If you would like an in-depth review of fractions, click on Fractions.
Solve for x in the following equation.
Comment on answers: You may wonder why we give you the answers in two forms: exact and approximate. There is a reason. Students seem perplexed when they think they have worked a problem correctly and yet, their exact answers differ from the exact answers in the book. The student is not necessarily wrong. Depending on the method chosen to work the problem, exact answers have a different look. How do you know whether your exact answer is equivalent to a different looking exact answer in the book? Simplify both. If both exact answers are correct, they will both simplify to the same approximate answer.
Next time your answer differs from the answer in the book, simplify both. If the approximate answers are the same, you are correct. If not, go back to the drawing board and try to find your mistake.
Rewrite the problem so that every denominator is factored
Recall that you cannot divide by zero. Therefore, the first fraction is valid if , the second fraction is valid if and the third fraction is valid is .If either or turn out to be the solutions, you must discard them as extraneous solutions.
Multiply both sides by the least common multiple (the smallest number that all the denominators will divide into evenly). This step will eliminate all the denominators.
which is equivalent to
which can be rewritten as
which can be rewritten as
which can be simplified to
Solve for x using the quadratic formula
The answers are However, this may or may not be the answer. You must check the solution with the original equation.
Check the solution by substituting 0.613245610238 in the original equation for x. If the left side of the equation equals the right side of the equation after the substitution, you have found the correct answer.
Since the left side of the original equation is reasonably close to the right side of the original equation after we substitute the value 0.613245610238 for x, then x=0.613245610238 is a solution.
Check the solution by substituting -1.41324561024 in the original equation for x. If the left side of the equation equals the right side of the equation after the substitution, you have found the correct answer.
You can also check your answer by graphing (formed by subtracting the right side of the original equation from the left side). Look to see where the graph crosses the x-axis; that will be the real solution. Note that the graph crosses the x-axis at two places:
We have verified the solution two ways.
If you would like to return to the beginning of this section, click on again.
If you would like to go back to the equation table of contents, click on contents.
This site was built to accommodate the needs of students. The topics and problems are what students ask for. We ask students to help in the editing so that future viewers will access a cleaner site. If you feel that some of the material in this section is ambiguous or needs more clarification, please let us know by e-mail.
S.O.S MATHematics home page
Do you need more help? Please post your question on our S.O.S. Mathematics CyberBoard.