1. What is the point of factorising?

By breaking an expression up into its factors, further tasks such as solving equations and simplifying are made much easier.

2. What are the common mistakes made when expanding?

One of the most common mistakes is to forget to multiply ALL of the terms inside the brackets.

e.g. 3(x − 4) is not equal to 3x − 4!

3. Is (x + 4)the same as 3(x + 4)?

Yes, they are the same.

Usually the number is put IN FRONT of the bracket.

4. Should I simplify expressions INSIDE the brackets first, if I can?

Yes, BEDMAS says to calculate anything inside the BRACKETS first.

e.g. 3(2x + 3x + 4 + 5) = 3(5x + 9)

Now expand to 15x + 27

5. Can every algebraic expression be factorised?

No. Many expressions cannot be factorised and many expressions need advanced techniques to factorise them.

6. What is the FIRST thing to look for when trying to factorise?

Always look to find a common factor first. This often makes the factorising easier.

7. Can a letter be a common factor?

Yes any number, variable or combination of the two can be a common factor.