# Straightforward differentiation, but think I have wrong sign somewhere

• phyzmatix
In summary, straightforward differentiation involves finding the derivative of a function using basic differentiation rules. To check for the wrong sign in differentiation, you can compare the sign of your answer to the sign of the original function at a given point. Common mistakes in differentiation include forgetting to apply the chain rule, mixing up terms in the product rule, and making arithmetic errors. While calculators can be used for differentiation, it is important to have a solid understanding of the rules and concepts. To improve differentiation skills, regular practice, reviewing basic rules, and seeking help from a tutor or study group can be beneficial.
phyzmatix
1. Homework Statement , attempt at a solution

Please see attached. I'm actually busy with a physics problem, but solving it requires that I complete this part correctly. It's straightforward differentiation, but I think I made an error with my signs somewhere and I can't for the life of me find where...

Any pointers? (I believe this is going to be one of those *doh* situations )
phyz

#### Attachments

• Question and Attempted Solution.pdf
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There's nothing wrong. The quantity in brackets in the last line is in fact zero. Don't forget:

$$x\cdot x^{-7/2}=x^{1-7/2}=x^{-5/2}$$

You see...*DOH!*

Thanks for the help!

## 1. What is straightforward differentiation?

Straightforward differentiation refers to the process of finding the derivative of a function by using basic differentiation rules, such as the power rule, product rule, and chain rule.

## 2. How do I know if I have the wrong sign in my differentiation?

If you are unsure whether you have the correct sign in your differentiation, you can check your work by plugging in a value for x and comparing the sign of your answer to the sign of the original function at that point. If they are opposite, then you may have the wrong sign in your differentiation.

## 3. What are some common mistakes when differentiating?

Some common mistakes when differentiating include forgetting to apply the chain rule, mixing up the order of terms when using the product rule, and making arithmetic errors. It is important to double check your work and practice regularly to avoid these mistakes.

## 4. Can I use a calculator to differentiate?

Yes, most scientific calculators have a built-in differentiation function that can be used to find derivatives. However, it is important to understand the basic differentiation rules and concepts rather than relying solely on a calculator.

## 5. How can I improve my differentiation skills?

The best way to improve your differentiation skills is to practice regularly. Start with simple functions and gradually move on to more complex ones. It can also be helpful to review the basic differentiation rules and their applications. Seeking help from a tutor or joining a study group can also aid in improving your skills.

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