How to Solve Equations Using a Flowchart

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Solving equations is an important landmark in all Algebra classes, and it continues to be important throughout all upper-level math classes. A good way to get accustomed to solving equations involves constructing and following a flowchart. In effect, this way involves writing out the steps of solving the equation before you actually solve it, reducing your chances of error. With plenty of practice, you should be able to wean yourself off the flowcharts, and be able to instantaneously solve equations.

• Familiarize yourself with what happens in the equation. For instance, in the equation 2x-1=9, notice that x is multiplied by 2, then decreased by 1, to obtain 9. You will have to write out a flowchart with the exact opposite operations.

• Draw out boxes for your flowchart. For equations of the form ax+b=c, c should be the number in the first box.

• Write, on the arrow between the first and second boxes, a note to yourself to subtract b. Leave the second box blank, for now.

• Write, on the arrow between the second and third boxes, to divide by a.

• Fill in the boxes. In the first box, using our example equation, 2x-1=9, the first box will contain the number '9' and the second box will equal '9+1=10." The third box, the result of dividing the second box by 2, will be equal to 5.

• Plug your final value of x, x=5, into the original equation, to make sure it is correct. Here, 2*5-1=9 is correct.

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