#### How do you factor when a is not 1?

Answer
To factor a polynomial you must reduce the polynomial expression to its factors.

We are going to use a method known as the 'ac' method to factor by grouping. Many people do not realize that there is actually a systematic way to factor by grouping. This is the closes thing to a 'formula' that you will find for factoring by grouping. It is always much easier to look at some example problems before reading generalized steps, but the steps go as follows

**Formula** for Factoring By Grouping

If you have a quadratic equation in the form $$ \red{a}x^2 + \color{purple}{b}x + \color{Yellow}{c} $$

- Step 1) Determine the product of AC (the coefficients in a quadratic equation)
- Step 2) Determine what factors of $$ \red{a} \cdot \color{Yellow}{c} $$ sum to $$ \color{purple}{b}$$
- Step 3) "ungroup" the middle term to become the sum of the factors found in step 2
- Step 4) group the pairs.

As I expressed earlier, it's much easier to understand this method by simply walking through a few examples. So don't worry if the steps above seem like algebraic nonsense -- just check out the example problems below.