In this unit’s final lesson, we’ll learn how to quickly factor general form quadratics that are considered “perfect square trinomials” (PST). In a PST, the first and last term of these trinomials are always perfect squares. If you don’t recognize the pattern of a PST, you could still factor the quadratic normally by trial-and-error or by decomposition. Therefore, remembering this technique isn’t technically required but if you do recognize the pattern, consider it a shortcut.
Examples of a perfect square trinomials are:
- y = x² + 6x + 9
- Here, √x² = x and √9 = 3
- This factors into (x + 3)²
- y = 4x² +28x + 49
- Here, √4x² = 2x and √49 = 7
- This factors into (2x + 7)²
Two more examples of factoring perfect square trinomials are shown in the video below.
You can factor a perfect square trinomial as:
- a² + 2ab + b² = (a + b)²
- a² – 2ab + b² = (a – b)²