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Graphing Exponential Functions

  1. Jul 3, 2011 #1
    I can't seem to understand the procedure, can anyone post any links to a useful tutorial? I took it this year and it was the only thing I didn't understand, 3 questions about it came in my maths final and I got an 82 (I got everything else right but I made a small calculation mistake in a question involving trig in space), and since I plan on taking AP calculus next year I want to understand the concept.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 3, 2011 #2


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    Homework Helper

    There's a limited amount you can do by hand. The most important part of graphing something like y = a^x (a>1) is to notice that:

    1) It's monotone increasing
    2) It has a horizontal asymptote at y = 0 as x approaches -inf
    3) A y-intercept of y = 1
    4) The graph gradually gets steeper the farther right you go.
    5) The "steepness" depends on a. Larger a means that graph approaches infinity much faster

    As far as wanting more detail than this, pick easy values to calculate. e.g.

    y = 2^x

    x y
    1 2
    2 4
    3 8
    4 16

    If a is not an integer, just plug in a few values in your calculator and graph it that way.

    edit: fixed bullet 3
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2011
  4. Jul 6, 2011 #3
    Thank you for the help, I now have a better understanding of the concept and I will solve some exercises to perfect my technique.
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