For most students, algebra is among the most challenging math concepts. A common pitfall that such students fail to realize is that it doesn’t have to be that hard to follow the right steps. You can comfortably learn algebra and improve your skills to handle any question. It won’t happen overnight, but with the best tips, patience, and lots of practice, you can smoothly deal with the most demanding algebra problems. Here are some of the tips you can include as you endeavor to learn how to solve algebra problems.
PEMDAS is critical
A significant part of solving algebra problems is the understanding of the order of operations. Where do you start, what follows, and what’s the procedure to ensure you do it right? PEMDAS (Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction); don’t just memorize it; make it your best friend. While working on the parentheses, keep in mind that you should still follow the same order.
Understand the question
Should you be solving the problem at all? Do you know the difference between an algebraic expression and an equation? Regardless of how much time and energy you spend, you can’t solve an expression. Expressions don’t have an equal sign, and that’s the main difference. Equations are expressions separated by an equal sign, and understanding the variance is the foundation for solving algebra problems. (8X+2 is an example of an expression 8X+2=18 is an equation). Take your time, read and re-read the prompt to ensure that you have all the information needed to solve the problem.
Algebra basics make it easier to solve any problem. You need to know what like terms are and how to operate them, which means adding or subtracting the terms. For example, x2 isn’t similar to X, as they aren’t of the same degree, and knowing this can save you a lot of time along the way. Another basic to simplify the process is learning how to factor a number in an algebraic equation. If the coefficients, that is, the number before the variables can be factored out, your quest to solve the problem is a lot easier. For example, while solving 5X+20=15X+10, it is clear that the coefficient is divisible by 5.
Factoring out the number 5 means dividing each term to simplify the equation, which will result in X+4=3X+2. Learning such basics makes the process more productive, a valuable hack that most students overlook as they focus on solving the problem. Don’t forget the general rule. Operating on both sides is the general rule while solving algebra equations, but that doesn’t mean you can add on one side and subtract on the other. If you alter one side by adding, you have to do the same on the other side.
Practice makes perfect
After solving one algebra equation, you could feel like you’ve got the area covered. However, this is far from the truth. You’ll come across complex algebra equations that can knock you off balance. The trick is to keep practicing and seeking help whenever you hit a roadblock. With numerous online resources to keep you on your toes, your quest to hone algebra skills won’t be that boring. It gets better; with readily available professional services, you can find incredible tutorials to help you solve the most complex algebra problems. You can also kick your efforts a notch higher, join your school’s math group, or find a study partner.
While algebra can be challenging, mainly as you deal with letters instead of numbers as you are used to, and negative signs, with the right attitude, practice, and understanding the basics, you can comfortably learn and solve virtually any problem with ease.