The discriminant is a useful tool for understanding the properties of a quadratic equation and can help us determine the kind of roots (or answers) the equation has. In this article, we’ll cover what the discriminant is and how to calculate it, what the result of the discriminant means and how it can be applied in solving quadratic equations. We’ll also explore some tips and tricks, along with a few examples, to help you better understand discriminants in quadratic equations.

## What is a Discriminant?

The discriminant, also known as the ‘discriminant of a quadratic equation’, is a number that helps you identify the different kinds of answers that a quadratic equation will have. It is a useful tool for predicting what type of roots the equation will have before you actually solve it. The discriminant uses the coefficients from a quadratic equation in order to tell whether the equation has two real-number solutions, one real-number solution, or two complex-number solutions.

The discriminant is calculated by subtracting four times the coefficient of the squared term from the coefficient of the linear term, and then squaring the result. This number can then be used to determine the number of solutions the equation will have. If the discriminant is positive, the equation will have two real-number solutions. If the discriminant is zero, the equation will have one real-number solution. If the discriminant is negative, the equation will have two complex-number solutions.

## Calculating the Discriminant of a Quadratic Equation

The discriminant for a quadratic equation is calculated using the following formula: D = b^{2} – 4ac. ‘a’, ‘b’ and ‘c’ are the coefficients used in the equation, with ‘a’ being the coefficient in front of x^{2}, ‘b’ being the coefficient in front of x and ‘c’ being the constant. In other words, if your quadratic equation is written in the form ax^{2} + bx + c = 0, the discriminant is calculated by plugging a, b, and c into the formula above. Once you have calculated the discriminant, you can use its value to determine the kind of solutions that your equation has.

## Interpreting the Value of the Discriminant

The value of the discriminant can give you an indication of what type of solutions your equation will have. If D is greater than 0, the equation will have two distinct real-number solutions, that is, two separate answers that are both real numbers. If D is equal to 0, then there is only one real-number solution and the equation is said to have one repeated root. Finally, if D is less than 0, then the equation has two complex-number solutions.

## Applications of the Discriminant of a Quadratic Equation

The discriminant is a useful tool for solving quadratic equations. By calculating the discriminant, you can determine whether the equation has two real-number solutions, one multivariable solution, or two complex-number solutions. This can save you time since you don’t need to actually solve the equation in order to figure out what type of roots it has. Knowing what type of solution the equation has can also help you decide how best to approach solving it.

## Tips and Tricks for Solving Quadratic Equations with a Discriminant

When solving a quadratic equation with a discriminant, remember to always factor out the greatest common factor before calculating the discriminant. This will make sure that you are getting an accurate result. Also, keep in mind that if the discriminant is greater than zero, then your equation will have two real-number solutions; if it is equal to zero, it will have one; and if it is less than zero, it will have two complex-number solutions.

## Examples of Quadratic Equations with a Discriminant

To better understand how to calculate and use discriminants in quadratic equations, let’s look at a few examples.

- Consider the equation 2x
^{2}+ 4x – 6 = 0. To calculate its discriminant, first factor out its greatest common factor (2): 2(x^{2}+ 2x – 3) = 0. Then plug it into the discriminant formula: D = b^{2}– 4ac = 42 – 48 = -6. Since the discriminant is less than zero, we know that this equation has two complex-number solutions. - Now take a look at 3x
^{2}– 6x + 3 = 0. After factoring out its greatest common factor (3), we end up with 3(x^{2}– 2x + 1) = 0. Then plugging it into the discriminant formula gives us: D = b^{2}– 4ac = (-6)^{2}– 4(3)(1) = 36 – 12 = 24. Since the discriminant is greater than zero, we know that this equation has two real-number solutions.

## Summary

The discriminant of a quadratic equation can tell us a lot about its roots without us having to actually solve it. It’s calculated by using a special formula that takes in three coefficients from the equation. Once you’ve calculated the discriminant, you can use its value to determine whether your equation has two real-number solutions, one repeated root, or two complex-number solutions. This article covered everything you need to know about understanding and using discriminants to solve quadratic equations.