Thursday, December 2, 2010

Adding and Subtracting Rational Expressions

To simplify a rational expression:
Step 1:  Factor all denominators as a means to easily determine the LCD.
Step 2Multiply by the appropriate factors to obtain equivalent terms with a common denominator. 
Step 3Add or subtract the numerators and place the result over the common denominator. 
Step 4:  Simplify the resulting algebraic fraction.

A more involved example follows:

It is always a good idea to state the restrictions.  Remember that the restrictions are the values that produce zero in the denominator.