# How Do You Factor Polynomials?

Factoring a four-term polynomial can be complicated. It uses the same procedure for factoring a three-term polynomial but requires a few more steps.

1. Factor by grouping

Grouping is the easiest way to factor a four-term polynomial. Use the polynomial 2x³ - 8x² - 3x + 12 as the example. First, group 2x³ - 8x² and -3x + 12 as two separate equations. Factor 2x³ - 8x² by finding the greatest common factor, which is 2x². Using the greatest common factor, 2x³ - 8x² becomes 2x²(x - 4). Now do the other group, -3x + 12. The greatest common factor for that equation is -3. Using the greatest common factor, -3x + 12 becomes -3(x - 4). Put it back together, and you get: 2x²(x - 4) - 3(x - 4). Find the greatest common factor for this equation as well, which is (x - 4). Using the greatest common factor, you get (x - 4)(2x² - 3).

2. Factor by grouping

After the grouping, there should always be two terms that are the same. If this isn't the case, then either the grouping was done incorrectly, the polynomial cannot be factored, or it has decimals.