What is the Discriminant?
We can use the Quadratic Formula to solve quadratic equations if we want the exact answers. The discriminant is just part of the Quadratic Formula and can tell us quite a bit about a quadratic equation. The discriminant is the number we end up with under the square root in the Quadratic Formula: the b squared minus 4ac part.
How Do You Calculate the Discriminant?
If you've used the Quadratic Formula before, finding the discriminant should feel like a shortcut. You don't need to use the whole formula, you just find the value of b squared minus 4ac. To do this, first make sure the equation is set equal to 0 and identify a, b, and c. a is the coefficient of the x-squared term, b is the coefficient of the x term and c is the constant. Plug the values into the expression b squared minus 4ac and simplify to find the discriminant.
Here's an example:
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