# 5 Essential Tips for Solving Algebraic Equations

May 31, 2023 Dr. Chris Morris
United States
Ph.D. in Mathematics from Stanford University. Specializes in algebra. Offers comprehensive algebra assignment help, with expertise in linear equations, quadratic equations, matrices, and more.

The basis of mathematics, and algebraic equations are essential to many disciplines, including physics, engineering, and finance. Understanding how to solve algebraic equations is crucial whether you're a student having trouble with the subject or someone looking to improve your problem-solving abilities. In this blog, we'll look at five key strategies for solving algebraic equations effectively and with confidence.

## Understand the Basics

It is essential to have a firm understanding of the fundamental concepts before diving into complex algebraic equations. Ensure that you are familiar with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division as well as other fundamental algebraic operations. Moreover, be familiar with the order of operations, which specifies the order in which operations must be carried out. You will be more capable of handling more difficult equations if you have a firm grasp of these fundamental ideas. ### Order of Operations

The order of operations is a set of guidelines that specify the order in which mathematical operations should be carried out. It is frequently remembered by the acronym PEMDAS (Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication and Division, Addition and Subtraction). To find the right answer, it is imperative to do things in this specific order.

It's crucial to use the proper order of operations when solving an equation. If an equation contains parentheses, for instance, you should first simplify the expression inside the parentheses. Exponents should also be evaluated if there are any before performing multiplication, division, addition, or subtraction. You can solve the equation correctly and arrive at the right solution by correctly understanding and using the order of operations.

### Understanding Variables and Constants

Variables and constants both represent known values and unknown quantities in algebraic equations. Understanding the differences between the two and how they work together in an equation is crucial. Correctly identifying variables and constants will enable you to solve the equation and arrive at the desired outcome.

It's crucial to monitor the values of variables and constants when working with them and to adjust your actions accordingly. By applying inverse operations to both sides of the equation, variables can be separated. Contrarily, arithmetic operations can be used to combine or simplify constants. You can more successfully solve difficult algebraic equations by distinguishing between variables and constants and comprehending their functions in an equation.

### Balancing Equations

Similar to a seesaw, for an equation to hold true, both sides must be in balance. Any operation you carry out on one side of the equation must also be carried out on the other. In order to find the right solution, it is essential to maintain balance throughout the problem-solving process.

It's crucial to keep in mind that performing the same operation on both sides of an equation will not change its equality when solving it. For instance, if you multiply the equation by 5 on one side, you must also multiply it by 5 on the other. You can guarantee that the equality is maintained and the solution is still correct by balancing the equation at each stage.

## Simplify and Combine Like Terms

In order to reduce the complexity of algebraic equations, it is frequently helpful to combine and simplify like terms. Terms with the same variables raised to the same powers are said to be "like terms." These terms can be combined to remove repetitions, simplify the equation, and make it more user-friendly.

Identifying like terms is the first step in simplifying an equation. Similar terms can be added to or subtracted from one another and have the same variables raised to the same powers. You can simplify the equation and make it easier to handle by grouping like terms together.

Take the equation 3x + 2x + 5 - 4x = 10 as an illustration. Because the variable x is raised to the power of 1, the terms 3x, 2x, and -4x are all similar terms in this situation. These terms are combined, and the equation becomes x + 5 = 10.

The complexity of the equation is decreased by simplifying and combining like terms, which also makes it easier to concentrate on the crucial elements. You can solve the equation more quickly and effectively by simplifying it.

## Isolate the Variable

You must isolate a particular variable on one side of an equation in order to solve for it. This is typically accomplished by carrying out a series of inverse operations to reverse the changes made to the variable. The objective is to make the equation simpler and leave the variable on one side so that you can calculate its value.

### Inverse Operations

Operations that "undo" one another are known as inverse operations. For instance, multiplication reverses division while addition reverses subtraction. You can pinpoint the variable and ascertain its value by methodically using the inverse operations.

Consider the following example equation: 2x + 3 = 11. You must get rid of the constant term on the same side of the equation in order to isolate the variable x. The constant term in this situation is 3, and it is added to 2x. You can take 3 out of both sides of the equation to undo this addition. Consequently, 2x = 8.

Once the variable has been isolated, you can proceed to solve for it by making additional simplifications or multiplying both sides of the equation by the variable's coefficient. In this case, multiplying both sides by 2 gives the result x = 4.

You can find the variable's value and the equation's answer by using inverse operations to separate the variable.

### Clearing Fractions or Decimals

By multiplying the entire equation by the common denominator or a power of 10, you can clear any fractions or decimals in an equation. By doing this, the fractions or decimals are removed from the equation, making it simpler to solve.

Think about the formula (1/2)x + 0.25 = 3. By multiplying both sides of the equation by the fraction's denominator, 2, you can eliminate the fraction. Consequently, x + 0.5 = 6. You can work with whole numbers when the fraction is gone, which makes the problem-solving process easier.

Similar to this, you can remove decimals from an equation that contains them by multiplying it by a power of 10 that moves the decimal point to the right, converting the result to whole numbers.

### Handling Exponents

When an equation contains exponents, you can make it simpler by applying exponent properties like the power rule or the product rule. You can simplify the equation by manipulating the exponents in accordance with these rules.

Let's take the equation 2x = 16 as an example. Since the exponent's base is 2, you can rewrite 16 as a power of 2 to find x. In this situation, 16 can be written as 24. The exponents are equalized to give 2x = 2x4. The exponents must be equal if the bases are the same, according to the exponents rule. Thus, x = 4.

You can more easily solve equations with exponential terms by using the properties of exponents to simplify them.

It is very important to double-check your work after coming up with an answer for the algebraic equation. You can check to see if the discovered value satisfies the equation by substituting it back into the original formula. To make sure that your solution is accurate, you must complete this step.

Put the value you determined for the variable back into the original equation to verify your solution. Check to see if the two sides of the equation are equal by simplifying them. You can be sure your solution is right if the substituted value satisfies the equation.

Finding any errors or mistakes made during the solving process is made easier by checking your solution. Return to each step to identify and correct any errors if the substituted value does not satisfy the equation. You can be sure that your solution is accurate by double-checking your work.

## Conclusion

Algebraic equations can be intimidating, but with a firm grasp of the fundamentals, a methodical approach, and the application of key techniques, you can approach them with assurance. You will be well-equipped to solve algebraic equations quickly and accurately if you adhere to the five key suggestions presented in this blog: understanding the fundamentals, simplifying and combining like terms, isolating the variable, clearing fractions or decimals, and checking your solution. Your ability to solve algebraic problems will undoubtedly advance with time and effort if you put these suggestions into practice and, if necessary, seek out additional resources or guidance.