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End Behavior

The appearance of a graph as it is followed farther and farther in either direction. For polynomials, the end behavior is indicated by drawing the positions of the arms of the graph, which may be pointed up or down. Other graphs may also have end behavior indicated in terms of the arms, or in terms of asymptotes or limits.

Polynomial End Behavior:
1. If the degree n of a polynomial is even, then the arms of the graph are either both up or both down.
2. If the degree n is odd, then one arm of the graph is up and one is down.
3. If the leading coefficient an is positive, the right arm of the graph is up.
4. If the leading coefficient an is negative, the right arm of the graph is down.

 

See also

Polynomial facts

 


  this page updated 27-aug-12
Mathwords: Terms and Formulas from Algebra I to Calculus
written, illustrated, and webmastered by Bruce Simmons
NCTM Web Bytes December 2004 Web Bytes March 2005 Web Bytes