How to Solve a Parabola

••• tttuna/E+/GettyImages

A parabola is a graph of a quadratic function. It looks like the letter "U" when graphed on a Cartesian plane (an X,Y axis). The quadratic function is ax^2+bx+c = 0, where a, b, and c are numbers called coefficients. The solution for any quadratic equation or parabola can be found by using a little algebra and the general formula for the quadratic equation, which is : x = -b ± sqrt(b^2 - 4ac) / 2a.

    Figure out the coefficients a, b, and c by looking at the given formula. For example, if you are asked to solve the parabola 3x^2 + 5x + 1 = 0, a is 3, b is 5, and c is 1.

    Put the values from Step 1 into the quadratic formula: x = -5 ± sqrt (52 - 4(3) (1)) / 2 *3.

    Work out the formula by performing the indicated operations: x = -5 ± sqrt (25 - 12) / 6 then x = -5 ± sqrt (13) / 6, which is the solution for the parabola.


    • A graphing calculator (standard in many algebra classrooms) can solve a quadratic formula in seconds. Just plug in your coefficients to the calculator's quadratic solver.

Related Articles

How to Solve an Exponential Equation on a Ti-30X Calculator
How to Find Equations of Tangent Lines
How to Find the X Intercept of a Function
How to Solve for a Variable in a Trig Function
How to Find the Vertex of a Parabola Equation
How to Find Correlation Coefficient & Coefficient of...
Characteristics of Aquatic Plants
How to Convert Pounds Per Square Foot to PSI
How to Express Your Answer in Interval Notation
How to Solve for Sigma on a TI83
How to Calculate the Area of a Curved Surface
How to Convert Centimeters to Centimeters Squared
How to Find X in an Algebra Question
Endpoint Math Formula
Brine Vs. Conductivity
How to Calculate Half of a Parabolic Curve
How to Do Fractions on a TI-30X IIS
What Is a Quotient & Dividend?
How to Figure Out the Slope of a Line
How to Find the Slope & the Equation of the Tangent...