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Series Tests

1. The test for divergence: If lim an 0 then the series a n diverges. Always use this test first.
n
n =1


2. The integral test: If a dx = L then the series a
1 x
n =1
n converges. If a dx L then the series
1 x

a
n =1
n diverges. Use this if it is easy to integrate an .

k
3. The p-series test. If an = p use this test. If p 1 the series
n
a
n =1
n diverges. If p > 1 the series

a
n =1
n converges.

4. The comparison test. If b
n =1
n is a known convergent series and a
n =1
n < b
n =1
n then the series

converges. If b
n =1
n is a known divergent series and a
n =1
n > b
n =1
n then the series diverges. If

a
n =1
n can be compared to a series that is known to converge or diverge then use this test.
bn
5. Limit comparison test. If lim = C where C is a finite number and C > 0 then both series
n an

converge or diverge. Use this if you can compare a
n =1
n to a series but you cant tell if the
series is greater or smaller than the compared series.

( -1) an = 0
n -1
6. Alternating series test. If an (an alternating series) where an+1 an and lim
n
n =1
then the series converges. Use this for alternating series.
an+1 a
7. Ratio Test. If lim < 1 the series is absolutely convergent. If lim n+1 > 1 the series is
n a n a
n n

an+1
divergent. If lim = 1 then you need more tests. Use this test if the others arent obvious or
n an
if an contains a mixture of factorials, geometric, and p-series.
n a = L <1
8. n root test : If lim
th
n
n then the series is absolutely convergent. If
lim n an = L > 1 or lim n an = then the series diverges. Use this if your general term is in the
n n

form of ( an ) .
n