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# Series Strategies and Tests for Convergence

## Test Name When to Use Details

Known Series Geometric When you recognize that the terms a
are a constant raised to some power converges to if r < 1

1 r
arn
n =0 diverges if r > 1

Known Series p series When you recognize that the terms

converges when p > 1
1
are
1
n
raised to a constant power. p
n =1 n
diverges when p 1
Limit test (Bouncer test) If you can easily see how the a n ' s If lim n a n 0 , the series diverges.
behave as a sequence. If lim n a n = 0 , the test is inconclusive.
Alternating Series Test When the series is alternating. Given (1) n bn :
Usually, youll see a (1) n , (1) n 1 , IF:
or (1) n +1 . Sometimes youll see a 1. bn > 0 for all n AND
2n 1 2. bn +1 > bn for all n AND
sin or a cos(n )
2 3. lim n bn = 0
THEN the series converges.

## Series Tests for Convergence, Page 1/3

Test Name When to Use Details
Absolute Convergence When some terms of the series are
positive, and some are negative, but
IF a n converges, then a n converges (and we say that

n

n

## Ratio Test When you see factorials < 1, converges (absolutely)

Sometimes, when you see terms to
the nth power. a
Do Not Use for rational or algebraic IF lim n n+1 > 1, diverges
an
functions of n (the test will always

come out inconclusive) = 1, the test is inconclusive
Root Test When the terms are something < 1, converges (absolutely)
raised to the nth power.

IF lim n n a n > 1, diverges

= 1, the test is inconclusive
Comparison Test Rational or algebraic functions of n.
Usually compare to a p-series
Can only use when the series a n and b n have positive
terms!!
Suppose a n bn for each n.
IF b converges, then so does a
n n .
IF a diverges, then so does b
n n .

## Series Tests for Convergence, Page 2/3

Test Name When to Use Details
Limit Comparison Test Use for comparison when the
comparison test is too vexing.
Can only use when the series a n and b n have positive
terms!!

IF
an
lim n = L AND
bn
L0 AND
L
THEN a n and bn behave the same way.
Integral Test If the integral is easy to evaluate. IF

a n = f (n) AND
n=r n=r
f ( x) is continuous on [r , ) AND
f ( x) > 0 on [r , ) AND
f ( x) is decreasing on [r , ) ,
THEN

n =r
f ( x)dx .
r