## Ten Basic Concepts

The following tips have been designed to help students feel at ease with their concept of algebra. Following these basic tips will not only improve your algebra test taking abilities, but will also help you to develop your algebra skills in general.

- Remember that every math function comes down to basic arithmetic. If you can add and subtract, you can do algebra. Even multiplication and division are only different ways to add and subtract.
- Do the work in the parenthesis first. The idea is to simplify the problem. It doesn’t matter how many equations are in the parenthesis or how hard the problem looks at first glance. Do the work in the parenthesis one problem at a time.
- Always work from left to right.
- Perform the exponent operation before anything else.
- Do multiplication and division next. 32 + 2 x 5= 32 x 10
- Do the subtraction and addition next.
- Keep in mind that what you do to one side you must do to the other. For example, look at the problem here. 2x + 9=3x – 12 Add “12” to both sides to get 2x + 21=3x Subtract 2x from both sides to get 21=1x or 21=x.
- Remember that when multiplying a negative and a positive number, the answer will always be negative.
- When multiplying two negatives, the answer will be positive.
- Write out all your work so you can double check your answers!

Keep in mind that algebra is just a combination of simple arithmetic problems. Anyone who can do an arithmetic problem can perform algebraic equations!

Also, don’t put your focus on the whole problem. Rather, focus on the part of the problem you are currently working on. Don’t forget to check your answers!

Use the ten basic concepts above to help you remember the rules of algebra and youi’ll improve your algebra scores in no time.