- To Factor a Polynomial:
- Factor out the greatest common factor (GCF), if there is one.
- If the polynomial has 2 terms....
- Determine if it is a
- difference of 2 squares, or
- sum or difference of 2 cubes.
- If it is, factor with the appropriate formula from section 6.3.
- If the polynomial has 3 terms....
- If it is a perfect square trinomial, then factor with the appropriate formula from section 6.3.
- Otherwise, factor using the methods of section 6.2.
- If the polynomial has more than 3 terms....
- Try factoring by grouping.
- If factoring by grouping doesn't work, see if 3 of the terms form a perfect square. If so, factor those 3 terms.
- Finally, if any of factors can be factored further, then factor them.