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Given a geometric sequence with a 2 = 4 and a 3 = 32 , find a 6 .

a 6 = 16 , 384

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Writing an explicit formula for the n Th term of a geometric sequence

Write an explicit formula for the n th term of the following geometric sequence.

{ 2 10 50 250 ... }

The first term is 2. The common ratio can be found by dividing the second term by the first term.

10 2 = 5

The common ratio is 5. Substitute the common ratio and the first term of the sequence into the formula.

a n = a 1 r ( n 1 ) a n = 2 5 n 1

The graph of this sequence in [link] shows an exponential pattern.

Graph of the geometric sequence.
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Write an explicit formula for the following geometric sequence.

{ –1 3 –9 27 ... }

a n = ( 3 ) n 1

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Solving application problems with geometric sequences

In real-world scenarios involving arithmetic sequences, we may need to use an initial term of a 0 instead of a 1 . In these problems, we can alter the explicit formula slightly by using the following formula:

a n = a 0 r n

Solving application problems with geometric sequences

In 2013, the number of students in a small school is 284. It is estimated that the student population will increase by 4% each year.

  1. Write a formula for the student population.
  2. Estimate the student population in 2020.
  1. The situation can be modeled by a geometric sequence with an initial term of 284. The student population will be 104% of the prior year, so the common ratio is 1.04.

    Let P be the student population and n be the number of years after 2013. Using the explicit formula for a geometric sequence we get

    P n   = 284 1.04 n
  2. We can find the number of years since 2013 by subtracting.

    2020 2013 = 7

    We are looking for the population after 7 years. We can substitute 7 for n to estimate the population in 2020.

    P 7 = 284 1.04 7 374

    The student population will be about 374 in 2020.

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A business starts a new website. Initially the number of hits is 293 due to the curiosity factor. The business estimates the number of hits will increase by 2.6% per week.

  1. Write a formula for the number of hits.
  2. Estimate the number of hits in 5 weeks.

  1. P n   =   293 1.026 a n
  2. The number of hits will be about 333.

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Access these online resources for additional instruction and practice with geometric sequences.

Key equations

recursive formula for n t h term of a geometric sequence a n = r a n 1 , n 2
explicit formula for n t h term of a geometric sequence a n = a 1 r n 1

Key concepts

  • A geometric sequence is a sequence in which the ratio between any two consecutive terms is a constant.
  • The constant ratio between two consecutive terms is called the common ratio.
  • The common ratio can be found by dividing any term in the sequence by the previous term. See [link] .
  • The terms of a geometric sequence can be found by beginning with the first term and multiplying by the common ratio repeatedly. See [link] and [link] .
  • A recursive formula for a geometric sequence with common ratio r is given by a n = r a n 1 for n 2 .
  • As with any recursive formula, the initial term of the sequence must be given. See [link] .
  • An explicit formula for a geometric sequence with common ratio r is given by a n = a 1 r n 1 . See [link] .
  • In application problems, we sometimes alter the explicit formula slightly to a n = a 0 r n . See [link] .

Questions & Answers

Find the possible value of 8.5 using moivre's theorem
Reuben Reply
which of these functions is not uniformly cintinuous on (0, 1)? sinx
Pooja Reply
which of these functions is not uniformly continuous on 0,1
Basant Reply
solve this equation by completing the square 3x-4x-7=0
Jamiz Reply
X=7
Muustapha
=7
mantu
x=7
mantu
3x-4x-7=0 -x=7 x=-7
Kr
x=-7
mantu
9x-16x-49=0 -7x=49 -x=7 x=7
mantu
what's the formula
Modress
-x=7
Modress
new member
siame
what is trigonometry
Jean Reply
deals with circles, angles, and triangles. Usually in the form of Soh cah toa or sine, cosine, and tangent
Thomas
solve for me this equational y=2-x
Rubben Reply
what are you solving for
Alex
solve x
Rubben
you would move everything to the other side leaving x by itself. subtract 2 and divide -1.
Nikki
then I got x=-2
Rubben
it will b -y+2=x
Alex
goodness. I'm sorry. I will let Alex take the wheel.
Nikki
ouky thanks braa
Rubben
I think he drive me safe
Rubben
how to get 8 trigonometric function of tanA=0.5, given SinA=5/13? Can you help me?m
Pab Reply
More example of algebra and trigo
Stephen Reply
What is Indices
Yashim Reply
If one side only of a triangle is given is it possible to solve for the unkown two sides?
Felix Reply
cool
Rubben
kya
Khushnama
please I need help in maths
Dayo Reply
Okey tell me, what's your problem is?
Navin
the least possible degree ?
Dejen Reply
(1+cosA)(1-cosA)=sin^2A
BINCY Reply
good
Neha
why I'm sending you solved question
Mirza
Teach me abt the echelon method
Khamis
exact value of cos(π/3-π/4)
Ankit Reply
What is differentiation?
Intakhab Reply
Practice Key Terms 2

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Source:  OpenStax, Algebra and trigonometry. OpenStax CNX. Nov 14, 2016 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11758/1.6
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