What is Completing the Square?

1 Answer
Apr 5, 2018

Answer:

See explanation below

Explanation:

When you have a polynomial such as

#x^2+4x+20#

it is sometimes desirable to express it in the form of

#a^2 + b^2#

To do this, we can artificially introduce a constant which allows us to factor a perfect square out of the expression like so:

#x^2+4x+20#

#=x^2+4x+color(red)4-color(green)4+20#

Notice that by simultaneously adding and subtracting #4#, we have not changed the value of the expression.

Now we can do this:

#=(x^2+4x+color(red)4)+(20-color(green)4)#

#=(x+2)^2+16#

#=(x+2)^2+4^2#

We have "completed the square"!