Some things go together, while some things clearly don’t. Who would have thought that jam and beef patties would go so well together?

Many of you may be complaining about how algebra complicates things and harder to understand or decipher sometimes, especially when all you see are numbers and alphabets floating around. You probably never saw a point in putting the two together anyways (I guess we just can’t see what mathematicians can!).

Admittedly, putting the numbers and letters together does help to simplify things for us, but only after we learn how to appreciate algebra for what it truly is and how it should be interpreted. Otherwise, it will truly be a messy and unpleasant learning experience for you.

First, let’s go back to the very basics of algebra. Most of the questions would require you to find the unknown from an algebraic expression. This requires you to think of ways to manipulate the equation so that you can get to your answer.

Example:

Solve    x + 5 = 0   and   10 – 5 = x.

What do these letters in the equations mean??

The x simply represents a number, any number. It could take any number 1,2,3,4,5… and so on, depending on the equation.

So how do I find what ‘x’ is if it could be anything?

That’s where the rules of Algebra come into play! The basics of Algebra also include the basics of arithmetic.

Since 10 – 5 = 5, ‘x’ denotes…5! You could also say that ‘x’ is a replacement for the number 5.

To be good in algebra, you’ll have to…

Since algebra is built upon basic math functions, you’ll need to ensure that your foundation for math is strong. In fact, to know your math functions “well enough” means to be able to interpret the addition, subtraction, multiplication and division correctly, and to get the right answers in the shortest time possible.

Question: 5(3) =  x – 8

Rearranged: x = 15 + 8

Therefore, x = 23

You’ll need to see how they can be rearranged (by moving them to the left side or right side of the equals sign) so that the subject ‘x’ would be on the left while the numerical value would be on the right.

#2 Observe carefully to see how letters interact with each other

The letters in algebraic equations are just like numbers and interact with each other in the same way as numbers do.

x x x = x2                  3 x 3 = 32

In this case, ‘x’ takes the place of the number 3.

In that sense, x + x would equal to 2x just like how 3+3 would equal 2(3).

#3 Practice makes perfect

If you want to solve the algebraic questions quickly and accurately, you’ll need to expose yourself to a large quantity and great variety of algebraic expressions. When you attempt more questions, your understanding for it would grow, with you!

If you fail to solve the question, try it yourself a few more times so that you’ll be able to discover where you went wrong. Sometimes, you will derive more satisfaction from solving questions yourself than to turn to others for the solutions. In fact, you’ll be able to learn faster if you’re an active learner.

With these tips, you’ll be able to master the basics of algebra so that it will no longer haunt you in your sleep! (at least for now)

If you are still unsure, you could always sit in for our free trial class to learn about how you can better grasp this mathematical language. Sign up here to learn tips and tricks which would enable you to solve algebraic problems in a matter of seconds!