Brilliant: A Problem Solving and Competition App

Last September, I have posted about MathCounts Trainer, a math competition app for iOS devices. In this post, I am going to introduce to you Brilliant, another math competition app which is both available in iOS and Android devices.

brilliant

Brilliant is an app created by Brilliant.org intended to train users for problem solving, test preparation, and mathematics and science competitions. It has a wide range of problems in terms of difficulty ranging from basic concepts to Olympiad level. It includes problems in Basic Math, Algebra, Geometry, Calculus, SAT, JEE, Physics, Computer Science, and Quantitative Finance.

In Brilliant, you can select the subject that you want to learn and choose the topic or level you want to study. It contains thousands of problems created by a community of mathematicians and scientists. Users of this app can participate in discussions, follow other members, and learn from the community.

Simon’s Favorite Factoring Trick

Hmmm... I didn't know Simon was that good in math.

When I was quite younger, one of my hobbies was joining internet forums (fora?) on problem solving. I was not really good at it, so my role was only to ask questions. One of the internet forums I joined was the Art of Problem Solving math forum.

Art of Problem Solving (AOPS) is a community of problem solvers dedicated for math competitions – probably the best place on the web to ask hard (and very hard)  math questions. One of the tricks I learned there was Simon’s Favorite Factoring Trick (SFFT), a factorization technique popularized by one AOPS member. The general strategy (see example 3)  of SFFT is to add a constant or variable to an expression to make it factorable. This strategy can also be named as “completing rectangle” in analogy with “completing the square.”  Continue reading

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