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How to Learn Algebra

By Brian Leaf, eHow Presenter

Let's talk about how to learn Algebra in general. There's really three key things that we're going to go over, for how to learn Algebra in general. First, on, you have to realize that Algebra is not this sort of amorphous concept that you have to tap into. All Algebra really is doing, is modeling what our brains already do. So, when you get that, it kind of becomes easier. Like if I say, take a number and double it. And I say, ok, how about five. You do five times two and that's ten. That's Algebra, because we say, take a number and double it. So, x is a variable which represents any number. So, and I say double it, means times it by two. So, take a number and double it, that's something you could have done before you ever heard the word Algebra, and yet that's Algebra. So, that's the first thing, is don't be intimidated. Second thing. Second thing is that if you have an Algebraic expression and you want to solve it. To solve it, means get the variable alone, isolate the variable. The way we're going to do that is, by eliminating everything that's near the variable. OK? So, in this case, we're going to take the three away, and then take the two away. The way you do that is you do the opposite of whatever you've got. If you've got plus three, you're going to subtract three, that's rule number two, is do the opposite. Rule number three, whatever you do to one side, you have to do to the other. If you follow these three rules, don't be intimidated. To get rid of a number, to eliminate it, do the opposite. Whatever you do to one side, do the other. If you follow these three rules, Algebra's not so bad. So, we're going to subtract three from both sides, that cancels, that's why we did it. Nine minus three is six, now we have two times x. And, we want to eliminate that. The opposite of times is divide. So, we're going to divide both sides by two. Why do we do that? Because two over two cancels. Two over two is one, so we have one x, or just x now. That's why we did it. Equals, or whatever we did to this side, we had to do to this side. Six divided by two, three. So, two x, plus three solved, is x equals three. Sorry, two x plus three equals nine, solved, is x equals three.