Solve quadratic equations by graphing, using square roots, factoring, completing the square or using the quadratic formula. Determine the most appropriate method by considering the particular situation.
To solve a quadratic equation using graphing, check the information found within the equation to identify the vertex and determine the direction of the corresponding parabola. Then use a graphing calculator to draw the parabola and locate the x-intercepts. This will reveal the solution to the equation.
Use the square roots method when the equation has no term consisting of a coefficient and the variable x. If the polynomial that forms the equation can be factored, its solution is found by setting the equation equal to zero and using the zero product property to solve for x.
Complete the square when the equation cannot be factored, the coefficient of x-squared equals one and the numbers are relatively small. The goal is to make a perfect square and then take the square root of each side to solve for x.
The quadratic formula can be used to solve any quadratic equation. Start by writing the equation in standard form, then substitute the values for a, b and c into the formula to solve for x.