# Algebra Help - Strategies to Solve Problems

Posted in Math Tutoring Help with Algebra is one of the most common math tutoring requests we receive.

Algebra does not have to be as challenging as it looks.    And the good news is for every problem there is always a solution.

Here are some strategies for students to succeed when they start to learn this topic:

1) Ensure you are strong with the math basics like adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing.

2) Know your math order of operations with BEDMAS (B-brackets. E-exponents. DM-multiply or divide)

3) Understand the difference and impact of negative numbers with arithmetic.

4) Keep word problems organized with these strategies

5) Look for non-number symbols like x,y,z, etc, which are called variables.   Although they look scary, variables are mainly a way to show numbers where the value is unknown.  Try to visualize that some number is in the variable's place and your goal is to solve it.   Other variables like pi (π) are constants.

6) If a variable appears multiple times, try to simplify it like they are numbers.  For example: y + y = 2y.  The only caveat is you do not combine variables that are different.  For example A + B does not equal 2AB.

7) Try to isolate the variable as best as possible through adding or subtracting similar numbers to both sides of an equation.

8) Use checks to ensure your work is correct.  The best way to do this is plug the answers for your variables into the initial equation(s) and see if all of the equations equal each other.  If not, review your problem again to see where you may have made an error.

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