Math - How to Factor

Learn how to factor algebraic expressions, including the infamous and dreaded quadratic expressions!
Rating: 4.9 out of 5 (188 ratings)
8,449 students
English [Auto]
Find the greatest common factor (GCF) of two or more numbers
Find the GCF of algebraic expressions
Use the GCF to factor algebraic expressions
Factor algebraic expressions by grouping
Identify and factor special types of algebraic expressions
Factor quadratic expressions


  • Have basic arithmetic skills
  • Know what a variable is
  • Know the basic rules of exponents
  • It helps to know what an algebraic expression is, but if you don't, don't worry! It's very simple and we'll review the definition when it is first needed.


Taught by a former college math instructor with over 8 years of experience teaching and over 14 years of experience tutoring.

This course will teach you how to factor with the GCF (greatest common factor), how to factor by grouping, how to factor special types of expressions, and most importantly, how to factor the well-known-but-not-so-well-liked quadratic expression.

We begin with an outline of the topics to be discussed, then we jump right in with explanations and examples. Each section has explanations, examples, and review worksheets with full solutions. The solutions are provided in separate documents so you can do the worksheets without having the answers in front of you. Sort of like a mini self-quiz.

Why take this course? It will make your life significantly easier in your math classes, leading to an easier life in general. Factoring is one of the most important concepts taught in math at this level. It is widely used in more advanced math classes for things like solving equations and performing other, more advanced operations. Please trust me when I say that your future math courses - and even your current course later on - will be very difficult if you do not have adequate factoring skills. I have seen it myself too many times. Students in more advanced courses like precalculus and calculus (and beyond) struggle with the concepts early on in those courses because they don't have a solid background in the basics, including and especially factoring. I can't count how often I've seen this, and I'm usually pretty good at counting stuff.

But really, it's an important skill to have, and an absolutely indispensable one if you are planning to continue taking courses in math.

Who this course is for:

  • Algebra or Precalculus students, whether in high school or college
  • Students in more advanced courses who need a refresher

Course content

8 sections45 lectures2h 22m total length
  • Topic Outline


Math & Comp Sci Guy
Chris Wingard
  • 4.5 Instructor Rating
  • 228 Reviews
  • 10,535 Students
  • 2 Courses

Chris is a full-time programmer analyst for a pension management organization. He insists it's more fun than it sounds. He is also a part-time math and computer science teacher at the local community college. Several years and pounds ago, he was a full-time university math teacher.

Since 2007 he has taught courses ranging from Pre-Algebra to Partial Differential Equations, with class sizes varying from 6 to over 200 students.

His educational background includes undergraduate Ivy League degrees in math and computer science, two master's degrees in math (one for "real" and one for "fun"), and a master's degree in computer science through Georgia Tech's OMSCS program.  Chris strongly believes in the importance and value of online education and is excited to be part of it, both as a teacher and a student!

When not doing work stuff, Chris enjoys reading, playing the guitar and piano, eating, exercising to balance out the eating, traveling, Netflix, video games, and hanging out with his wife and their plethora of cats in the USA Midwest.