Graphing Rational Functions

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Introduction

For now we mention the 7 steps to analyze the graph of a rational function. In the future there will be pictures to accompany the steps

Analyzing the graph of a rational function

Step 1: Factor the numerator and denominator of R. Note the domain of the rational function

Step 2: Write R in lowest terms.

Step 3: Find the x and y-intercepts. Plot them.

Step 4: Find the vertical asymptotes and graph then using dashed lines.

Step 5: Find the horizontal asymptote, if one exists. Find points, if any, at which the graph intersects the asymptote. Graph the asymptote as a horizontal dashed line. Plot any points at which the graph intersects the asymptote.

Step 6: Use the zeros and vertical asymptotes to divide the x-axis into intervals. Determine if the function is positive or negative in each of these intervals, by evaluating the function at one point in each interval.

Step 7: Use the results from the previous steps to graph R.

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