A-level Mathematics/MEI/C1/Polynomials

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Graph of the equation y=x2


polynomials are equations of the type axn + bx(n-1) + ... + c. In Core 1 you would be expected to be able to sketch and solve them. you only need to worry about positive powers of x for C1.


Graph of the equation y=x4
Graph of the equation y=x6

To sketch a function you need to know:

  • Crossing points with both axis
  • whether the graph is above or below the axis between crossing points.
  • the general shape of the graph.

As we can see by looking to the right graphs of an even power are a "U" shaped curve. with greater powers having a longer "flat" section between 1 and -1

A graph has a limited number of turning points. This is 1 less than the highest power.

An equation with an odd power follows the same rule but will have a curvy shape starting at the bottom going through zero and then going off the top of the screen. I recommend that you use a graphing program like Geogebra to visualise these graphs.

Remember if the highest power has a coefficient of -1 then the curve will be upside down.


TBC - soon hopefully.