Algebra is a basic form of math, which makes use of numbers, letters, and variables. Though algebra equations seem difficult to tackle, they are actually governed by a basic set of rules. Solving algebra equations on a regular basis will help you get familiar with these rules, making them easier to solve.

Here, tutors of AHEAD Tutorial & Review Center share a number of suggestions on how you can solve algebra equations and, in the process, get better grades.

Review. Algebra is founded on basic four operations –addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division plus negative numbers and integers. Review your basic math. Do practice exercises to boost your confidence. Go through your textbooks.

Analyze the problem. Look at the problem. The numbers are still there but this time, there are also letters or variables. Algebra problems typically involve finding the value of a given, most of them using the variables x or y.

Solving for like terms. For example, solve for y in this equation: 2y + 5y + 13 = 20.

First, merge like terms or terms which have the same variables.

In this case, add 2y and 5y and you get 7y.

Isolate the variable you are solving by transferring the whole number 13 to the other side of the equation. When you do that though, the whole number becomes negative.

(Hint: Any number you transfer from one side of an equation to another changes signs. The positive becomes negative, the negative becomes positive).

The equation now looks like this: 7y = 20 – 13.

Subtract: 7y = 7.

Divide both sides by 7 since you only need to have the variable y on one side.

The variable Y now equals to 1.

Multiplying variables. The same principles apply when you are multiplying variables. For instance, solve for x in this equation: x (2x + 4 + 2).

Again, put together like terms: add 4 and 2, you get 6.

The equation now becomes x (2x + 6).

Now, multiply each term in the parenthesis. Multiply x by 2x and x by 6, you get 2×2 + 6.

Factoring. The answer to the problem when multiplying variables is called the factor of the solution. Factoring is used to break down the bigger parts into smaller pieces, so you can do some simple math tricks such as addition and subtraction.

When asked to factor an equation like  x2 + 3x = 0, look for the common variables in each term of the equation.

In this case, x is the common element and you need to extract x from the first two elements. (x2 means x times x).

The equation now becomes x (x +3) = 0.

This means that when you multiply the two factors here, you get 0.

Any number when multiplied by 0 becomes 0.

In this case, if x equals 0, it becomes 0 (0 + 3) which totals 0.

Another solution: Substitute x with -3. The equation now becomes -3 (3 + -3) = 0.

X can either be -3 or 0.

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