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Factoring is an essential algebraic skill that involves breaking down an expression into its factors. It is a fundamental concept that plays a crucial role in solving equations, simplifying expressions, and solving real-world problems. When factoring, we often encounter situations where the coefficient of the leading term (a) is not equal to 1. In such cases, we need to approach the factoring process differently.

To tackle factoring when ‘a’ is not equal to 1, we can follow a systematic approach. First, we look for common factors among all the terms in the expression and factor them out. Next, we employ various factoring techniques such as grouping, the difference of squares, perfect square trinomials, or the sum and difference of cubes to factor the remaining expression.

Factoring expressions with a coefficient other than 1 can sometimes be challenging. However, with practice and understanding of the different factoring techniques, it becomes easier to identify the appropriate method and factor the expression efficiently.

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Here are some frequently asked questions regarding factoring when ‘a’ is not equal to 1:

1. What is factoring?
Factoring is the process of breaking down an expression into its factors.

2. What should I do if ‘a’ is not equal to 1?
First, look for common factors and factor them out. Then employ various factoring techniques to factor the remaining expression.

3. What are common factors?
Common factors are the factors that are shared by all the terms in an expression.

4. What is the difference of squares?
The difference of squares is a factoring technique used for expressions in the form of a^2 – b^2, which can be factored as (a + b)(a – b).

5. What are perfect square trinomials?
Perfect square trinomials are expressions in the form of a^2 + 2ab + b^2 or a^2 – 2ab + b^2, which can be factored as (a + b)^2 or (a – b)^2.

6. How can I factor expressions involving grouping?
Grouping involves dividing the terms of an expression into groups and factoring out common factors from each group.

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7. What is the sum and difference of cubes?
The sum and difference of cubes are factoring techniques used for expressions in the form of a^3 + b^3 or a^3 – b^3, which can be factored using specific formulas.

Remember, factoring when ‘a’ is not equal to 1 may require different techniques, but with practice and understanding, you will become proficient in factoring various expressions and solving algebraic problems effectively.