Factoring in algebra involves finding the factors of numbers and expressions by simplifying the equation. The process may be more complex depending on the difficulty of the sum. This is a similar process to splitting a large multiplication problem into smaller sums that are easier to solve but arrive at the same number when added together.
Factoring is the reverse of expanding brackets as it simplifies an equation in some way. It sounds relatively simple but becomes more difficult as the equations become larger.
When first starting out learning algebra, factoring should begin with small numbers before moving onto larger and more difficult sums. Understanding factoring with single digit numbers is the best way to understand the process.
For example, the expression: 4x + 5x -2 - 2x + 7 may be simplified by collecting the x terms together before collecting the numbers together.
This would result in a factored, or simplified equation of: 7x + 5.
Factoring in this manner makes many difficult expressions much more simple to understand, although it may be difficult to fathom at first, the only other method for factoring is trial and error.
Factoring is always similar in method, from simple to particularly difficult quadratic equations.