The Mean Value Theorem and Its Consequences

Read this section to learn about the Mean Value Theorem and its consequences. Work through practice problems 1-3.


If you averaged 30 miles per hour during a trip, then at some instant during the trip you were traveling exactly 30 miles per hour.

That relatively obvious statement is the Mean Value Theorem as it applies to a particular trip. It may seem strange that such a simple statement would be important or useful to anyone, but the Mean Value Theorem is important and some of its consequences are very useful for people in a variety of areas. Many of the results in the rest of this chapter depend on the Mean Value Theorem, and one of the corollaries of the Mean Value Theorem will be used every time we calculate an "integral" in later chapters. A truly delightful aspect of mathematics is that an idea as simple and obvious as the Mean Value Theorem can be so powerful.

Before we state and prove the Mean Value Theorem and examine some of its consequences, we will consider a simplified version called Rolle's Theorem.

Source: Dale Hoffman,
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