To learn algebra successfully, a student should understand algebraic concepts instead of memorization and understand basic notations of algebra. Knowing how to evaluate algebraic expressions also facilitates proper learning of algebra.
Understanding algebraic concepts enables students to avoid problems that arise when they experience memory lapses. For instance, instead of memorizing that 5 raised to the power of 4 is equal to 625, the student can understand that 5 power 4 means 5 x 5 x 5 x 5, which translates to the same answer. In this case, the learner is able to infer that every time the power increases by one value, the product increases five times.
Understanding basic algebraic notations helps students avoid mistakes when solving algebraic expressions. For instance, a student who does not understand algebraic notations may erroneously conclude that 4b + 5 is equal to 9b. Additionally, the same student may get a wrong answer if the value of b in the expression is known. To avoid this problems, the student should understand that 4b + 5 is the same as b + b + b + b + 5, so that when the value of the variable "b" is, for instance 3, the answer to the expression is 60.