Rational Expressions - Basic Introduction | Summary and Q&A

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July 21, 2020
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The Organic Chemistry Tutor
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Rational Expressions - Basic Introduction

TL;DR

Learn how to simplify, multiply, divide, and add rational expressions by factoring and canceling common terms.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How do you simplify a rational expression?

To simplify a rational expression, factor the expression completely, cancel any common terms in the numerator and denominator, and simplify the resulting expression.

Q: What is the "keep change flip" method for dividing rational expressions?

The "keep change flip" method involves keeping the first fraction the same, changing the division sign to multiplication, and flipping the second fraction. Then, factor and cancel common terms, and simplify the resulting expression.

Q: Can you simplify rational expressions by multiplying them?

Yes, to simplify rational expressions by multiplication, factor each expression completely, cancel any common terms, and simplify the resulting expression.

Q: How do you determine the common factors in rational expressions?

To determine the common factors in rational expressions, factor each expression completely and identify any identical terms in the numerator and denominator that can be canceled.

Q: Is it possible to factor all trinomials in rational expressions?

Not all trinomials can be factored. Some trinomials may be prime and not have any factors besides 1 and itself. In such cases, the rational expression cannot be further simplified.

Q: Are there different methods for simplifying rational expressions?

The main method for simplifying rational expressions is by factoring and canceling common terms. However, there may be variations in the specific steps depending on the complexity of the expressions.

Q: Can you simplify a rational expression to the point where it cannot be further reduced?

Yes, in some cases, the rational expression may already be at its simplest form, and no further reduction is possible. This typically occurs when there are no common factors left to cancel.

Q: Do all rational expressions have a common denominator?

Not all rational expressions have a common denominator. Common denominators are required when adding or subtracting rational expressions, but for other operations like simplification and multiplication, a common denominator is not always necessary.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • To simplify a rational expression, factor the expression completely and cancel any common terms in the numerator and denominator.

  • When multiplying rational expressions, factor each expression, cancel common terms, and simplify the resulting expression.

  • When dividing rational expressions, use the "keep change flip" method to change the division problem to a multiplication problem, factor and cancel common terms, and simplify the expression.

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