 New Zealand
Level 6 - NCEA Level 1

Factorise sum and difference of cubes

Lesson We've looked at how to factorise monic and non-monic quadratics. We've also looked at some special factorising rules, such as the difference of two squares.

In this chapter we are going to look at how to factorise the sum and difference of two cubics (ie. terms with powers of $3$3).

Let's start by looking at the general forms of these rules.

General Forms for Factorising Cubics

Sum of two cubics: $a^3+b^3=\left(a+b\right)\left(a^2-ab+b^2\right)$a3+b3=(a+b)(a2ab+b2)

Difference of two cubics: $a^3-b^3=\left(a-b\right)\left(a^2+ab+b^2\right)$a3b3=(ab)(a2+ab+b2)

Some people use the mnemonic "SOAP" to help remember the order of the signs in these formulae. The letters stand for:

OPPOSITE sign to the original expression

ALWAYS POSITIVE

Now let's look at some examples and see this process in action!

Worked Examples

Question 1

Factorise $x^3+27$x3+27.

Question 2

Factorise $x^3-1000$x31000.

Question 3

Evaluate $5^3-11^3$53113 by factorising it first.

Note: You must show your factorisation.

Question 4

Simplify $\frac{125x^3+8}{5x+2}$125x3+85x+2.

Outcomes

NA6-6

Generalise the properties of operations with rational numbers, including the properties of exponents

91027

Apply algebraic procedures in solving problems