Differentiation rules and Integration Tips

Differentiation and integration are fundamental concepts in calculus. In A-level mathematics exams, understanding these concepts and their applications is crucial. Here are the equations for differentiation and integration, along with key points to remember:


Rules and Formulas

Differentiation formulas

Differentiation formulas

Key Points for A-level Differentiation:

Power Rule: Differentiating x^n with respect to x results in nx^(n-1). For example, d/dx[x^3] = 3x^2.

Sum and Difference Rule: The derivative of the sum or difference of two functions is the sum or difference of their derivatives. For example, if u(x) and v(x) are functions, then d/dx[u(x) + v(x)] = u'(x) + v'(x).

Product Rule: Differentiating the product of two functions, u(x) and v(x), requires using the product rule: (u(x)v(x))’ = u'(x)v(x) + u(x)v'(x).

Quotient Rule: For the derivative of u(x)/v(x), you can use the quotient rule: [u(x)/v(x)]’ = [u'(x)v(x) – u(x)v'(x)] / [v(x)]^2.

Chain Rule: When dealing with composite functions (e.g., g(f(x))), you can use the chain rule: [g(f(x))] = g'(f(x)) * f'(x).

Trigonometric Functions: Know the derivatives of trigonometric functions like sin(x), cos(x), tan(x), etc. For example, d/dx[sin(x)] = cos(x).


Integration represents the accumulation or sum of quantities and is often used to find areas, volumes, and the antiderivative of a function. It is simply the opposite of differentiation.

Key Points for A-level Integration:

Power Rule for Integration: The integral of x^n with respect to x is (1/n+1) * x^(n+1) + C, where C is the constant of integration. For example, ∫x^2 dx = (1/3) * x^3 + C.

Constant Multiple Rule: You can factor constants out of integrals. For example, ∫(3x^2) dx = 3 * ∫x^2 dx.

Sum Rule: The integral of the sum of two functions is the sum of their integrals. For example, ∫(f(x) + g(x)) dx = ∫f(x) dx + ∫g(x) dx.

Definite Integrals: When you have limits of integration, you find the area under the curve between those limits. The result is a number, not a function. For example, ∫[a to b] f(x) dx represents the area under the curve of f(x) from x = a to x = b.

Integration by Parts: Integration by parts is a technique for integrating the product of two functions. It’s based on the formula ∫u dv = uv – ∫v du.

Trigonometric Integrals: Be familiar with the integrals of trigonometric functions, such as ∫sin(x) dx = -cos(x) + C.

Exponential and Logarithmic Integrals: Understand how to integrate exponential and logarithmic functions.


Remember that practice is key to mastering differentiation and integration. Work through a variety of problems, and don’t forget to check your answers by differentiating the result of integration and vice versa.


Given the algorithmic nature of both differentiation and integration the best tip to study them is to be certain of the above rules and do not give up! Practice, practice and practice!

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