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.