First of all, you need to know that algebra is a lot like arithmetic, it follows all the rules of arithmetic and uses the same 4 main operations that arithmetic is built on.
Which are: Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division
Algebra induces a new element: The element of the unknown
While doing the algebra, if we don’t know a number we use a symbol in its place.
That symbol can be any letter of the alphabet, really popular letter to choose is the letter “X”
When you’re solving algebra word problems, it’s smart to have a plan of attack ready to follow. Solving word problems may seem difficult, but when you read through the problem and can figure out what the specific equation is, it’s no harder than a regular algebra problem.
Here are 5 steps that can help you in solving Algebraic Equations quickly:
1. Read through the entire problem before trying to solve it:
While it might seem tempting to start working on the problem as soon as you get halfway through the first sentence, you need to be patient.
When you read through the entire problem, you’ll have a better chance of noticing any variables that are given and any that you need to solve for.
2. Look for keywords in the algebra word problems that can signal which operation you will be doing:
These keywords can go a long way in helping you determine how to set up the algebra equations. Here’s a list of some common keywords to get you started.
Addition: Added to, combined, increased by, more than, sum, total
Subtraction: Decreased by, difference of, less than
Multiplication: Increased by a factor of, multiplied by, times
Division: Out of, per, ratio of
Equals: Are, gives, is, will be
Note: These keywords are not a complete list; you will definitely see other words used to mean these operations, but keep in mind how the numbers and variables are positioned and what is being asked, and you should be able to add to this keyword list yourself.
Also, be sure to pay close attention to the relationship between the two variables when it comes to division and subtraction. It matters which variable comes first, and when the algebra word problem asks for the difference between x and y when you write the algebra out, you will show x – y. Likewise, the ratio of x and y written out will show x / y.
3. Underline anything that will be important for setting up the algebra equations or solving the word problems
When you underline or highlight these important parts, you can quickly reference the things you need to without having to read through the entire problem again.
This makes it easier to go back and double check that you’ve got the right equations and variables set up, without losing your time of thought halfway through solving the algebra word problem.
4. Write down everything that comes to mind as you’re solving the algebra word problem:
This way, you won’t have to try to remember what each variable is that you’re solving for, or whether you’re multiplying or dividing by two in the next equation. You can concentrate on each small task within the algebra equation and then put the pieces together at the end.
Having a written record of each variable also helps when it comes time to give your solution, as you know what variable has the answer in it!
while solving the algebra equation quickly, Writing down notes also functions as a way to double-check when you’ve got your solution ready. When you’re solving an algebra problem in your head, you won’t have any way to go back and walk through your solution again if you missed a step. On the other hand, if you write down each step while solving the problem, you can retrace your steps and make sure your answer is correct.
5.LASTLY !! Practice Practice Practice
Above anything else, algebra problems need practice on a consistent basis. By working a few algebra word problems each day, you’ll be able solve algebra equations quickly and work on any of the rough parts.
If algebra word problems are giving you trouble in class, working with a private math tutor can help you keep up with the math topics. A private tutor will be able to give you the personalized attention necessary to work on the concepts in algebra or other math courses, and work at a pace that is just right for you.
A private math tutor can also provide you with practice problems that focus on the specific areas that you need help with, such as setting up algebra word problems that emphasize certain areas over others.