We have been studying polynomials from a very young age.
When we were first told about variables and expressions, we were simply dealing with polynomials.
For example, if Mathew has \(x\) pencils and if John has 2 more pencils than Mathew, then John must have \(x + 2\) pencils.
\(x + 2\) is a polynomial.
But do you know that polynomials can be classified into different types?
For example, Mathew has \(x\) pencils, which is a monomial and John has \(x+2\) pencils, which is a binomial.
In this minilesson, we will explore the world of polynomials by learning about different types of polynomials through interesting simulations, some solved examples, and a few interactive questions for you to test your understanding.
Let's begin!
Lesson Plan
What Are Polynomials?
Polynomials are expressions with one or more terms having a nonzero coefficient.
These terms comprise variables, exponents, and constants.
A standard polynomial is one where the highest degree is the first term, and the subsequent terms are arranged in ascending order based on the powers or the exponents.
Polynomials are classified based on the number of terms present in the expression as a monomial, binomial, and trinomial, which we will see in detail under types of polynomials.
Other terms related to polynomials are constant, coefficient, and degree of the polynomial.
The first term of the polynomial is called the leading term.
The number without any variable is called a constant.
The number preceding a variable is called a coefficient.
The power of the leading term or the highest power of the variable is called the degree of the polynomial.
What Are the Types of Polynomials Based on Degrees?
Based on the degree of the polynomial, polynomials can be classified into 4 major types:
 Zero or Constant polynomial
 Linear polynomial
 Quadratic polynomial
 Cubic polynomial
Look at the table given below to understand the meaning of the types of polynomials with examples.
Type of polynomial  Meaning  Examples 
Zero or constant polynomial  Polynomials with 0 degrees are called zero polynomials. 
\(3\ or\ 3x^0\) \(56\ or\ 56y^0\) \(8\ or\ 8z^0\) 
Linear polynomial  Polynomials with 1 as the degree of the polynomial are called linear polynomials. In linear polynomials, the highest exponent of the variable(s) is 1 
\(x+y4\) \(5m+7n\) \(2p\) 
Quadratic polynomial  Polynomials with 2 as the degree of the polynomial are called quadratic polynomials. 
\(8x^2+7y9\) \(m^2+mn6\) \(2p^27\) 
Cubic polynomial  Polynomials with 3 as the degree of the polynomial are called cubic polynomials. 
\(3x^3\) \(6m^3mn+n^24\) \(p^3+pqr7\) 
 Before learning about the types of polynomials, it is important to learn what do we consider as polynomials.
 Polynomials should have a whole number as the degree. Expressions with negative exponents are not polynomials. For example, \(x^{2}\) is not a polynomial.
 Polynomials do not have variables in their denominator. For example, \(\dfrac{2}{x+2}\) is not a polynomial.
What Are the Types of Polynomials Based on Terms?
There are different types of polynomials. Based on the number of terms, polynomials are classified as:
 Monomials
 Binomials
 Trinomials
A monomial is a polynomial expression that contains only one term.
For example, \(2x + 5x + 10x\) is a monomial because when we add the like terms it results in \(17x\).
Furthermore, \(4t\), \(21x\), \(2y\), \(9pq\) are also monomials.
A binomial is a polynomial with two, unlike terms.
For example, \(3x + 4x^2\) is a binomial as it contains two unlike terms, that is, \(3x\) and \(4x^2\).
Likewise, \(10pq + 13p^2\) is also a binomial.
A trinomial is a polynomial with three, unlike terms.
For example, \(3x + 5x^2 – 6x^3\) is a trinomial.
Likewise, \(12pq + 4x^2 – 10\) is also a trinomial.
We can be classifying polynomials based on the number of terms into 3 types.
But, we can also have more than 3 terms in the polynomials.
Polynomials that have 4 unlike terms are called fourterm polynomials.
Similarly, polynomials with 5 terms are called fiveterm polynomials, and so on.
 In a polynomial, two terms are separated by addition or subtraction sign. Multiplication and division operators are not used to create more terms in a polynomial. For example, we consider \(3\times x\times y\) as one term and \(3x+y\) as two terms in a polynomial.

Based on the terms in a polynomial, it can be classified into the following 3 types:
Monomial
Binomial
Trinomial

Based on the degree of a polynomial, it can be classified into 4 types:
Zero polynomial
Linear polynomial
Quadratic polynomial
Cubic polynomial
Solved Examples
Example 1 
Find the volume of the given cube if the length of each side is \(x\) units.
Also, state the type of polynomial obtained.
Solution
We know that volume of a cube = \((side)^3\)
Here, the sidelength of the square is given as \(x\) units.
Hence, the volume of the given cube = \(x^3\)
\(x^3\) has only one term with degree 3.
\(\therefore\) It is a monomial cubic polynomial.
\(\therefore\) Volume of the given cube = \(x^3\). This is a monomial cubic polynomial. 
Example 2 
Classify the given polynomials.
Solution
There are 5 polynomials given on the board.
Let's classify each one of them.
\(n^3+6\) is a binomial cubic polynomial as the highest exponent (degree of polynomial) with the variable is 3 and there are 2 terms in the polynomial.
\(5x^22xy+1\) is a trinomial quadratic polynomial as the degree is 2 and there are 3 terms in the polynomial.
\(p82\) is a binomial linear polynomial as the degree of the polynomial is 1 and there are 2 terms in the polynomial.
\(2p^2+q11\) is a trinomial quadratic polynomial. The degree of the polynomial is 2 and there are 3 terms present in it.
\(34\) is a monomial zero polynomial as the degree of the polynomial is 0 and there is a single term in the polynomial.
Interactive Questions on Types of Polynomials
Here are a few activities for you to practice. Select/Type your answer and click the "Check Answer" button to see the result.
Let's Summarize
The minilesson targeted the fascinating concept of types of polynomials. The math journey around types of polynomials starts with what a student already knows, and goes on to creatively crafting a fresh concept in the young minds. Done in a way that not only it is relatable and easy to grasp, but also will stay with them forever. Here lies the magic with Cuemath.
About Cuemath
At Cuemath, our team of math experts is dedicated to making learning fun for our favorite readers, the students!
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Be it worksheets, online classes, doubt sessions, or any other form of relation, it’s the logical thinking and smart learning approach that we, at Cuemath, believe in.
FAQs on Types of Polynomials
1. What are the 3 types of polynomials?
Based on the number of terms in a polynomial, there are 3 types:
 Monomial
 Binomial
 Trinomial
2. How do you identify a polynomial?
A polynomial is an expression in which the terms containing coefficients and variables are connected through four basic operators, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
In a polynomial, there should not be any negative number as the exponent of the variable. The variable should not be in the denominator of the polynomial that is in fractional form.
3. How do you classify polynomials?
Polynomials can be classified on the basis of the number of terms and on the basis of the degree of the polynomial.
Based on the number of terms in a polynomial, it can be classified into 3 types:
 Monomial
 Binomial
 Trinomial
Based on the degree of a polynomial, it can be classified into 4 types:
 Zero polynomial
 Linear polynomial
 Quadratic polynomial
 Cubic polynomial