This App will help you to avoid any unwanted slip-ups in the exam. Although most of the reminders are common sense, but from the evidence students still need reminding of them. Read through the tips and take note of the most relevant ones before tackling your exam.

# Arithmetic and Geometric Progressions

If you have the sequence 2, 8, 14, 20, 26, then each term is 6 more than the previous term. This is an example of an **arithmetic progression (AP)** and the constant value that defines the difference between any two consecutive terms is called the **common difference**.

If an arithmetic difference has a first term **a** and a common difference of **d**, then we can write

**a, (a + d), (a + 2d),... {a + (n-1) d}**

where the **n ^{th} term = a + (n−1)d**

**Sum of Arithmetic series**

The sum of an arithmetic series of **n** terms is found by making n/2 pairs each with the value of the sum of the first and last term. *(Try this with the sum of the first 10 integers, by making 5 pairs of 11.)*

**This gives us the formula:**

where *a* = first term and *l* = last term.

As the last term is the n^{th} term = a + (n − 1)d we can rewrite this as:

(Use the first formula if you know the first and last terms; use the second if you know the first term and the common difference.)

If you have a sequence such as: **81, 27, 9, 3, 1, 1/3, 1/9,...** then each term is one third of the term before.

This can be written as **81, 81(1/3), 81(1/3) ^{2}, 81(1/3)^{3}, 81(1/3)^{4},...**

It is an example of a **Geometric Progression (GP)** where the each term is a multiple of the previous one. The multiplying factor is called the **common ratio**.

So a GP with a first term **a** and a common ratio **r** with **n** terms, can be stated as

a, ar, ar^{2}, ar^{3}, ar^{4}...ar^{n-1} , **where the n ^{th} term = ar^{n-1}**

*Example:*

In the sequence, 400, 200, 100, 50,... find the 8^{th} term.

a = 400, r = 0.5 and so the 8^{th} term = 400 × 0.5^{7} = 3.125

**Note:** To find which term has a certain value you will need to use **logarithms**.

*Example:*

**In the sequence, 2, 6, 18, 54 ... which is the first term to exceed 1,000,000?**

a = 2, r = 3.

2 × 3^{n-1} > 1,000,000

3^{n-1} > 500000

(n − 1) log 3 > log 500000

n > 12.94

Therefore:

n = 13

*Example:*

**In the earlier sequence, 400, 200, 100, 50 ... which is the first term that is less than 1?**

400 × 0.5^{(n-1]} < 1

0.5^{(n-1)} < 0.0025

(n-1) log 0.5 < log 0.0025

Therefore:

n > 9, or n = 10

**Note:** The inequality sign changed because we divided by a negative (log 0.5 < 0)

**Sum of Geometric series**

The sum of the terms can be written in two ways.

where a = first term, r = common ratio and r ≠ 1.

(use this formula when r < 1).

*Example:*

Evaluate,

(**Note:** there are 9 terms.)

The first term is when n = 2

(i.e 2.36^{2} = 5.5696)

Using the formula for the sum of a geometric progression gives:

which is approximately 9300 (to 3 s.f.).

**Convergence**

**The sum of an infinite series exists if:**

-1 < r < 1 or | r | < 1

This is because each successive term is getting smaller and so the series will tend towards a certain limit. This limit is found using the second of our two formulae:

If | r | < 1 then as n → ∞, r^{n} → 0

and so:

*Example:*

the series 1/3 + (1/3)^{2} + (1/3)^{3} + (1/3)^{4} + ... converges and its sum is 1 as n approaches ∞.

(A sequence such as n^{3} has the first 6 terms as 1 + 8 + 27 + 64 + 125 + 216. As n approaches infinity, the sum also increases. Therefore, it is not convergent. This series is **divergent**.

Every AP has a sum that approaches infinity as n increases, so every AP is divergent.)

*Example*

Find 1 - 1/2 + 1/4 - 1/8 + ...

1 - 1/2 + 1/4 - 1/8 + ... = 1 + (-1/2) + (-1/2)^{2} + (-1/2)^{3} + ...

This is a geometric progression where r = -½, so | r | < 1.

Therefore this series converges to:

Two final pieces of information that may be useful:

**Arithmetic mean**

The **arithmetic mean** of two numbers m and n is given by:

**Arithmetic mean** = ½(m+n)

This is the way of finding a missing term in between two known terms.

*Example:*

The 4^{th} term of an AP is 14, the 6^{th} term is 22. The 5^{th} term will be the **Arithmetic Mean** of these two values.

i.e. (14 + 22)/2 = 18 (here d = 4 and a = 2).

**Geometric mean**

The **geometric mean** of two numbers m and n is given by:

**Geometric mean** = √(mn)

This represents the value between two others in a GP.

*Example:*

The 7^{th} term of a GP is 6, the 9^{th} is 1.5. The 8^{th} term is:

√(6×1.5) = √9 = 3

Here r = 0.5 and a = 384.