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In order to access this I need to be confident with:

Expanding Brackets

Factors and Multiples

Terms, Expressions, Equations, Formulas

Adding and Subtracting Negative numbers

Multiplying Negative Numbers

Highest Common Factor (HCF)

Multiplying Algebraic Terms

Laws of Indices

Square Numbers

This topic is relevant for:

Here is everything you need to know about factorising for GCSE maths (Edexcel, AQA and OCR). You’ll learn the essentials of factorising expressions and factorising quadratics including factorising into single brackets and double brackets.

Look out for the factorising worksheets and exam questions at the end

Factorising is the reverse process of expanding brackets. To factorise an algebraic expression means to put it in brackets by taking out the common factors.

The simplest form of factorising is

- Find the highest common factor of each of the terms in the expression.
- Write the highest common factor (HCF) in front of any brackets
- Fill in each term in the brackets by multiplying out.

However you will need to learn various ways of factorising expressions depending on the examples you’re presented with.

To factorise algebraic expressions there are three basic methods. When you are factorising quadratics you will usually use the double brackets or difference of two squares method.

**1. Factorising single brackets**

Example of factorising an algebraic expression:

3x + 6 = 3(x + 2)

**2.** **Factorising double brackets**

a) Example of factorising quadratic expressions in the form ^{2} + bx + c

x^{2} + 6x + 5 = (x + 5)(x + 1)

Remember:

Expressions with three terms like ^{2}+ 6x + 5^{2}+ 5x + 3

b) Example of factorising quadratic expressions in the form ^{2} + bx + c

2x^{2} + 5x + 3 = (2x + 3)(x + 1)

**3. Factorising differences of two squares**

Example of factorising the difference of two squares:

4x^{2} – 16 = (2x – 4)(2x + 4)

- Factorising to single brackets
- Factorising quadratics into double brackets
- Factorising using the difference of two squares

Each method of factorising expressions is summarised below. For detailed examples, practice questions and worksheets on each one follow the links to the step by step guides.

Factorising example using single brackets

To fully factorise:

3x + 6

- Find the highest common factor (HCF) of the numbers 3 and 6.

Factors of 3:

1, 3

Factors of 6:

1, 6

2, 3

Top tip:

Writing the factor pairs makes it easier to list all the factors

The highest common factor (HCF) of

2 Write the highest common factor (HCF) at the front of the single bracket.

3 Fill in each term in the bracket by multiplying out.

What do I need to multiply

What do I need to multiply

We can check the answer by multiplying out the bracket!

**Step by step guide: **Factorising single brackets

Factorising example for quadratic expressions in the form ^{2} + bx + c

To fully factorise:

^{2} + 6x + 5

- Write out the factor pairs of the last number (5)

Factors of 5:

1, 5

2 Find a pair of factors that + to give the middle number (6) and ✕ to give the last number (5).

3 Write two brackets and put the variable at the start of each one.

4 Write one factor in the first bracket and the other factor in the second bracket. The order isn’t important, the signs of the factors are.

Factorising example for quadratic expressions in the form ^{2} + bx + c

To fully factorise:

^{2} + 5x + 3

- Multiply the the end numbers together (2 and 3) then write out the factor pairs of this new number in order

2 We need a pair of factors that + to give the middle number (5) and ✕ to give this new number (6)

3 Rewrite the original expression, this time splitting the middle term into the two factors we found in step 2.

^{2} + 2x + 3x + 3

4 Split the equation down the middle and fully factorise each half.

5 Factorise the whole expression by bringing whatever is in the bracket to the front and writing the two other terms in the other bracket.

**Step by step guide: **Factorising quadratics

Factorising example using difference of two squares:

To fully factorise:

^{2} –

- Write down 2 brackets.

2 Square root the first term and write it on the left-hand side of both brackets.

^{2} = 2x

3 Square root the last term and write it on the right-hand side of both brackets.

4 Put + in the middle of one bracket and – in the middle of the other (the order doesn’t matter).

**Step by step guide: **Difference of two squares

1. Fully factorise: 10 – 5y

Show answer

=5(2 – y)

2. Fully factorise: 20x^{2} – 8x

Show answer

=4x(5x -2)

3. Fully factorise: x^{2} – x – 6

Show answer

=(x + 2)(x – 3)

4. Fully factorise: 2x^{2} – 4x – 6

Show answer

=(2x + 2)(x – 3)

5. Fully factorise: x^{2} – 9

Show answer

=(x + 3)(x-3)

6. Fully factorise: 4x^{2} – 16

Show answer

=(2x + 4)(2x – 4)

1. Factorise 9x – 18

Show answer

9(x – 2)

(1 mark)

2. Factorise fully 16x^{2} + 20xy

Show answer

4x(4x + 5y)

(2 marks)

3. Factorise fully 3y^{2} – 4y – 4

Show answer

(3y + 2)(y – 2)

(2 marks)

Get your free factorising worksheet of 20+ questions and answers. Includes reasoning and applied questions.

You have now learnt how to:

- Manipulate algebraic expressions by taking out common factors to factorise into a single bracket.
- Factorise quadratic expressions of the form x
^{2}+ bx + c - Factorise quadratic expressions of the form of the difference of two squares.
- Factorise quadratic expressions of the form ax
^{2}+ bx + c (H)

- Solving quadratic equations by factoring
- Solving quadratics equations using the formula
- Forming and solving quadratic equations
- Completing the square

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