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Given a polynomial function, sketch the graph.

  1. Find the intercepts.
  2. Check for symmetry. If the function is an even function, its graph is symmetrical about the y - axis, that is, f ( x ) = f ( x ) . If a function is an odd function, its graph is symmetrical about the origin, that is, f ( x ) = f ( x ) .
  3. Use the multiplicities of the zeros to determine the behavior of the polynomial at the x - intercepts.
  4. Determine the end behavior by examining the leading term.
  5. Use the end behavior and the behavior at the intercepts to sketch a graph.
  6. Ensure that the number of turning points does not exceed one less than the degree of the polynomial.
  7. Optionally, use technology to check the graph.

Sketching the graph of a polynomial function

Sketch a graph of f ( x ) = −2 ( x + 3 ) 2 ( x 5 ) .

This graph has two x - intercepts. At x = −3 , the factor is squared, indicating a multiplicity of 2. The graph will bounce at this x - intercept. At x = 5 , the function has a multiplicity of one, indicating the graph will cross through the axis at this intercept.

The y -intercept is found by evaluating f ( 0 ) .

f ( 0 ) = 2 ( 0 + 3 ) 2 ( 0 5 )         = 2 9 ( 5 )         = 90

The y - intercept is ( 0 , 90 ) .

Additionally, we can see the leading term, if this polynomial were multiplied out, would be 2 x 3 , so the end behavior is that of a vertically reflected cubic, with the outputs decreasing as the inputs approach infinity, and the outputs increasing as the inputs approach negative infinity. See [link] .

Showing the distribution for the leading term.

To sketch this, we consider that:

  • As x the function f ( x ) , so we know the graph starts in the second quadrant and is decreasing toward the x - axis.
  • Since f ( x ) = −2 ( x + 3 ) 2 ( x 5 ) is not equal to f ( x ) , the graph does not display symmetry.
  • At ( 3 , 0 ) , the graph bounces off of the x - axis, so the function must start increasing.

    At ( 0 , 90 ) , the graph crosses the y - axis at the y - intercept. See [link] .

Graph of the end behavior and intercepts, (-3, 0) and (0, 90), for the function f(x)=-2(x+3)^2(x-5).

Somewhere after this point, the graph must turn back down or start decreasing toward the horizontal axis because the graph passes through the next intercept at ( 5 , 0 ) . See [link] .

Graph of the end behavior and intercepts, (-3, 0), (0, 90) and (5, 0), for the function f(x)=-2(x+3)^2(x-5).

As x the function f ( x ) −∞ , so we know the graph continues to decrease, and we can stop drawing the graph in the fourth quadrant.

Using technology, we can create the graph for the polynomial function, shown in [link] , and verify that the resulting graph looks like our sketch in [link] .

Graph of f(x)=-2(x+3)^2(x-5).
The complete graph of the polynomial function f ( x ) = 2 ( x + 3 ) 2 ( x 5 )
Got questions? Get instant answers now!
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Sketch a graph of f ( x ) = 1 4 x ( x 1 ) 4 ( x + 3 ) 3 .

Graph of f(x)=(1/4)x(x-1)^4(x+3)^3.
Got questions? Get instant answers now!

Using the intermediate value theorem

In some situations, we may know two points on a graph but not the zeros. If those two points are on opposite sides of the x -axis, we can confirm that there is a zero between them. Consider a polynomial function f whose graph is smooth and continuous. The Intermediate Value Theorem states that for two numbers a and b in the domain of f , if a < b and f ( a ) f ( b ) , then the function f takes on every value between f ( a ) and f ( b ) . We can apply this theorem to a special case that is useful in graphing polynomial functions. If a point on the graph of a continuous function f at x = a lies above the x - axis and another point at x = b lies below the x - axis, there must exist a third point between x = a and x = b where the graph crosses the x - axis. Call this point ( c ,   f ( c ) ) . This means that we are assured there is a solution c where f ( c ) = 0.

Questions & Answers

The center is at (3,4) a focus is at (3,-1), and the lenght of the major axis is 26
Rima Reply
The center is at (3,4) a focus is at (3,-1) and the lenght of the major axis is 26 what will be the answer?
Rima
I done know
Joe
What kind of answer is that😑?
Rima
I had just woken up when i got this message
Joe
Can you please help me. Tomorrow is the deadline of my assignment then I don't know how to solve that
Rima
i have a question.
Abdul
how do you find the real and complex roots of a polynomial?
Abdul
@abdul with delta maybe which is b(square)-4ac=result then the 1st root -b-radical delta over 2a and the 2nd root -b+radical delta over 2a. I am not sure if this was your question but check it up
Nare
This is the actual question: Find all roots(real and complex) of the polynomial f(x)=6x^3 + x^2 - 4x + 1
Abdul
@Nare please let me know if you can solve it.
Abdul
I have a question
juweeriya
hello guys I'm new here? will you happy with me
mustapha
The average annual population increase of a pack of wolves is 25.
Brittany Reply
how do you find the period of a sine graph
Imani Reply
Period =2π if there is a coefficient (b), just divide the coefficient by 2π to get the new period
Am
if not then how would I find it from a graph
Imani
by looking at the graph, find the distance between two consecutive maximum points (the highest points of the wave). so if the top of one wave is at point A (1,2) and the next top of the wave is at point B (6,2), then the period is 5, the difference of the x-coordinates.
Am
you could also do it with two consecutive minimum points or x-intercepts
Am
I will try that thank u
Imani
Case of Equilateral Hyperbola
Jhon Reply
ok
Zander
ok
Shella
f(x)=4x+2, find f(3)
Benetta
f(3)=4(3)+2 f(3)=14
lamoussa
14
Vedant
pre calc teacher: "Plug in Plug in...smell's good" f(x)=14
Devante
8x=40
Chris
Explain why log a x is not defined for a < 0
Baptiste Reply
the sum of any two linear polynomial is what
Esther Reply
divide simplify each answer 3/2÷5/4
Momo Reply
divide simplify each answer 25/3÷5/12
Momo
how can are find the domain and range of a relations
austin Reply
the range is twice of the natural number which is the domain
Morolake
A cell phone company offers two plans for minutes. Plan A: $15 per month and $2 for every 300 texts. Plan B: $25 per month and $0.50 for every 100 texts. How many texts would you need to send per month for plan B to save you money?
Diddy Reply
6000
Robert
more than 6000
Robert
can I see the picture
Zairen Reply
How would you find if a radical function is one to one?
Peighton Reply
how to understand calculus?
Jenica Reply
with doing calculus
SLIMANE
Thanks po.
Jenica
Hey I am new to precalculus, and wanted clarification please on what sine is as I am floored by the terms in this app? I don't mean to sound stupid but I have only completed up to college algebra.
rachel Reply
I don't know if you are looking for a deeper answer or not, but the sine of an angle in a right triangle is the length of the opposite side to the angle in question divided by the length of the hypotenuse of said triangle.
Marco
can you give me sir tips to quickly understand precalculus. Im new too in that topic. Thanks
Jenica
if you remember sine, cosine, and tangent from geometry, all the relationships are the same but they use x y and r instead (x is adjacent, y is opposite, and r is hypotenuse).
Natalie
it is better to use unit circle than triangle .triangle is only used for acute angles but you can begin with. Download any application named"unit circle" you find in it all you need. unit circle is a circle centred at origine (0;0) with radius r= 1.
SLIMANE
What is domain
johnphilip
the standard equation of the ellipse that has vertices (0,-4)&(0,4) and foci (0, -15)&(0,15) it's standard equation is x^2 + y^2/16 =1 tell my why is it only x^2? why is there no a^2?
Reena Reply
what is foci?
Reena Reply
This term is plural for a focus, it is used for conic sections. For more detail or other math questions. I recommend researching on "Khan academy" or watching "The Organic Chemistry Tutor" YouTube channel.
Chris
Practice Key Terms 4

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Source:  OpenStax, Precalculus. OpenStax CNX. Jan 19, 2016 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11667/1.6
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