Q:

# What are some tips for solving basic algebra problems?

A:

When solving basic algebraic equations, there is no one perfect way, but one tip is to rearrange the equation so it reads x = something. The process is similar to solving a puzzle, and it includes several rules or tips. These tips tell the student what he can and cannot do.

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Because algebraic fractions are difficult to manipulate, students begin solving equations involving fractions by multiplying every term of the equation by the denominator of the fraction.

In order to isolate a term, such as x, the rules allow adding or subtracting the same number from both sides of the equation. They also allow combining like terms, so it is possible to add 8x and 3x to get 11x.

Algebra rules also allow students to factor an equation to find a solution. When solving by factoring, there is often more than one solution to the equation.

Solving the equation only gives a list of potential solutions and students should check each of the possible solutions in the original equation. In some cases, substituting a possible answer into the equation causes problems, such as dividing by zero. When one of the possible answers causes such issues, it has to be ruled out of the solutions, and the student should include the reason he rules it out.

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