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Simplifying Rational Expressions

These free video lessons with examples and solutions help Algebra students learn how to simplify algebraic rational expressions.

What is a Rational Expression?
A rational expression is a fraction in which the numerator and/or the denominator are polynomials.

For example:

rational expressions

How to Simplify Rational Expressions?
In this lesson, we will look at simplifying rational expressions. A rational expression has been simplified or reduced to lowest terms if all common factors from the numerator and denominator have been canceled.
1. We first need to factor the polynomials
2. Cancel any common factors from the top and bottom of the rational expression.


Simplify each of the following rational expressions:


simplify rational expressions

Simplifying rational expressions - level 1
(4x3 + 8x2)/2x

Simplifying rational expressions - level 2
(7x2 + 28x)/(x2 + 8x + 16)
Simplifying rational expressions - level 3
(4x2 + 4x + 1)/(2x3 + 11x2 + 5x)
How to write rational expressions in lowest terms?
Step 1: Factor them
Step 2: Cancel to write in lowest terms
Give the domain of the expressions
a) (x + 2)/(x2 + 5x + 6)
b) (x2 + 2x - 15)/(x2 + x - 12)
Rational Expressions: Writing in Lowest Terms
How to reduce a rational expression involving a cubic polynomial and a quadratic polynomial?
(x3 + 1)/(x2 + 7x + 6)

Rotate to landscape screen format on a mobile phone or small tablet to use the Mathway widget, a free math problem solver that answers your questions with step-by-step explanations.

You can use the free Mathway calculator and problem solver below to practice Algebra or other math topics. Try the given examples, or type in your own problem and check your answer with the step-by-step explanations.

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