Contributed by:

This pdf includes the following topics:-

Sketching cubic and reciprocal graphs

Examples

Practice

Key points

Sketch the graph

Sketching cubic and reciprocal graphs

Examples

Practice

Key points

Sketch the graph

1.
Sketching cubic and reciprocal graphs

A LEVEL LINKS

Scheme of work: 1e. Graphs – cubic, quartic and reciprocal

Key points

The graph of a cubic function,

which can be written in the

form y = ax3 + bx2 + cx + d,

where a ≠ 0, has one of the

shapes shown here.

The graph of a reciprocal

a

function of the form y has

x

one of the shapes shown here.

To sketch the graph of a function, find the points where the graph intersects the axes.

To find where the curve intersects the y-axis substitute x = 0 into the function.

To find where the curve intersects the x-axis substitute y = 0 into the function.

Where appropriate, mark and label the asymptotes on the graph.

Asymptotes are lines (usually horizontal or vertical) which the curve gets closer to but never

touches or crosses. Asymptotes usually occur with reciprocal functions. For example, the

a

asymptotes for the graph of y are the two axes (the lines y = 0 and x = 0).

x

At the turning points of a graph the gradient of the curve is 0 and any tangents to the curve at

these points are horizontal.

A double root is when two of the solutions are equal. For example (x – 3)2(x + 2) has a

double root at x = 3.

When there is a double root, this is one of the turning points of a cubic function.

A LEVEL LINKS

Scheme of work: 1e. Graphs – cubic, quartic and reciprocal

Key points

The graph of a cubic function,

which can be written in the

form y = ax3 + bx2 + cx + d,

where a ≠ 0, has one of the

shapes shown here.

The graph of a reciprocal

a

function of the form y has

x

one of the shapes shown here.

To sketch the graph of a function, find the points where the graph intersects the axes.

To find where the curve intersects the y-axis substitute x = 0 into the function.

To find where the curve intersects the x-axis substitute y = 0 into the function.

Where appropriate, mark and label the asymptotes on the graph.

Asymptotes are lines (usually horizontal or vertical) which the curve gets closer to but never

touches or crosses. Asymptotes usually occur with reciprocal functions. For example, the

a

asymptotes for the graph of y are the two axes (the lines y = 0 and x = 0).

x

At the turning points of a graph the gradient of the curve is 0 and any tangents to the curve at

these points are horizontal.

A double root is when two of the solutions are equal. For example (x – 3)2(x + 2) has a

double root at x = 3.

When there is a double root, this is one of the turning points of a cubic function.

2.
Example 1 Sketch the graph of y = (x − 3)(x − 1)(x + 2)

To sketch a cubic curve find intersects with both axes and use the key points above

for the correct shape.

When x = 0, y = (0 − 3)(0 − 1)(0 + 2) 1 Find where the graph intersects the

= (−3) × (−1) × 2 = 6 axes by substituting x = 0 and y = 0.

The graph intersects the y-axis at (0, 6) Make sure you get the coordinates

the right way around, (x, y).

When y = 0, (x − 3)(x − 1)(x + 2) = 0 2 Solve the equation by solving

So x = 3, x = 1 or x = −2 x − 3 = 0, x − 1 = 0 and x + 2 = 0

The graph intersects the x-axis at

(−2, 0), (1, 0) and (3, 0)

3 Sketch the graph.

a = 1 > 0 so the graph has the shape:

Example 2 Sketch the graph of y = (x + 2)2(x − 1)

To sketch a cubic curve find intersects with both axes and use the key points above

for the correct shape.

When x = 0, y = (0 + 2)2(0 − 1) 1 Find where the graph intersects the

= 22 × (−1) = −4 axes by substituting x = 0 and y = 0.

The graph intersects the y-axis at (0, −4)

When y = 0, (x + 2)2(x − 1) = 0 2 Solve the equation by solving

So x = −2 or x =1 x + 2 = 0 and x − 1 = 0

(−2, 0) is a turning point as x = −2 is a

double root.

The graph crosses the x-axis at (1, 0)

3 a = 1 > 0 so the graph has the shape:

To sketch a cubic curve find intersects with both axes and use the key points above

for the correct shape.

When x = 0, y = (0 − 3)(0 − 1)(0 + 2) 1 Find where the graph intersects the

= (−3) × (−1) × 2 = 6 axes by substituting x = 0 and y = 0.

The graph intersects the y-axis at (0, 6) Make sure you get the coordinates

the right way around, (x, y).

When y = 0, (x − 3)(x − 1)(x + 2) = 0 2 Solve the equation by solving

So x = 3, x = 1 or x = −2 x − 3 = 0, x − 1 = 0 and x + 2 = 0

The graph intersects the x-axis at

(−2, 0), (1, 0) and (3, 0)

3 Sketch the graph.

a = 1 > 0 so the graph has the shape:

Example 2 Sketch the graph of y = (x + 2)2(x − 1)

To sketch a cubic curve find intersects with both axes and use the key points above

for the correct shape.

When x = 0, y = (0 + 2)2(0 − 1) 1 Find where the graph intersects the

= 22 × (−1) = −4 axes by substituting x = 0 and y = 0.

The graph intersects the y-axis at (0, −4)

When y = 0, (x + 2)2(x − 1) = 0 2 Solve the equation by solving

So x = −2 or x =1 x + 2 = 0 and x − 1 = 0

(−2, 0) is a turning point as x = −2 is a

double root.

The graph crosses the x-axis at (1, 0)

3 a = 1 > 0 so the graph has the shape:

3.
1 Here are six equations.

Hint

5

A y B y = x + 3x – 10

2

C 3

y = x + 3x 2

x Find where each

D y = 1 – 3x2 – x3 E y = x – 3x – 1

3 2

F x+y=5 of the cubic

equations cross

the y-axis.

Here are six graphs.

i ii iii

iv v vi

a Match each graph to its equation.

b Copy the graphs ii, iv and vi and draw the tangent and normal each at point P.

Sketch the following graphs

2 y = 2x3 3 y = x(x – 2)(x + 2)

4 y = (x + 1)(x + 4)(x – 3) 5 y = (x + 1)(x – 2)(1 – x)

6 y = (x – 3)2(x + 1) 7 y = (x – 1)2(x – 2)

3 2

8 y= Hint: Look at the shape of y =

a 9 y=

x x x

in the second key point.

1 1

10 Sketch the graph of y 11 Sketch the graph of y

x2 x 1

Hint

5

A y B y = x + 3x – 10

2

C 3

y = x + 3x 2

x Find where each

D y = 1 – 3x2 – x3 E y = x – 3x – 1

3 2

F x+y=5 of the cubic

equations cross

the y-axis.

Here are six graphs.

i ii iii

iv v vi

a Match each graph to its equation.

b Copy the graphs ii, iv and vi and draw the tangent and normal each at point P.

Sketch the following graphs

2 y = 2x3 3 y = x(x – 2)(x + 2)

4 y = (x + 1)(x + 4)(x – 3) 5 y = (x + 1)(x – 2)(1 – x)

6 y = (x – 3)2(x + 1) 7 y = (x – 1)2(x – 2)

3 2

8 y= Hint: Look at the shape of y =

a 9 y=

x x x

in the second key point.

1 1

10 Sketch the graph of y 11 Sketch the graph of y

x2 x 1

4.
1 a i–C

ii – E

iii – B

iv – A

v–F

vi – D

b ii iv

vi

2 3

4 5

ii – E

iii – B

iv – A

v–F

vi – D

b ii iv

vi

2 3

4 5

5.
6 7

8 9 y

O x

10 11

8 9 y

O x

10 11