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Solving an Equation with Radicals - Problem 12

Teacher/Instructor Alissa Fong
Alissa Fong

MA, Stanford University
Teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area

Alissa is currently a teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area and Brightstorm users love her clear, concise explanations of tough concepts

One of the most common errors made when working with exponents and roots is assuming that root (a- squared plus b-squared) = a plus b . As with any property, you could test this by plugging in numbers that make more sense: try substituting 3 for a and 4 for b, to see if the root (9 + 16) = 3 + 4 . (It does not, since 5 does not equal 7.) Rather, if you're asked to solve an equation that involves the root of the sum or difference of two perfect squares, you will "undo" the root by squaring both sides of the equation.

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