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a 1 = 2 a 2 = ( 2 4 ) = 8 a 3 = ( 8 4 ) = 32 a 4 = ( 32 4 ) 128

The first four terms are { –2 –8 –32 –128 } .

Given the first term and the common factor, find the first four terms of a geometric sequence.

  1. Multiply the initial term, a 1 , by the common ratio to find the next term, a 2 .
  2. Repeat the process, using a n = a 2 to find a 3 and then a 3 to find a 4, until all four terms have been identified.
  3. Write the terms separated by commons within brackets.

Writing the terms of a geometric sequence

List the first four terms of the geometric sequence with a 1 = 5 and r = –2.

Multiply a 1 by 2 to find a 2 . Repeat the process, using a 2 to find a 3 , and so on.

a 1 = 5 a 2 = 2 a 1 = 10 a 3 = 2 a 2 = 20 a 4 = 2 a 3 = 40

The first four terms are { 5 , –10 , 20 , –40 } .

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List the first five terms of the geometric sequence with a 1 = 18 and r = 1 3 .

{ 18 , 6 , 2 , 2 3 , 2 9 }

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Using recursive formulas for geometric sequences

A recursive formula    allows us to find any term of a geometric sequence by using the previous term. Each term is the product of the common ratio and the previous term. For example, suppose the common ratio is 9. Then each term is nine times the previous term. As with any recursive formula, the initial term must be given.

Recursive formula for a geometric sequence

The recursive formula for a geometric sequence with common ratio r and first term a 1 is

a n = r a n 1 , n 2

Given the first several terms of a geometric sequence, write its recursive formula.

  1. State the initial term.
  2. Find the common ratio by dividing any term by the preceding term.
  3. Substitute the common ratio into the recursive formula for a geometric sequence.

Using recursive formulas for geometric sequences

Write a recursive formula for the following geometric sequence.

{ 6 9 13.5 20.25 ... }

The first term is given as 6. The common ratio can be found by dividing the second term by the first term.

r = 9 6 = 1.5

Substitute the common ratio into the recursive formula for geometric sequences and define a 1 .

a n = r a n 1 a n = 1.5 a n 1  for  n 2 a 1 = 6
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Do we have to divide the second term by the first term to find the common ratio?

No. We can divide any term in the sequence by the previous term. It is, however, most common to divide the second term by the first term because it is often the easiest method of finding the common ratio.

Write a recursive formula for the following geometric sequence.

{ 2 4 3 8 9 16 27 ... }

a 1 = 2 a n = 2 3 a n 1  for  n 2

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Using explicit formulas for geometric sequences

Because a geometric sequence is an exponential function whose domain is the set of positive integers, and the common ratio is the base of the function, we can write explicit formulas that allow us to find particular terms.

a n = a 1 r n 1

Let’s take a look at the sequence { 18 36 72 144 288 ... } . This is a geometric sequence with a common ratio of 2 and an exponential function with a base of 2. An explicit formula for this sequence is

a n = 18 · 2 n 1

The graph of the sequence is shown in [link] .

Graph of the geometric sequence.

Explicit formula for a geometric sequence

The n th term of a geometric sequence is given by the explicit formula    :

a n = a 1 r n 1

Writing terms of geometric sequences using the explicit formula

Given a geometric sequence with a 1 = 3 and a 4 = 24 , find a 2 .

The sequence can be written in terms of the initial term and the common ratio r .

3 , 3 r , 3 r 2 , 3 r 3 , ...

Find the common ratio using the given fourth term.

a n = a 1 r n 1 a 4 = 3 r 3 Write the fourth term of sequence in terms of  α 1 and  r 24 = 3 r 3 Substitute  24  for a 4 8 = r 3 Divide r = 2 Solve for the common ratio

Find the second term by multiplying the first term by the common ratio.

a 2 = 2 a 1 = 2 ( 3 ) = 6
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Questions & Answers

For each year t, the population of a forest of trees is represented by the function A(t) = 117(1.029)t. In a neighboring forest, the population of the same type of tree is represented by the function B(t) = 86(1.025)t.
Shakeena Reply
by how many trees did forest "A" have a greater number?
Shakeena
32.243
Kenard
how solve standard form of polar
Rhudy Reply
what is a complex number used for?
Drew Reply
It's just like any other number. The important thing to know is that they exist and can be used in computations like any number.
Steve
I would like to add that they are used in AC signal analysis for one thing
Scott
Good call Scott. Also radar signals I believe.
Steve
Is there any rule we can use to get the nth term ?
Anwar Reply
how do you get the (1.4427)^t in the carp problem?
Gabrielle Reply
A hedge is contrusted to be in the shape of hyperbola near a fountain at the center of yard.the hedge will follow the asymptotes y=x and y=-x and closest distance near the distance to the centre fountain at 5 yards find the eqution of the hyperbola
ayesha Reply
A doctor prescribes 125 milligrams of a therapeutic drug that decays by about 30% each hour. To the nearest hour, what is the half-life of the drug?
Sandra Reply
Find the domain of the function in interval or inequality notation f(x)=4-9x+3x^2
prince Reply
hello
Jessica Reply
Outside temperatures over the course of a day can be modeled as a sinusoidal function. Suppose the high temperature of ?105°F??105°F? occurs at 5PM and the average temperature for the day is ?85°F.??85°F.? Find the temperature, to the nearest degree, at 9AM.
Karlee Reply
if you have the amplitude and the period and the phase shift ho would you know where to start and where to end?
Jean Reply
rotation by 80 of (x^2/9)-(y^2/16)=1
Garrett Reply
thanks the domain is good but a i would like to get some other examples of how to find the range of a function
bashiir Reply
what is the standard form if the focus is at (0,2) ?
Lorejean Reply
a²=4
Roy Reply
Practice Key Terms 2

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Source:  OpenStax, Precalculus. OpenStax CNX. Jan 19, 2016 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11667/1.6
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