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Factoring A GCF From an Expression Lessons

To best understand this lesson, you should make sure you know how to find the GCF of two or more terms. To learn how, see the lesson called Finding a GCF.

3x3 + 27x2 + 9x

To factor out the GCF in an expression like the one above, first find the GCF of all of the expression's terms.

3 (1, 3)
27 (1, 3, 9, 27)
9 (1, 3, 9)

GCF = 3x

Next, write the GCF on the left of a set of parentheses:

3x(               )

Next, divide each term from the original expression (3x3+27x2+9x ) by the GCF (3x), then write it in the parenthesis.

3x3 / 3x = x2
27x 2 / 3x = 9x
9x / 3x = 3

3x(x 2 + 9x + 3)

Factoring a GCF from an Expression

The next expression we will be factoring is shown below.

36x2 - 64y4

To begin factoring the GCF out of the expression, find the GCF of the two terms.

36 (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 12, 18, 36)
64 (1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64)

GCF = 4

As you can see, the two terms to do not have any variables in common, therefore the GCF is simply 4.

Now write 4, the GCF, on the left of a set of parentheses.

4(               )

Now divide each term 4, the GCF, and place the result inside the parentheses.

36x2 / 4 = 9x2
-64y 4 / 4 = -16y4

4(9x 2 - 16y4)

GCF From an Expression Resources

Practice Problems / Worksheet
Practice your skills from this lesson.

Expression Factoring Calculator
Enter an expression, the calculator will factor out a GCF if possible.

Next Lesson: Difference Between Two Squares
Factor an expression of the form a2 - b2.


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