Most pre-algebra questions from "Holt Pre-Algebra" are based on memorizing simple vocabulary words and substitution systems that determine the correct answer, so memorize the appropriate words for each question and check your work by working backwards to get the right answer. Memorize what integers, variables, expressions and other terms mean to understand how they are used in the context of math problems. Understand fractions and values, and follow simple operations to see how they work.
Equations are central in pre-algebra and algebra math problems, and they often have mixes of numbers, exponents and letters. The letters are designed to substitute for numbers in the context of a complete equation. Understanding that both sides are meant to be equal can help you check your work when you are done. Additionally, use the equations to represent real life finances or situations for more practice, such as using substitutions, equations and fractions to determine how much money you need to purchase something you want.
Begin by tracking your work using a step-by-step formula. Write out every order of operations in a straight line down below the original equation to begin tracing your work to discover the answer. Not only does this help you keep track of your operations, but outlining each step makes it easier to see if you make any mistakes during the solving process.