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## Digital SAT Math

### Course: Digital SAT Math > Unit 4

Lesson 4: Operations with rational expressions: foundations# Operations with rational expressions | Lesson

A guide to operations with rational expressions on the digital SAT

## What are rational expressions?

**Rational expressions**look like fractions that have variables in their denominators (and often numerators too). For example, start fraction, x, squared, divided by, x, plus, 3, end fraction is a rational expression. Just as we can add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions, we can perform the four operations on rational expressions.

Rational expressions also represent the division of one polynomial expression by another. For example, start fraction, x, squared, divided by, x, plus, 3, end fraction represents the division of x, squared by x, plus, 3, for which we can find a quotient and a remainder.

In this lesson, we'll learn to:

- Simplify rational expressions
- Add, subtract, multiply, and divide rational expressions
- Rewrite rational expressions in the form of quotients and remainders

This lesson builds upon the following skills:

- Factoring quadratic and polynomial expressions
- Operations with polynomials

**You can learn anything. Let's do this!**

## How do I simplify rational expressions?

### Intro to rational expression simplification

### Just like fractions, but with polynomial factoring

You're probably familiar with simplifying fractions like start fraction, 5, divided by, 10, end fraction; we can factor out a 5 from both the numerator and the denominator and cancel them, leaving us with start fraction, 1, divided by, 2, end fraction.

With rational expressions, we can also cancel out factors that appear in both the numerator and the denominator. These factors can be polynomials!

For example, we can simplify the rational expression start fraction, x, plus, 1, divided by, 2, x, plus, 2, end fraction by factoring out x, plus, 1 from both the numerator and the denominator and canceling them, leaving us with start fraction, 1, divided by, 2, end fraction.

On the SAT, the numerators and denominators of rational expressions can also be quadratic expressions and higher order polynomials, so the ability to factor these expressions fluently is key to your success.

### Try it!

## How do I multiply and divide rational expressions?

### Multiplying & dividing rational expressions: monomials

### Multiplying and dividing rational expressions

The same rules for multiplying and dividing fractions apply to multiplying and dividing rational expressions.

When multiplying two rational expressions:

When dividing two expressions, recall that dividing by a fraction is equivalent to multiplying by that fraction's reciprocal:

However, to avoid lengthy polynomial operations, it's recommended that you factor and cancel any cancellable factors before you write out the final expression.

To multiply two rational expressions:

- Factor any factorable polynomial expressions in the numerators and the denominators.
- Cancel any identical factors that appear in both the numerators and the denominators of the expressions.
- Multiply the remaining numerators and multiply the remaining denominators.

Dividing two rational expressions is similar to multiplying; just remember that dividing by an expression is equivalent to multiplying by the

*reciprocal*of the same expression.#### Let's look at some examples!

What is the product of start fraction, x, squared, divided by, x, plus, 3, end fraction and start fraction, x, plus, 3, divided by, x, end fraction ?

If f, left parenthesis, x, right parenthesis, equals, start fraction, x, squared, plus, 2, x, plus, 1, divided by, x, plus, 3, end fraction and g, left parenthesis, x, right parenthesis, equals, start fraction, x, divided by, x, squared, plus, 4, x, plus, 3, end fraction, what is start fraction, f, left parenthesis, x, right parenthesis, divided by, g, left parenthesis, x, right parenthesis, end fraction ?

### Try it!

## How do I add and subtract rational expressions?

### Adding rational expressions with different denominators

### Adding and subtracting rational expressions

The same rules for adding and subtracting fractions apply to adding and subtracting rational expressions.

When adding or subtracting two rational expressions with unlike denominators:

Remember that you can only add and subtract the numerators of the rational expressions if the expressions have a

**common denominator**! In most cases, the easiest way to find a common denominator is to multiply the two unlike denominators, start color #ca337c, b, end color #ca337c and start color #a75a05, d, end color #a75a05.To add and subtract two rational expressions:

- Find a common denominator for the two expressions. In most cases, the product of the two denominators would work.
- Rewrite the equivalent form of each rational expression using the common denominator.
- Add or subtract the numerators of the expressions while retaining the common denominator.
- Combine like terms and write the result.
- Factor and/or cancel as needed.

#### Let's look at some examples!

What is the sum of start fraction, x, squared, divided by, x, plus, 3, end fraction and start fraction, 4, x, plus, 3, divided by, x, plus, 3, end fraction ?

What is the difference start fraction, 2, x, divided by, x, plus, 3, end fraction, minus, start fraction, 3, divided by, x, plus, 1, end fraction ?

### Try it!

## How do I rewrite a rational expression as a quotient and a remainder?

### Dividing polynomials by linear expressions

### Polynomial long division

We can represent any rational expression as start fraction, a, left parenthesis, x, right parenthesis, divided by, b, left parenthesis, x, right parenthesis, end fraction, where a and b are polynomial expressions in terms of x.

For example, for a, left parenthesis, x, right parenthesis, equals, x, squared, plus, 2, x, plus, 4 and b, left parenthesis, x, right parenthesis, equals, x, plus, 3, start fraction, a, left parenthesis, x, right parenthesis, divided by, b, left parenthesis, x, right parenthesis, end fraction, equals, start fraction, x, squared, plus, 2, x, plus, 4, divided by, x, plus, 3, end fraction.

When dividing a and b, we can find quotient polynomial q and remainder polynomial r such that:

Where the degree of r is less than the degree of b. Since b is usually a first degree polynomial (a, x, plus, b) on the SAT, r is usually a constant.

When dividing two polynomials using long division, we focus on the highest degree terms in the numerator and the denominator first. For example, for start fraction, x, squared, plus, 2, x, plus, 4, divided by, x, plus, 3, end fraction, the highest degree term in the numerator is x, squared, and the highest degree term in the denominator is x. The first question we ask is "what is x, squared divided by x ?"

start fraction, x, squared, divided by, start color #208170, x, end color #208170, end fraction, equals, start color #7854ab, x, end color #7854ab, so we write start color #7854ab, x, end color #7854ab as the first term of the quotient q, find the product of start color #7854ab, x, end color #7854ab and the divisor start color #208170, x, end color #208170, plus, 3, then subtract the product from a. This eliminates the x, squared term in the dividend.

Next, we do the same to what's left of the dividend, minus, x, plus, 4. We ask "what is minus, x divided by x ?"

start fraction, minus, x, divided by, start color #208170, x, end color #208170, end fraction, equals, start color #7854ab, minus, 1, end color #7854ab, so we write start color #7854ab, minus, 1, end color #7854ab as the second term of the quotient q, find the product of start color #7854ab, minus, 1, end color #7854ab and the divisor start color #208170, x, end color #208170, plus, 3, then subtract the product from minus, x, plus, 4. This eliminates the x term in the dividend.

This leaves us with the constant start color #ca337c, 7, end color #ca337c. Since the degree of start color #ca337c, 7, end color #ca337c is lower than the degree of start color #208170, x, end color #208170, plus, 3, we can stop dividing here and write our quotient and remainder.

- q, left parenthesis, x, right parenthesis, equals, start color #7854ab, x, minus, 1, end color #7854ab
- r, left parenthesis, x, right parenthesis, equals, start color #ca337c, 7, end color #ca337c

Therefore, start fraction, x, squared, plus, 2, x, plus, 4, divided by, x, plus, 3, end fraction, equals, start color #7854ab, x, minus, 1, end color #7854ab, plus, start fraction, start color #ca337c, 7, end color #ca337c, divided by, x, plus, 3, end fraction.

Another strategy to find the quotient and the remainder is to

**group the numerator**, which requires us to split the numerator of a rational expression into a polynomial divisible by the denominator and the remainder.You don't

*need*to know how to group the numerator, but it may save you time on the test.To divide polynomial expressions a, left parenthesis, x, right parenthesis and b, left parenthesis, x, right parenthesis using long division:

- Divide the highest degree term of a by the highest degree term of b. This gives you a term of the quotient.
- Multiply the result of Step 1 by b.
- Subtract the result of Step 2 from a. Be careful when subtracting negatives!
- Repeat the divide-multiply-subtract steps using what's left of the dividend until the result is of a lower degree than b.
- The terms calculated in the "divide" steps form the quotient q. The leftover polynomial with a lower degree than b is the remainder r.
- Write the result as q, left parenthesis, x, right parenthesis, plus, start fraction, r, left parenthesis, x, right parenthesis, divided by, b, left parenthesis, x, right parenthesis, end fraction.

**Example:**For f, left parenthesis, x, right parenthesis, equals, x, squared and g, left parenthesis, x, right parenthesis, equals, x, plus, 3, rewrite start fraction, f, left parenthesis, x, right parenthesis, divided by, g, left parenthesis, x, right parenthesis, end fraction in the form q, left parenthesis, x, right parenthesis, plus, start fraction, r, left parenthesis, x, right parenthesis, divided by, g, left parenthesis, x, right parenthesis, end fraction.

### Try it!

## Your turn!

## Want to join the conversation?

- Ugh i hope i’ll get a good grade after all of this

My exam is in the 6th of May. Pray for me!!(17 votes) - i dont like this section:((6 votes)
- i have a easy method.but if i write there u can't understand(2 votes)

- Another method for dividing a polynomial: substitute X in the polynomial with the reverse of the constant in the divisor. example: 3x^4+10x+5 divided by x+3; simply substitute -3 into the polynomial, and your answer is the remainder.hope this helps(4 votes)
- in the last question if u cant do the long division just plug in the number 1 in x and solve for it which comes in as 4/3 then plug this one into the 3rd choice and u get 4/3 , this means that this is the answer(3 votes)
- I know this might maybe sound confusing, but does anyone else want to know why these equations work? Like, why do performing these operations give us the answer and why it is the answer? Is there any way to know this, or is it just because it works it that way?(0 votes)
- Hi!

So the basic definition of an equation is that there is an equality between 2 expressions. And when 2 expressions are equal, performing the same operation on them with the same quantity gives us the same values.

For e.g. 3=3 is an equation. Adding 6 to both sides gives 9=9, subtracting 1 from both sides gives 2=2, multiplying by 2 on both sides gives 6=6 and dividing by 3 on both sides gives 1=1, all of which are equations.

That's essentially what we're doing when we solve equations.

Hope that answers your query!(6 votes)

- There are some writing errors in this section. like they wrote x62 instead of x(square). I will email them asap!(2 votes)
- so in the first video sal would only put the x not equal to condition on the bracket which cancels out e.g at7:07x is not equal to -1 wont it also be x is not equal to 2(2 votes)
- For the Adding Rational Expressions: Unlike Denominators video, why didn't he FOIL the denominator? Why did he just leave it as (3x+1)(2x+3)?(0 votes)
- Hi!

It isn't compulsory to FOIL the denominator because it doesn't change the answer. You can absolutely leave it as it is. It depends on what the MCQ options look like. So if the options involve FOILed denominators, you'd have to FOIL it to know the right answer.(2 votes)

- For the last problem in the "Intro to rational expression simplification" video, shouldn't x not be able to equal both 1/2 and -3, if x=1/2 then the equation (2x-1) would =0 and that would mean the equation is undefined, but in the video it only says that x cannot equal -3(0 votes)