# Learning to Complete the Square

I remember learning how to “complete the square” as a teenager and I did what most students do, I memorized the steps. I was pretty good at memorization, so I got by.

## But first, pick your poison!

Before we jump into the math, I’m going to give you two options 😉

I haven’t talked about quadratics much in this series, but I really wanted to cover this topic so I’m going to assume you know quadratics are algebraic equations where the term with the highest power is 2.

# Typical Instructions for Completing the Square

I could show you an example of how to complete the square by following these instructions, but honestly how much of these steps will you remember?

• Subtract the constant to the other side.
• Take half of the x terms coefficient, square it and add to both sides.
• Factor the trinomial into a binomial squared.
• Take the square root of both sides (including a plus or minus sign).
• Finish solving for X and simplify the answer, if needed.

# A Different Approach

Instead let’s use an area model to visualize how to complete the square of the following equation:

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## More from Math Hacks

Tutorials with a fresh perspective.