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17Calculus Infinite Series - Convergence Value

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Single Variable Calculus
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With most series, you will be asked only to determine if the series converges or diverges. However, you will encounter some series where you are asked to determine the value that the series converges to.

So, how do you know if you can determine that value or not? There are two types of series where it is possible to determine the convergence value.

Geometric Series - If you can get your series into the form of a geometric series, then you can determine the convergence value and the convergence interval. This is the technique used for determining power series.

Telescoping Series - With telescoping series, your series must already be a telescoping series in order to determine the convergence value. This technique usually involves writing out several terms to determine if any terms cancel. Then taking the limit of the remaining terms.

NOT The Integral Test - One thing that confuses some people while they are learning infinite series techniques is what to do with the result of the integral test. If you use the integral test and you get a finite value, the significance of that value is only that it is finite. The value is NOT what the series converges to.

IMPORTANT!
When determining only convergence or divergence of an infinite series, the starting value of n does not matter, i.e. whether your series starts with zero, one or any other number, the convergence or divergence is not changed. HOWEVER, when you talk about what a series converges to, you must take into account the starting value. So watch that carefully. Some teachers will put a series on the homework or exam that is familiar but then they will change the starting value just to see if you are paying attention.

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