**Expanding brackets**, or **multiplying out**, involves multiplying every term inside the bracket by the term on the outside and then collecting like terms with the aim of removing the set of brackets. Expanding brackets is often an important step in solving equations and is the opposite process to factorisation.

The formula for expanding a single bracket is \[a(b+c) = ab + ac\]

The formula for expanding a double bracket is \[(a+b)(c+d) = a(c+d)+b(c+d)=ac + ad + bc + bd\]

This last formula for the product is often referred to as the **FOIL** method: Multiply the **F**irst terms, **O**utside terms, **I**nside terms, **L**ast terms. $a$ and $c$ are the first terms, $a$ and $d$ are the outside terms, $b$ and $c$ are the inside terms and $b$ and $d$ are the last terms.

**Note:** The process of removing brackets is the same as the distributive law.

Expand $2x(xy-3x^2)$.

Start by multiplying $2x$ by the first term inside the bracket, then by the second. \[2x(xy-3x^2) = 2x \times xy-2x\times 3x^2=2x^2y - 6x^3\]

Expand $(3x-4)(8-2x)$.

Start by multiplying $3x$ by $8$ and $-2x$, then multiply $-4$ by $8$ and $-2x$. \begin{align} (3x-4)(8-2x)&= 3x(8-2x)-4(8-2x)\\ &=24x -6x^2 -32 +8x\\ &=32x -6x^2-32 \end{align}

Factorization involves writing an expression as a product of factors. It is the opposite process of expanding brackets. A good way of checking if you have factorised an expression correctly is therefore to expand the brackets.

Factorise the following where possible:

**a)** $2x+4y$

**b)** $2x+4xy$

**c)** $-4a+19abc$

**d)** $16xyz+x+8xy$

**a)** Both of the terms in this expression have a common factor of $2$. We can therefore bring this factor outside brackets as follows: \[2x+4xy=2(x+2xy)\]

**b)** Both of the terms in this expression have a common factor of $2x$ so we can factorise it as: \[2x+4xy=2x(1+2y)\]

**c)** The terms in this expression have a common factor of $a$ so we have: \[-4a+19abc=a(19bc-4)\]

**c)** All of the terms in this expression have a common factor of $x$ so we have: \[16xyz+x+8xy=x(16yz+1+8y)\]

Prof. Robin Johnson expands the expression $x(2x-1)(2-x)$.

Prof. Robin Johson expands the expression $(x-y)(x+y)$ and talks about the *difference of two squares*, which comes into use when factorising.

This workbook produced by HELM is a good revision aid, containing key points for revision and many worked examples.

Test yourself: Numbas test on expanding brackets

Test yourself: Numbas test on Algebraic Manipulation

- Expanding and removing brackets workbook at mathcentre.
- Expanding brackets quick workbook at mathcentre.
- Factorising simple expressions resources at mathcentre.