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Math Help - Need help with factoring.

  1. #1
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    Need help with factoring.

    So the story is that I have been out of High school for about 5 years now, and I cannot for the life of me remember any of the rules for this "stuff". I have enrolled in calculus, and the prof is an extremely strict man, and flat out refuses to help me, so I am hoping somebody can jog my memory?
    The question is:
    (7a^2b^4)(-2a^-4b^2)
    All I am being asked to do is factor which I am embarrassed to say, I am struggling with.
    The part that is giving me pause is the -2. Do I need to make it positive? I just can't remember.
    Any hints or clues would be a lifesaver.
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by caramilkninja View Post
    So the story is that I have been out of High school for about 5 years now, and I cannot for the life of me remember any of the rules for this "stuff". I have enrolled in calculus, and the prof is an extremely strict man, and flat out refuses to help me, so I am hoping somebody can jog my memory?
    The question is:
    (7a^2b^4)(-2a^-4b^2)
    All I am being asked to do is factor which I am embarrassed to say, I am struggling with.
    The part that is giving me pause is the -2. Do I need to make it positive? I just can't remember.
    Any hints or clues would be a lifesaver.
    if I interpret your expression corrcetly, this is straight multiplication using the laws of exponents ...

    (7a^2b^4)(-2a^{-4}b^2) = 7(-2) \cdot a^2 \cdot a^{-4} \cdot b^4 \cdot b^2 = -14a^{-2}b^6 = -\frac{14b^6}{a^2}

    ... not factoring.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeeter View Post
    if I interpret your expression corrcetly, this is straight multiplication using the laws of exponents ...

    (7a^2b^4)(-2a^{-4}b^2) = 7(-2) \cdot a^2 \cdot a^{-4} \cdot b^4 \cdot b^2 = -14a^{-2}b^6 = -\frac{14b^6}{a^2}

    ... not factoring.
    Dear god...
    Staring at this stuff remembering bits and pieces, and feeling even more like a moron.
    Thanks.
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