Learn how to choose the best factoring strategy when factoring polynomials. The following is just a guideline so you know how to approach the problem without wasting too much time using the wrong approach.

**Step 1.**

Are there any common factors? If so factor out the greatest common factor (GCF)

**Step 2. **

How many terms does the polynomial have?**1. **If there are **two** terms, decide if one of the following can be used to factor the polynomial.

b. Sum of two cubes: a

c. Sum of two squares: a

d. Difference of two cubes: a

**2. **If there are **three** terms, try one of the following.

b. If the polynomial is not a perfect square trinomial, then factor using the method used to factor trinomials of the form ax

If a = 1, look for factors of c that will add up to b.

If a is not equal to 1, factor the first term, factor the last term, and try all the different combinations until you get the correct one.

**3.** If there are 4 or more terms, try factoring by grouping.

**Step 3.** Check to see if the factored polynomial can be factored further.

**Step 4. **Check my multiplying.