Summary and Main Ideas


  • The limit of a function exists and is equal to \(L\) if the values of \(f(x)\) get closer to \(L\) from both sides as \(x\) gets closer to \(a\).

    \[\lim_{x\to a} f(x) = L\]

  • Average gradient or average rate of change:

    \[\text{Average gradient } = \cfrac{f(x+h)-f(x)}{h}\]

  • Gradient at a point or instantaneous rate of change:

    \[f'(x) = \lim_{h\to 0}\cfrac{f(x+h)-f(x)}{h}\]

  • Notation


  • Differentiating from first principles:

    \[f'(x) = \lim_{h\to 0}\cfrac{f(x+h)-f(x)}{h}\]

  • Rules for differentiation:

    • General rule for differentiation:

      \[\cfrac{d}{dx}[{x}^{n}]=n{x}^{n-1}, \text{ where } n \in \mathbb{R} \text{ and } n \ne 0.\]

    • The derivative of a constant is equal to zero.

      \[\cfrac{d}{dx}[k]= 0\]

    • The derivative of a constant multiplied by a function is equal to the constant multiplied by the derivative of the function.

      \[\cfrac{d}{dx}[k \cdot f(x) ]=k \cfrac{d}{dx}[ f(x) ]\]

    • The derivative of a sum is equal to the sum of the derivatives.

      \[\cfrac{d}{dx}[f(x)+g(x)]=\cfrac{d}{dx}[f(x) ] + \cfrac{d}{dx}[g(x)]\]

    • The derivative of a difference is equal to the difference of the derivatives.

      \[\cfrac{d}{dx}[f(x) – g(x)]=\cfrac{d}{dx}[f(x) ] – \cfrac{d}{dx}[g(x)]\]

  • Second derivative:

    \[f”(x) = \cfrac{d}{dx}[f'(x)]\]

  • Sketching graphs:

    The gradient of the curve and the tangent to the curve at stationary points is zero.

    Finding the stationary points: let \(f'(x) = 0\) and solve for \(x\).

    A stationary point can either be a local maximum, a local minimum or a point of inflection.

  • Optimisation problems:

    Use the given information to formulate an expression that contains only one variable.

    Differentiate the expression, let the derivative equal zero and solve the equation.

[Attributions and Licenses]

This is a lesson from the tutorial, Differential Calculus and you are encouraged to log in or register, so that you can track your progress.

Log In

Share Thoughts