Steps to Factoring

  1. Factor out the GCF (greatest common factor)

  2. If there are 2 terms, try
    • Difference of two squares
    • Sum of two squares (prime)
    • Difference of two cubes
    • Sum of two cubes
    If there are 3 terms, try
    • Perfect square trinomial
    • Trial and error or ac method
    • Patch-up
    If there are 4 or more terms, try
    • Grouping

  3. Check for further factorability.

There is a high probability you will be asked to reproduce parts of this chart on the Intermediate Algebra chapter 3 & 4 exam.