ÷ x
0
0
0


Polynomial in a single variable is an algebraic expression of the following form:


1
1 1
...
n n
n n
a x a x a x a
÷
÷
+ + + +

where are constants, n > 0, and x is a variable. The constants
are coefficients of the polynomial and when a
n
= 0, the
polynomial
1 1
, , ..., ,
n n
a a a a
÷
1 1 0
, , ..., , a a
÷
n n
n n
a x a x
÷
n n
a a
1
1 1
... a x a
÷
+ + + + is called a polynomial of degree n.
Each of the monomials in a polynomial is called a term of the polynomial.

Hence, a polynomial is an algebraic sum of monomials in which no variables
appear in denominators and all variables that do appear are raised only to positive-
integer powers.
 TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA

4
Often a polynomial is written in its standard form, with the highest degree non-
zero term listed as the first, then followed by the rest of the terms in a descending
order of their degrees. The highest power in the polynomial is known as the
degree of the polynomial.

The following is a number of polynomials and some of the important properties of
each of the polynomials.

Table 1.1: Properties of Some Polynomials
Coefficient of Each of the Monomials
Polynomial
3
x
2
x
1
x
0
x
Degree
3 3 2
2 3 8 2 0 3 8 x x x x x + + ÷ + + + 2 0 3 8 3
2 3 3
2 11 0 ( 2) 0 1 x x x x ÷ + ÷ + ÷ + + 1 0 –2 0 11 2
3 2
6 0 0 ( 6) x x x x t t ÷ ÷ + + + ÷ 0 0 π –6 1
0
4 4.1 4x ÷ ÷
0 0 0 4 0

Note: Until now, we have only used x to represent variables in equations and
polynomials. In reality, we can use any other letter of an alphabet. Other letters
that are often used are y and z. All the polynomials in Table 1.1 are in terms of x.

For example, 7y
3
– 3y + 4, is a polynomial of the 3rd-degree with y as the variable.

And, 9z
4
+ 2z
3
– 10, is a polynomial of the 4th-degree with the variable z.

Remark: Polynomial of degree zero is called constant. Polynomial of degree 1 is
called linear. A complete list of degree 2 to 100 is shown in Table 1.2.

TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA 
5
Table 1.2: Polynomials Classified by Degree

Degree Name Example
0 (non-zero) constant 1
1 linear x + 1
2 quadratic x
2
+ 1
3 cubic x
3
+ 1
4 quartic (or biquadratic) x
4
+ 1
5 quintic x
5
+ 1
6 sextic (or hexic) x
6
+ 1
7 septic (or heptic) x
7
+ 1
8 octic x
8
+ 1
9 nonic x
9
+ 1
10 decic x
10
+ 1
100 hectic x
100
+ 1

(a) Addition and Subtraction of Polynomials
The addition and subtraction of polynomials are performed by combining
monomials of the same degree. That is, grouping monomials of the same
degree and combining them.

Example 1.2

2 3 2 3 2 2
3 2
3 2
(4 7 3) ( 6 5) (4 6 ) (7 ) ( 3 5)
(4 6) (7 1) ( 3 5)
2 8 2
x x x x x x x x x x
x x x
x x x
+ ÷ + ÷ + + = + ÷ + + + ÷ +
= + ÷ + + + ÷ +
= ÷ + +


Example 1.3
In this example, we find the difference of two polynomials. The first step is
to open up the brackets. When opening up the brackets, make sure the sign
of each of terms of the polynomial inside is changed accordingly due to the
negative sign before the bracket:

 TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA

6

4 3 2 4 3 2
4 3 2 4 3 2
4 3 2
4 3 2
(3 4 3 1) ( 3 5 9)
3 4 3 1 3 5 9
(3 1) (4 3) ( 3 1) (1 5) 1 9
2 2 4 10
x x x x x x x x
x x x x x x x x
x x x x
x x x x
+ ÷ + + ÷ + ÷ + ÷
= + ÷ + + ÷ + + ÷ +
= ÷ + ÷ + ÷ + + ÷ + +
= + ÷ ÷ +

Signs changed
Grouping like terms

(b) Multiplication of Polynomials
Multiplication of polynomials is handled using the distributive properties
and the rules of exponent repeatedly.

Example 1.4
2
2 2
2 2
3 2 2
3 2
(3 2)(4 7 3)
3 (4 7 3) 2(4 7 3)
3 4 3 7 3 3 2 4 2 7 2 3
12 21 9 8 14 6
12 29 5 6
x x x
x x x x x
x x x x x x x
x x x x x
x x x
+ ÷
= + ÷ + + ÷
= · + · ÷ · + · + · ÷ ·
= + + + + ÷
= + + ÷

 distributive properties
roperties

 distributive p
rules of exponent
 combine like terms

(c) A Few Common Products
There are several products of polynomials that are often used in algebra.
Among them are:


2 2
2 2 2
2 2 2
2
( )( )
( ) 2
( ) 2
( )( ) ( )
x a x a x a
x a x ax a
x a x ax a
x a x b x a b x ab
÷ + = ÷
+ = + +
÷ = ÷ +
+ + = + + +


for any real number x, a, b, c and d.

(d) Equations, Identities, Inequalities and Functions
Now, let us consider the following algebraic expressions:
(i)
2
( 1) 7 x x + = +
(ii)
2 2
( 1) 2 1 x x x + = + +
(iii) ( 2) 1 x ÷ >
(iv)
2
( 1) x +
TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA 
7
It is obvious that there are dissimilarities among the four expressions. Let us
discuss each of them in greater detail:

(i)
2
( 1) 7 x x + = +

When we replace x with 1 on the left hand side (LHS) of the equation
and then on the right hand side (RHS) separately, we get

LHS = (1 + 1)
2
= 2
2
= 4
RHS = 1 + 7 = 8

Therefore, LHS = RHS.

Observe what happens if we replace x with 2:

LHS = (2 + 1)
2
= 3
2
= 9
RHS = 2 + 7 = 9

Therefore, LHS = RHS.

Notice that expression (i) can be re-arranged as follows:

x
2
+ 2x + 1 = x + 7
¬ x
2
+ x – 6 = 0

Therefore, (x + 3)(x – 2) = 0

It is obvious that LHS = RHS only when

x + 3 = 0 i.e. x = ÷3
or x – 2 = 0 i.e. x = 2

From this, (x + 1)
2
= x + 7 only when x = ÷3 or x = 2 and this equation
is not true for any other values for x.

Expression such as (i) is called an equation and an equation is true
only for several values of an unknown.

 TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA

8
The process of obtaining the values for the unknown is called solving
the equation.

(ii) (x + 1)
2
= x
2
+ 2x + 1

When we replace x with 4, we see that

LHS = (4 + 1)
2
= 5
2
= 25
RHS = 4
2
+ 2(4) + 1 = 25

Therefore, LHS = RHS when x = 4.

When we replace x with ÷2, we get

LHS = (÷2 + 1)
2
= (÷1)
2
= 1
RHS = (÷2)
2
+ (2)(÷2) + 1 = 1

Therefore, LHS = RHS when x = ÷2.

In fact, LHS = RHS for all values of x. This is clearly shown in Figure 1.1
which shows squares with sides equal to x + 1.


2
Figure 1.1

Both of the rectangles shown are identical and hence their areas are
also identical. Therefore
2 2
( 1) 2 1 x x x + = + + for all values of x and (x
+ 1)
2
is said to be identical with x
2
+ 2x + 1.

Such relation is called an identity when both sides of the equations
are the same for any values of the unknown.
TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA 
9
In such cases, the symbol ÷ is used to represent identities. For example,
identity (ii) can be written as:


2 2
( 1) 2 1 x x x + ÷ + +

Note that not all equations are identities.

(iii) (x – 2) > 1

Such an expression is to be read as “x minus two is greater than one”.
The symbol > means “is greater than”; and the symbol < means “is
less than”. It is clear that this expression is different from expressions
(i) and (ii) and it is called an inequality.

(x ÷ 2) will take values greater than 1 when x takes values greater than
3. In other words, if

(x – 2) > 1

then

x > 3

The solution is a half-open interval such that all points in the interval
satisfy the condition (x – 2) > 1; that is, there is an infinite set of values
of x that satisfies inequality (iii).

3 x


Solution to an inequality is an interval or several intervals of values of
the unknown (x in this case).

(iv) (x + 1)
2


This expression is not related to any other relation or expression and it
can assume various values. Its value depends on the values assigned to
x. For example, if x equals to 2, the values of (x + 1)
2
is (2 + 1)
2
= 9; for
x equals to ÷3, (x + 1)
2
is (÷3 + 1)
2
= 4.

 TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA

10
FACTORING POLYNOMIALS 1.3

In this section, we will learn how to factorise polynomials, in particular
polynomials of degree two, i.e., quadratic expression.

The factorisation of a quadratic expression is a process of finding two linear
expressions such that the product of these expressions produces the original
quadratic expression. We give several examples as follow.

Example 1.5

Factorise the following:
(a) x
2
+ 5x
(b) 3x
2
+ 9
(c) 4x
2
– 9

Solution


Factorise the common factor, i.e. x
(a) x
2
+ 5x = x(x + 5)

Factorise the common factor, i.e. 3
(b) 3x
2
+ 9 = 3(x
2
+ 3)

Change to square numbers.
(c) 4x
2
– 9 = (2x)
2
– (3)
2
= (2x – 3) (2x + 3)






TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA 
11
Example 1.6

(a) Factorise
2
4 5 x x + ÷

Solution

. ) ( ) )( ( 5 4
2 2 2
pq x q p x pq qx px x q x p x x x + + + = + + + = + + = ÷ +

Equate the coefficients of x and constant to obtain
p + q = 4 and pq = –5.

pq p q p + q Check:
x 5
–5 –5 × 1 –4 x –1
5 × –1 4
5 4
2
÷ + x x
There are two ways to obtain the
pq and we choose p + q = 4.

Then p = 5 and q = . So, . 1 ÷ ) 1 )( 5 ( ) )( ( 5 4
2
÷ + = + + = ÷ + x x q x p x x x

(b) Factorise 2 3
2
+ + x x

Solution

. ) ( ) )( ( 2 3
2 2
pq x q p x q x p x x x + + + = + + = + +

Equate the coefficients of x and constant to obtain
p + q = 2 and pq = 3.

pq p q p + q Check:
x 1
2 1 × 2 3 x 2
1 × 2 3
2 3
2
+ + x x

Then p = 1 and q = 2. So, ). 2 )( 1 ( ) )( ( 2 3
2
+ + = + + = + + x x q x p x x x

There are two ways to obtain pq.

 TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA

12
Example 1.7

(a) Factorise
2
3 4 x x 4 + ÷

Solution

. ) ( ) )( ( 4 4 3
2 2
pq x nq mp mnx q nx p mx x x + + + = + + = ÷ +

Equate the coefficients of x and constant to obtain
mn = 3, mp + nq = 4 and pq = –4.

m n p q mp + nq Check

3 1 –4 1 3 – 4 = –1 3x –2
4 –1 –3 + 4 =1
2 –2 –6 + 2 = –4 x 2
–2 2 6 – 2 = 4 3x
2
+4x – 4

There are four possibilities to obtain pq = –4. Choose mp + nq = 4.
Then m = 3, n =1, p = –2, q = 2. Then 3 ). 2 )( 2 3 ( 4 4
2
+ ÷ = ÷ + x x x x

(b) Factorise 3 7 2
2
+ + x x

Solution

. ) ( ) )( ( 3 7 2
2 2
pq x nq mp mnx q nx p mx x x + + + = + + = + +

Equate the coefficients of x and constant to obtain
mn = 2, mp + nq = 7 and pq = 3.


m n p q mp + nq Check

2 1 3 1 2 + 3 = 5 3x –2
1 3 6 + 1 = 7
x 2
3x
2
+4x – 4

TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA 
13
There are two possibilities to obtain pq = 3. Choose mp + nq = 7.

Then m = 2, n =1, p = 1, q = 3. Then ). 3 )( 1 2 ( 3 7 2
2
+ + = + + x x x x

Example 1.8

(a) Factorise
2
3 12 1 x x 2 + +

Solution



Step 1
Factorise 3 since 3 is the common factor.
)
)
4 4 ( 3 12 12 3
2 2
+ + = + + x x x x



Step 2
Factorise the RHS and Simplify.
2 )( 2 ( 3 + + = x x

(b) Factorise p
2
+ 2mp + 2p + 4m

Solution

p
2
+ 2mp + 2p + 4m



p
2
+ 2mp + 2p + 4m = p (p + 2m) + 2p + 4m



Step 2
Factorise the common factor for the last two terms.
Step 1
Factorise the common factor for the first two terms.
p
2
+ 2mp + 2p + 4m = p (p + 2m) + 2 (p + 2m)
 TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA

14


Step 3
Factorise the common factor (p + 2m).
p
2
+ 2mp + 2p + 4m = (p + 2) (p + 2m)
PARTIAL FRACTIONS 1.4
The ratio of two polynomials like
2
3
3
,
2 5
x
x
÷
+
where both the numerator and
denominator are polynomials is called a proper fraction when the degree of the
numerator polynomial is smaller than the degree of the denominator polynomial.
On the other hand, if the degree of the numerator polynomial is greater than or
equal to the denominator polynomial, the resulting ratio function is called an
improper fraction.
Try to remember that an improper fraction like
4
3
can be written as
3 1 1
1 .
3 3
+
= +
The same method can be used to change an improper fraction like
2
2
4
1
x
x
+
+
to the
form shown as follows:


2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2
4 1 3 1 3 3
1
1 1 1 1
x x x
x x x x x
+ + + +
÷ ÷ + ÷ +
+ + + + 1 +


Consider a function like
2
3
( ) .
2 1
x
f x
x x
= +
+ +


( ) f x can be written as a single fraction with a common denominator as follows:


2 2
2 2
3 3( 1) ( 2) 4 2
( )
2 1 ( 2)( 1) ( 2)( 1
x x x x x x
f x
x x x x x x
2
3
)
+ + + + +
÷ + ÷ ÷
+ + + + + +


TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA 
15
Sometimes we need to reverse this operation, that is we need to write the
polynomial ratio as a summation of two or more polynomial ratios. The reverse
process of "taking the fraction
2
2
4 2 3
( 2)( 1)
x x
x x
+ +
+ +
apart" into the sum of simpler
fractions,

2
2 2
4 2 3 3
,
( 2)( 1) 2 1
x x x
x x x x
+ +
= +
+ + + +


is called "decomposing the fraction into the partial fractions".
1.4.1 The Cover-up Rule
When the original fraction is a proper fraction, then the resulting partial fraction is
also a proper fraction.

In other words, a fraction such as
2
( 3)( 2
x
x x )
+
÷ ÷
can be written as

,
3 2
A B
x x
+
÷ ÷


and
2
2
( 3)( 4)
x
x x
+
÷ +
can be written as

2
,
3 ( 4)
A Bx C
x x
+
+
÷ +


where A, B and C are constants that need to be determined.

The method to find these constants depends on the factor of the denominator of
the polynomials involved.

Example 1.9
Express
2
( 3)( 2
x
x x )
+
÷ ÷
in partial fractions.

 TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA

16
Solution
In this example, we have proper fractions with linear factors (where the
polynomials are of the first order). Therefore, the partial fractions are also proper
fractions. Observe that the numerators of the partial fractions are made up of
constants only because the denominators are just linear polynomials.


2
( 3)( 2) 3 2
x A B
x x x x
+
÷ +
÷ ÷ ÷ ÷


or


2 ( 2) (
( 3)( 2) ( 3)( 2)
x A x B x
x x x x
+ ÷ +
÷
÷ ÷ ÷ ÷
3) ÷


It is obvious that the denominators of both sides of this identity are identical.
Hence, the numerator of this identity must also be identical,

i.e. x + 2 ÷ A(x ÷ 2) + B(x ÷ 3)

This identity is true for any value of x.

If we choose x = 2 (to eliminate A), we have

2 + 2 = A(0) + B(2 ÷ 3)

or B = ÷4

Now, let us choose x = 3 (to eliminate B this time), we have

3 + 2 = A(3 ÷ 2) + B(0)

or A = 5.

Now replace the values into the constants A and B. The result is the original proper
fraction which can be written as the following partial fractions:


2 5
( 3)( 2) 3 2
x
x x x x
+
÷ ÷
÷ ÷ ÷ ÷
4



TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA 
17
Example 1.10
Express
2
2
( 1)( 1 x x ÷ + )
as partial fractions.

Solution
Observe that the denominator in this example has a quadratic factor or a
polynomial of the second degree. When such a factor exists, the resulting partial
fractions can be a first degree polynomial (i.e. one degree lesser than the degree of
the denominator polynomial). Hence we need to find the constants A, B, and C
such that


2 2
2
( 1)( 1) ( 1) ( 1)
A Bx
x x x x
C +
÷ +
÷ + ÷ +


or


2
2 2
2 ( 1) ( )(
( 1)( 1) ( 1)( 1)
A x Bx C x
x x x x
+ + + ÷
÷
÷ + ÷ +
1)


In other words,


2
2 ( 1) ( )( 1) ............(*) A x Bx C x ÷ + + + ÷

Setting x = 1 (to eliminate B and C) gives us

2 = A(1
2
+ 1)

or

A = 1.

We will not have any value of x that will eliminate A (because no real value of x
that satisfies x
2
+ 1 = 0).

A simple choice that will eliminate B is x = 0. Substituting this value, we get

2 = A(1) + C(–1)

 TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA

18
Substituting A with 1 (the value obtained earlier) we have

2 = 1(1) ÷ C

or
C = ÷1.

To find the value of the constant B, we can substitute any other value for x (best to
choose a small value for x in order to simplify the calculation). Let say we choose
x = ÷1, we have

2 = A((–1)
2
+ 1) + (B(–1) + C)(–1 – 1)

or

2 = 2A + 2B ÷ 2C.

But we have already gotten A = 1 and C = ÷1. Hence, B = ÷1.

Therefore


2 2
2 1
( 1)( 1) ( 1) ( 1)
x
x x x x
1 +
÷ ÷
÷ + ÷ +

1.4.2 The Combining Method
The method that we have used so far for determining the constants in a partial
fraction is called the “cover-up” rule.

Another method is by expanding the right-hand side of equation (*) which
produces


2 2
2 Ax A Bx Bx Cx C ÷ + + ÷ + ÷

or


2
2 ( ) ( ) ( ) A B x B C x A C ÷ + + ÷ + + ÷

TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA 
19
This is an identity and hence the coefficients of x
2
, x and the constants in both
sides of the identity must be identical. Now, comparing the coefficients for each of
them, we have

x
2
: 0 = A + B
x : 0 = ÷B + C
x
0
(or 1) : 2 = A ÷ C

The values for A, B and C can be found by solving those three equations.

Example 1.11
Express
2
( 1)( 2)
x
x x ÷ ÷
as partial fractions.

Solution
Observe that in this case the second factor of the denominator is a repeated factor
as
2
( 2) ( 2)( 2) x x x ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ .

Generally, any repeated factor of the form (ax + b)
2
in the denominator will give
rise to two partial fractions of the form
( )
A
ax b +
and
2
.
( )
B
ax b +


Hence,


2 2
( 1)( 2) ( 1) ( 2) ( 2)
x A B C
x x x x x
÷ + +
÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷
.

In other words,


2
( 2) ( 1)( 2) ( 1 x A x B x x C x ÷ ÷ + ÷ ÷ + ÷ )

And this is valid for all values of x.

Let us choose x = 2 (to eliminate A and B). We get

2 = A(0)
2
+ B(1)(0) + C(2 ÷ 1)

or

C = 2
 TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA

20
Now let x = 1 (to eliminate B and C), we have

1 = A(1 – 2)
2
+ B(0)(1 – 2) + C(0)

or

A = 1.

Finally, let us say we choose x = 3. We get

3 = A(3 – 2)
2
+ B(3 – 1)(3 – 2) + C(3 – 1)

or

3 = A + 2B + 2C.

Substituting A = 1 and C = 2 obtained earlier gives

3 = 1 + 2B + 4

or
B = ÷1.

Therefore,


2 2
1 1 2
( 1)( 2) ( 1) ( 2) ( 2)
x
x x x x x
÷ ÷ +
÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷


Note:
Using similar technique, a repeated factor (ax + b)
3
in the denominator will give
three partial fractions of the form ,
( )
A
ax b +

2
( )
B
ax b +
and
3
.
( )
C
ax b +

1.4.3 Improper Fractions
Example 1.12
Express
3
3
( 1)( 1
x
x x
+
+ ÷ )
as partial fractions.

TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA 
21
Solution
Observe that in this case, we have an improper fraction since the degree of the
numerator’s polynomial is greater than the degree of the denominator’s
polynomial. For such cases we need to divide the numerator by the denominator to
get a polynomial plus a proper fraction.


2 3
3
1 3

3 Remainder
x
x x
x x
x
÷ +
÷
+ ÷


The division stops at that level as the remainder is a first degree polynomial (and
is less than the degree of the divisor). Hence the original expression can be written
as


3
3 3
( 1)( 1) ( 1)( 1)
( 1) ( 1)
( 1)( 1) ( 1) ( 1)
( 1)( 1)
x x
x
x x x x
A B
x
x x
x x x A x B x
x x
+ +
÷ +
+ ÷ + ÷
÷ + +
+ ÷
+ ÷ + ÷ + +
÷
+ ÷


Therefore,


3
3 ( 1)( 1) ( 1) ( 1 x x x x A x B x + ÷ + ÷ + ÷ + + )

Substituting x = 1 gives 4 = 2B or B = 2.

Substituting x = ÷1 gives 2 = ÷2A or A = ÷1.

Thus,


3
3 1
.
( 1)( 1) ( 1) ( 1)
x
x
x x x x
+
÷ ÷ +
+ ÷ + ÷
2


 TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA

22

1. Write the following expressions as partial fractions.
(a)
1
( 2)( 2
x
x x
÷
) + ÷

(b)
3
( 1) x x
+
+
x

(c)
2
( 1)( 1
x
x x ) ÷ +


2. Determine the values of the constants A, B and C in the following
identity:
3
.
( 1)( 2)( 3) ( 1) ( 2) ( 3)
x A B
x x x x x x
÷ + +
C
÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷



(a) Polynomials
(i) Monomial is an algebraic expression of the form

ax
k

where a is a constant and x an unknown (or a variable), and k > 0 is an
integer.
(ii) Polynomial in an algebraic expression of the form


1
1 1
n n
n n
a x a x a x a
÷
÷
+ + + + 
0
0

where are constants, n > 0 and x is a variable.
1 1
, , , ,
n n
a a a a
÷



3. Assume that
2
3
( ) .
( 4)( 2)
x ÷
f x
x x
=
+ ÷
Express ( ) f x as partial
fractions.
EXERCISE 1.1
TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA 
23
The constants are known as the coefficients of the
polynomial and when a
n
= 0, the polynomial
1 1
, , , ,
n n
a a a a
÷

0
+
0
1
1
n n
n n
a x a x
÷
÷
+ +
1
a x a + is called a polynomial of degree n.

(b) Factorisation
The process of writing an expression as a product of two or more factors is
called a factorisation.

Important Formula:
- a
2
+ 2ab + b
2
= (a + b)(a + b) = (a + b)
2

- a
2
÷ 2ab + b
2
= (a ÷ b)(a ÷ b) = (a ÷ b)
2

- a
2
÷ b
2
= (a + b)(a ÷ b)


Denominator
Equation
Factorisation
Functions
Identity
Inequalities
Monomial
Numerator
Partial fractions
Polynomial
Real numbers


 TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA

24


1. Write the quadratic equation with the following roots:
(a) 3 (repeating)
(b) j and k.

2. State expression
( )
1
5
x
x x
+
+
as partial fraction.

3. Obtain the partial fractions of
( )
3
.
2
x
x x
+
÷

4. Solve
2
2 6 x x 0 + ÷ = without using the quadratic formula.

2

 TOPIC 1

CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA

Next, we will introduce you to a set of integers as follows:

Z  {0,1,2,3,...}  { ..., –3, –2, –1, 0, 1, 2, 3, ... } Note that integers are zero, positive and negative natural numbers, that is: Z  N  {0}  N where – N is a set of negative natural number. For convenience, we write Z  to denote a set of positive integer and Z  to denote a set of negative integer. The set of real numbers, denoted as R , is a set which includes integers and all values in between, for example,1.22, etc. Rational numbers are numbers that can be written as the ratio of two integers . This important set of numbers is defined as follows:
p  Q   : p , q  Z, q  0  q 

This set is made up of numbers that can be written as the ratio of two integers, where q is nonzero. For example,

p , q

1 1 ,  , 0, 1 are rational numbers. Any integer 3 3 a is rational, that is, Z  Q since a  for all integer a. 1

Real numbers that are not rational are called irrational. 2 ,  , sin 27o are examples of irrational numbers. Irrational numbers are those that cannot be written as a ratio of two integers and we denote the set of irrational numbers as Q' .
Thus, we conclude that a set of real numbers, is a set made up of all rational and irrational numbers, i.e., R  Q  Q' . It is easy to see that N  Z  Q  R .

a polynomial is an algebraic sum of monomials in which no variables appear in denominators and all variables that do appear are raised only to positiveinteger powers. .. and x is a variable.TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA  3 SELF-CHECK 1. a0 are constants. These operations are performed by using a distributive property as shown in Example 1. Hence..  a1 x  a0 where an . .2 POLYNOMIALS An expression of the form: axk where a is a constant and x an unknown (or a variable) and k  0 is an integer is called a monomial.. The constants an . a1 . an 1 . We can compute the sum or difference of any two monomials like axk and bxk and the results of these operations are also monomials.1 As a simple exercise. can you give: (a) (b) (c) an integer which is not natural? a rational number which is not integer? a real number which is not rational? 1.... . a1 .  a1 x  a0 is called a polynomial of degree n.1: Example 1... an 1 ..1 4 x 2  2 x 2  (4  2) x 2  6 x 2 and 3x 2  5 x 2  (3  5) x 2  2 x 2 Polynomial in a single variable is an algebraic expression of the following form: an x n  an 1 x n 1  .. a0 are coefficients of the polynomial and when an  0. Each of the monomials in a polynomial is called a term of the polynomial. the polynomial an x n  an 1 x n 1  . n  0. a is referred to as the coefficient of the monomial.

1 are in terms of x. Remark: Polynomial of degree zero is called constant. Table 1. we can use any other letter of an alphabet. 9z4  2z3 – 10. Polynomial of degree 1 is called linear. And. All the polynomials in Table 1.1: Properties of Some Polynomials Coefficient of Each of the Monomials Polynomial Degree 3 2 1 0 x3 2 0 0 0 x2 0 –2 0 0 x1 3 0 x0 8 11 –6 4 2 x3  3x  8  2 x3  0 x 2  3x  8 2 x 2  11  0 x 3  (2) x 3  0 x  11  x  6  0 x3  0 x 2   x  (6) 4  4. with the highest degree nonzero term listed as the first.4  TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA Often a polynomial is written in its standard form. A complete list of degree 2 to 100 is shown in Table 1. The highest power in the polynomial is known as the degree of the polynomial.2. 7y3 – 3y  4. For example. we have only used x to represent variables in equations and polynomials. then followed by the rest of the terms in a descending order of their degrees. . In reality. The following is a number of polynomials and some of the important properties of each of the polynomials. is a polynomial of the 3rd-degree with y as the variable. is a polynomial of the 4th-degree with the variable z.1  4x 0 π 0 Note: Until now. Other letters that are often used are y and z.

2 (4 x 2  7 x  3)  ( x 3  6 x 2  x  5)  x 3  (4 x 2  6 x 2 )  (7 x  x)  (3  5)  x 3  (4  6) x 2  (7  1) x  (3  5)  x3  2 x 2  8 x  2 Example 1.TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA  5 Table 1. Example 1. That is.3 In this example. The first step is to open up the brackets. When opening up the brackets. we find the difference of two polynomials. make sure the sign of each of terms of the polynomial inside is changed accordingly due to the negative sign before the bracket: .2: Polynomials Classified by Degree Degree Name Example 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 100 (non-zero) constant linear quadratic cubic quartic (or biquadratic) quintic sextic (or hexic) septic (or heptic) octic nonic decic hectic 1 x+1 x2 + 1 x3 + 1 x4 + 1 x5 + 1 x6 + 1 x7 + 1 x8 + 1 x9 + 1 x10 + 1 x100 + 1 (a) Addition and Subtraction of Polynomials The addition and subtraction of polynomials are performed by combining monomials of the same degree. grouping monomials of the same degree and combining them.

6  TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA (3x 4  4 x 3  3 x 2  x  1)  ( x 4  3 x 3  x 2  5 x  9)  3x 4  4 x3  3x 2  x  1  x 4  3x3  x 2  5 x  9  (3  1) x 4  (4  3) x 3  ( 3  1) x 2  (1  5) x  1  9  2 x 4  x 3  2 x 2  4 x  10 Signs changed Grouping like terms (b) Multiplication of Polynomials Multiplication of polynomials is handled using the distributive properties and the rules of exponent repeatedly. let us consider the following algebraic expressions: (i) (ii) ( x  1) 2  x  7 ( x  1) 2  x 2  2 x  1 (iii) ( x  2)  1 (iv) ( x  1) 2 . Identities. b. (d) Equations. c and d.4 (3 x  2)(4 x 2 7 x  3)  3x(4 x 2  7 x  3)  2(4 x 2  7 x  3) 2 2  distributive properties  rules of exponent  combine like terms  3x  4 x  3x  7 x  3x  3  2  4 x  2  7 x  2  3  distributive properties  12 x 3  21x 2  9 x  8 x 2  14 x  6  12 x  29 x  5 x  6 3 2 (c) A Few Common Products There are several products of polynomials that are often used in algebra. Example 1. Among them are: ( x  a)( x  a)  x 2  a 2 ( x  a) 2  x 2  2ax  a 2 ( x  a) 2  x 2  2ax  a 2 ( x  a)( x  b)  x 2  (a  b) x  ab for any real number x. Inequalities and Functions Now. a.

x  2 From this. Expression such as (i) is called an equation and an equation is true only for several values of an unknown. (x  1)2  x  7 only when x  3 or x  2 and this equation is not true for any other values for x. (x  3)(x – 2) It is obvious that LHS  RHS only when x  3  0 i. Let us discuss each of them in greater detail: (i) ( x  1) 2  x  7 When we replace x with 1 on the left hand side (LHS) of the equation and then on the right hand side (RHS) separately. . LHS  RHS.TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA  7 It is obvious that there are dissimilarities among the four expressions. Notice that expression (i) can be re-arranged as follows: x2  2x  1  x  7  x2  x – 6  0 0 Therefore. LHS  RHS.e. x  3 or x – 2  0 i. we get LHS RHS  (1  1)2  22  4  178 Therefore. Observe what happens if we replace x with 2: LHS RHS  (2  1)2  32  9  279 Therefore.e.

2 Figure 1. LHS  RHS when x  2. LHS  RHS when x  4. (ii) (x  1)2  x2  2x  1 When we replace x with 4. Such relation is called an identity when both sides of the equations are the same for any values of the unknown. This is clearly shown in Figure 1.1 Both of the rectangles shown are identical and hence their areas are also identical.1 which shows squares with sides equal to x  1. we get LHS  RHS  (2  1)2  (1)2  1 (2)2  (2)(2)  1  1 Therefore. In fact. LHS  RHS for all values of x.8  TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA The process of obtaining the values for the unknown is called solving the equation. Therefore ( x  1) 2  x 2  2 x  1 for all values of x and (x  1)2 is said to be identical with x2  2x  1. we see that LHS RHS  (4  1)2  52  25  42  2(4)  1  25 Therefore. When we replace x with 2. .

(x  2) will take values greater than 1 when x takes values greater than 3. (x  1)2 is (3  1)2  4. In other words. the symbol  is used to represent identities. Its value depends on the values assigned to x. if (x – 2) > 1 then x>3 The solution is a half-open interval such that all points in the interval satisfy the condition (x – 2) > 1. and the symbol < means “is less than”. For example. 3 x Solution to an inequality is an interval or several intervals of values of the unknown (x in this case). that is. It is clear that this expression is different from expressions (i) and (ii) and it is called an inequality. for x equals to 3. (iii) (x – 2) > 1 Such an expression is to be read as “x minus two is greater than one”. For example. .TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA  9 In such cases. The symbol > means “is greater than”. the values of (x  1)2 is (2  1)2  9. (iv) (x  1)2 This expression is not related to any other relation or expression and it can assume various values. identity (ii) can be written as: ( x  1) 2  x 2  2 x  1 Note that not all equations are identities. there is an infinite set of values of x that satisfies inequality (iii). if x equals to 2.

5 Factorise the following: (a) (b) (c) x 2 + 5x 3 x2 + 9 4x2 – 9 Solution Factorise the common factor.. (c) 4x2 – 9 = (2x)2 – (3) 2 = (2x – 3) (2x + 3) . The factorisation of a quadratic expression is a process of finding two linear expressions such that the product of these expressions produces the original quadratic expression. we will learn how to factorise polynomials.3 FACTORING POLYNOMIALS In this section. i.e.10  TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA 1.e. in particular polynomials of degree two. x (a) x2 + 5x = x(x + 5) Factorise the common factor. Example 1. We give several examples as follow.e. i. 3 (b) 3x2 + 9 = 3(x2 + 3) Change to square numbers. i. quadratic expression.

x 2  3 x  2  ( x  p )( x  q)  ( x  1)( x  2). pq 2 p 1×2 1×2 q p+q 3 3 Check: x x x 2  3x  2 1 2 Then p = 1 and q = 2. pq –5 p –5 × 1 5 × –1 q p+q –4 4 Check: x x 5 –1 x2  4x  5 There are two ways to obtain the pq and we choose p + q = 4.TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA  11 Example 1. x 2  4 x  5  ( x  p)( x  q)  ( x  5)( x  1) . There are two ways to obtain pq. . (b) Factorise x 2  3 x  2 Solution x 2  3x  2  ( x  p)( x  q )  x 2  ( p  q) x  pq. Then p = 5 and q =  1 .6 (a) Factorise x 2  4 x  5 Solution x 2  4 x  5  ( x  p)( x  q )  x 2  px  qx  pq  x 2  ( p  q) x  pq. Equate the coefficients of x and constant to obtain p + q = 2 and pq = 3. So. So. Equate the coefficients of x and constant to obtain p + q = 4 and pq = –5.

q = 2. m 3 n 1 p –4 4 2 –2 q 1 –1 –2 2 mp + nq 3 – 4 = –1 –3 + 4 =1 –6 + 2 = –4 6–2=4 Check 3x –2 2 2 x 3x +4x – 4 There are four possibilities to obtain pq = –4. Then 3x 2  4 x  4  (3 x  2)( x  2). Equate the coefficients of x and constant to obtain mn = 3. Choose mp + nq = 4. (b) Factorise 2 x 2  7 x  3 Solution 2 x 2  7 x  3  (mx  p )(nx  q)  mnx 2  (mp  nq) x  pq. mp + nq = 4 and pq = –4. m 2 n 1 p 3 1 q 1 3 mp + nq 2+3=5 6+1=7 Check 3x –2 x 2 3x2+4x – 4 . n =1. p = –2.12  TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA Example 1. Equate the coefficients of x and constant to obtain mn = 2.7 (a) Factorise 3x 2  4 x  4 Solution 3x 2  4 x  4  (mx  p )(nx  q)  mnx 2  (mp  nq) x  pq. Then m = 3. mp + nq = 7 and pq = 3.

p2 + 2mp + 2p + 4m = p (p + 2m) + 2p + 4m Step 2 Factorise the common factor for the last two terms.TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA  13 There are two possibilities to obtain pq = 3. Then 2 x 2  7 x  3  (2 x  1)( x  3). Example 1. Choose mp + nq = 7. n =1.  3( x  2)( x  2) (b) Factorise p2 + 2mp + 2p + 4m Solution p2 + 2mp + 2p + 4m Step 1 Factorise the common factor for the first two terms. q = 3. p = 1. Then m = 2. p2 + 2mp + 2p + 4m = p (p + 2m) + 2 (p + 2m) . 3x 2  12 x  12  3( x 2  4 x  4) Step 2 Factorise the RHS and Simplify.8 (a) Factorise 3x 2  12 x  12 Solution Step 1 Factorise 3 since 3 is the common factor.

the resulting ratio function is called an improper fraction.4 PARTIAL FRACTIONS x2  3 . p2 + 2mp + 2p + 4m = (p + 2) (p + 2m) 1. x  2 x 1 f ( x) can be written as a single fraction with a common denominator as follows: f ( x)  x 3 3( x 2  1)  x( x  2) 4x2  2 x  3  2   x  2 x 1 ( x  2)( x 2  1) ( x  2)( x 2  1) .14  TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA Step 3 Factorise the common factor (p + 2m). The ratio of two polynomials like 4 3 1 1 can be written as  1 . On the other hand. where both the numerator and 2 x3  5 denominator are polynomials is called a proper fraction when the degree of the numerator polynomial is smaller than the degree of the denominator polynomial. if the degree of the numerator polynomial is greater than or equal to the denominator polynomial. 3 3 3 2 x 4 The same method can be used to change an improper fraction like 2 to the x 1 form shown as follows: Try to remember that an improper fraction like x2  4 x2  1  3 x2  1 3 3   2  2  1 2 2 2 x 1 x 1 x 1 x 1 x 1 Consider a function like f ( x)  3 x  2 .

that is we need to write the polynomial ratio as a summation of two or more polynomial ratios. x  3 ( x  4) where A. In other words.4. ( x  3)( x  2) . Example 1.9 Express x2 in partial fractions.TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA  15 Sometimes we need to reverse this operation. 4x2  2x  3 3 x   2 . B and C are constants that need to be determined. 1. 2 ( x  2)( x  1) x  2 x  1 is called "decomposing the fraction into the partial fractions". then the resulting partial fraction is also a proper fraction. x3 x2 and x2 can be written as ( x  3)( x 2  4) A Bx  C  2 . The reverse 4x2  2 x  3 apart" into the sum of simpler process of "taking the fraction ( x  2)( x 2  1) fractions.1 The Cover-up Rule When the original fraction is a proper fraction. The method to find these constants depends on the factor of the denominator of the polynomials involved. a fraction such as x2 can be written as ( x  3)( x  2) A B  .

Observe that the numerators of the partial fractions are made up of constants only because the denominators are just linear polynomials. we have proper fractions with linear factors (where the polynomials are of the first order). Now replace the values into the constants A and B. The result is the original proper fraction which can be written as the following partial fractions: x2 5 4   ( x  3)( x  2) x  3 x  2 . let us choose x  3 (to eliminate B this time). the partial fractions are also proper fractions. If we choose x  2 (to eliminate A). x  2  A(x  2)  B(x  3) This identity is true for any value of x. the numerator of this identity must also be identical. x2 A B   ( x  3)( x  2) x  3 x  2 or x2 A( x  2)  B( x  3)  ( x  3)( x  2) ( x  3)( x  2) It is obvious that the denominators of both sides of this identity are identical. Therefore.e.16  TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA Solution In this example. we have 3  2  A(3  2)  B(0) or A  5. Hence. i. we have 2  2  A(0)  B(2  3) or B  4 Now.

. 2  A( x 2  1)  ( Bx  C )( x  1) . Hence we need to find the constants A. A simple choice that will eliminate B is x  0. B.... we get 2  A(1)  C(–1) . the resulting partial fractions can be a first degree polynomial (i..10 Express 2 as partial fractions.. one degree lesser than the degree of the denominator polynomial)... We will not have any value of x that will eliminate A (because no real value of x that satisfies x2  1  0). and C such that 2 A Bx  C   2 2 ( x  1)( x  1) ( x  1) ( x  1) or 2 A( x 2  1)  ( Bx  C )( x  1)  ( x  1)( x 2  1) ( x  1)( x 2  1) In other words. ( x  1)( x 2  1) Solution Observe that the denominator in this example has a quadratic factor or a polynomial of the second degree.TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA  17 Example 1. Substituting this value.(*) Setting x  1 (to eliminate B and C) gives us 2  A(12  1) or A  1.... When such a factor exists.e.

Hence. B  1. To find the value of the constant B.4.2 The Combining Method The method that we have used so far for determining the constants in a partial fraction is called the “cover-up” rule. we have 2  A((–1)2  1)  (B(–1)  C)(–1 – 1) or 2  2A  2B  2C.18  TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA Substituting A with 1 (the value obtained earlier) we have 2  1(1)  C or C  1. Therefore 2 1 x 1   2 2 ( x  1)( x  1) ( x  1) ( x  1) 1. we can substitute any other value for x (best to choose a small value for x in order to simplify the calculation). Let say we choose x  1. But we have already gotten A  1 and C  1. Another method is by expanding the right-hand side of equation (*) which produces 2  Ax 2  A  Bx 2  Bx  Cx  C or 2  ( A  B) x 2  ( B  C ) x  ( A  C ) .

11 Express x as partial fractions. any repeated factor of the form (ax  b)2 in the denominator will give A B and .TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA  19 This is an identity and hence the coefficients of x2. x  A( x  2) 2  B( x  1)( x  2)  C ( x  1) And this is valid for all values of x. ( x  1)( x  2) 2 Solution Observe that in this case the second factor of the denominator is a repeated factor as ( x  2) 2  ( x  2)( x  2). 2 ( x  1)( x  2) ( x  1) ( x  2) ( x  2) 2 In other words. Let us choose x  2 (to eliminate A and B). rise to two partial fractions of the form (ax  b) (ax  b) 2 Hence. we have x2 x x0 (or 1) : 0AB : 0  B  C : 2AC The values for A. We get 2  A(0)2  B(1)(0)  C(2  1) or C2 . comparing the coefficients for each of them. Generally. Example 1. x A B C    . x and the constants in both sides of the identity must be identical. B and C can be found by solving those three equations. Now.

.20  TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA Now let x  1 (to eliminate B and C). x 1 1 2    2 ( x  1)( x  2) ( x  1) ( x  2) ( x  2) 2 Note: Using similar technique. ( x  1)( x  1) . We get 3  A(3 – 2)2  B(3 – 1)(3 – 2)  C(3 – 1) or 3  A  2B  2C.12 Express x3  3 as partial fractions.4. Finally. Substituting A  1 and C  2 obtained earlier gives 3  1  2B  4 or B  1. three partial fractions of the form 2 (ax  b) (ax  b) (ax  b)3 1. Therefore. let us say we choose x  3. we have 1  A(1 – 2)2  B(0)(1 – 2)  C(0) or A  1. a repeated factor (ax  b)3 in the denominator will give A B C and .3 Improper Fractions Example 1.

Substituting x  1 gives 2  2A or A  1. For such cases we need to divide the numerator by the denominator to get a polynomial plus a proper fraction. Hence the original expression can be written as x3  3 x3  x ( x  1)( x  1) ( x  1)( x  1) A B  x  ( x  1) ( x  1) x( x  1)( x  1)  A( x  1)  B( x  1)  ( x  1)( x  1) Therefore. x x 1 x  3 2 3 x3  x x3  Remainder The division stops at that level as the remainder is a first degree polynomial (and is less than the degree of the divisor).TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA  21 Solution Observe that in this case. we have an improper fraction since the degree of the numerator’s polynomial is greater than the degree of the denominator’s polynomial. x3  3 1 2  x  . Thus. x3  3  x( x  1)( x  1)  A( x  1)  B ( x  1) Substituting x  1 gives 4  2B or B  2. ( x  1)( x  1) ( x  1) ( x  1) .

22  TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA EXERCISE 1. B and C in the following identity: 3x A B C    . a0 are constants. (ii) Polynomial in an algebraic expression of the form an x n  an 1 x n 1    a1 x  a0 where an . Write the following expressions as partial fractions. an 1 .1 1. and k  0 is an integer. Express f ( x) as partial ( x  4)( x 2  2) (a) Polynomials (i) Monomial is an algebraic expression of the form axk where a is a constant and x an unknown (or a variable). x3 . (a) (b) x 1 ( x  2)( x  2) x3 x( x  1) x2 ( x  1)( x  1) (c) 2. ( x  1)( x  2)( x  3) ( x  1) ( x  2) ( x  3) 3. a1 . n  0 and x is a variable. . Determine the values of the constants A. . Assume that f ( x)  fractions.

Important Formula:    a2 + 2ab + b2 = (a + b)(a + b) = (a + b)2 a2  2ab + b2 = (a  b)(a  b) = (a  b)2 a2  b2 = (a + b)(a  b) Denominator Equation Factorisation Functions Identity Inequalities Monomial Numerator Partial fractions Polynomial Real numbers . an 1 . the polynomial an x n  an 1 x n 1    a1 x  a0 is called a polynomial of degree n. a1 . (b) Factorisation The process of writing an expression as a product of two or more factors is called a factorisation. .TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA  23 The constants an . a0 are known as the coefficients of the polynomial and when an  0.

 x  2 x 2. . Write the quadratic equation with the following roots: (a) (b) 3 (repeating) j and k.24  TOPIC 1 CONCEPTS OF ALGEBRA 1. Solve 2 x 2  x  6  0 without using the quadratic formula. State expression 3. Obtain the partial fractions of 4. x 1 as partial fraction. x  x  5 x3 .