I haven't been able to get a very clear answer on this. In the exercise that I performed to find the Characteristic Polynomial of a given Matrix, I used the determinant of $(\lambda I-A)$ to find the answer.
I don't actually attend any courses or do anything that requires me to solve these problems, or even presents them to me regularly. My solving this problem is a result of me asking my friend who is in a college math course for his homework, because I'm personally interested in learning more about math. As such, I have to study the problems he gives me on my own, and can only use the internet, for the most part, in order to get the knowledge I need to solve them. While looking for the definition of 'Characteristic Polynomial', this website defines a Characteristic Polynomial as "If $A$ is an $n\times n$ matrix, then the Characteristic Polynomial of $A$ is the function $f(\lambda )=\det(\lambda I−A)$". A few other resources I found also say this, while others say that it is the determinant of $(A-\lambda I)$.
I solved the problem, which, yes, did use an $n\times n$ Matrix ($3\times 3$ to be specific), using the former equation of $(\lambda I-A)$, and I presented the solution to my friend. He concurred, and we decided that was our answer, however when he entered it into whatever website assigns him his homework, it said that we were incorrect. We thought about it for a while, and even looked to see if the issue was that we hadn't simplified the problem properly, but everything checked out (I initially read $[\lambda I-A]$ as the correct determinant, so in my head, I didn't realize that some other websites used the inverse, and didn't think to try that). Eventually, we both gave up, and I used an online calculator to solve it, and was presented with an answer achieved by using $(A-\lambda I)$. We put that in to the website, and sure enough it was correct.
This causes some concern with me. Is $(A-\lambda I)$ always used to find the Characteristic Polynomial? How am I to remember that it is this way, and not the other? Why do we choose to define the Characteristic Polynomial as one determinant over the other? Is the website that I cited outright incorrect, and thus should be considered disreputed, or is there something unique that I fail to understand regarding certain Matrices and their polynomials?