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# How Do You Evaluate Algebraic Expressions?

**To evaluate an algebraic expression, take the given values for the variables, and plug them in to see what the result is.** Evaluating an algebra expression is the reverse of solving an equation. Make sure to follow the order of operations at all times; otherwise, the result could be incorrect.

The order of operations is parentheses, exponents, multiplication, division, addition and subtraction. For an example expression, take 4x^2 + 3x + 9 where x = 5. Plugging the required value into the equation results in 4(5)^2 + 3(5) + 9. Exponents come first. When simplified, the expression is 4(25) + 15 + 9. Performing the required arithmetic yields the result of this expression to be 124. Remember that if a parenthetical term has an exponent outside it, you should simplify the term first before applying the exponent; exponents do not distribute over addition.

Evaluating algebraic expressions provides one method of solving linear or quadratic equations. By substituting a given value for x, it's possible to find the corresponding point for y. For example, solving y = 3x + 2 when x = 3 leaves y as 11. By plugging in a different value for x, you can get another point on the line described by the equation.

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