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Finding max and min.pdf

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Dan Dolderman

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Notes on Textbook Section 4.1 Critical Points and Classifying Local Maxima and Minima Don Byrd, rev. 25 Oct. 2011 To find and classify critical points of a function f(x) First steps: 1. Take the derivative f ’(x) . 2. Find the critical points by setting f ’ equal to 0, and solving for x . To finish the job, use either the first derivative test or the second derivative test. Via First Derivative Test 3. Determine if f ’ is positive (so f is increasing) or negative (so f is decreasing) on both sides of each critical point. • Note that since all that matters is the sign, you can check any value on the side you want; so use values that make it easy! • Optional, but helpful in more complex situations: draw a sign diagram. For example, say we have critical points at 11/8 and 22/7. It’s usually easier to evaluate functions at integer values than non-integers, and it’s especially easy at 0. So, for a value to the left of 11/8, choose 0; for a value to the right of 11/8 and the left of 22/7, choose 2; and for a value to the right of 22/7, choose 4. Let’s s ay f ’(0) = –1; f ’(2) = 5/9; and f ’(4) = 5. Then we could draw this sign diagram: Value of x 11 22 8 7 Sign of f ’(x) negative positive positive ! ! 4. Apply the first derivative test (textbook, top of p. 172, restated in terms of the derivative): If f ’ changes from negative to positive: f has a local minimum at the cri
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