# How To Use Algebra To Solve Problems If you can compare formulas or terms or shapes to problems you've solved before, it's a good bet that the strategy you used to solve them last time will help again now.: A big complicated problem is often just several small and simple questions stuck together.See if there are pieces you can pull out to work on separately.

If you can compare formulas or terms or shapes to problems you've solved before, it's a good bet that the strategy you used to solve them last time will help again now.: A big complicated problem is often just several small and simple questions stuck together.See if there are pieces you can pull out to work on separately.

These properties apply to all 4 mathematical operations.

They let us add to, subtract from, multiply, and divide expressions while still preserving the equality of an equation.

Whether the path to a solution is obvious or not, there's a reliable series of steps that will help take you in the right direction:: Figure out both where you are and where you need to go before you start working.

Look carefully at the problem to be sure you know what the question is. Start thinking about the techniques that could be useful, and the kinds of answers you expect to find.: Use your experience to guide you. Is there anything about the form of an equation or the shape of a graph or the phrasing of a question that seems familiar?

The word inverse means to turn inside out or upside down—in mathematics an inverse essentially turns a number around on itself.

A typical algebraic equation includes multiple operations.Where do you even begin when you're faced with a statement bursting with addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, exponents, radicals, parentheses, and brackets? It specifies the order in which to perform the operations in an expression or equation.Just like the properties of real numbers apply in both arithmetic and algebra, so does the order operations.The arrangement of numbers and variables in algebraic expressions works like that too.Some situations allow us to switch values and operations around.Perhaps you need to go back and make sure you understand the problem. If you keep trying, and vary your approach, you will get it. If you’ve ever played a video game or packed a suitcase for a long trip, you know that the order and placement of objects makes a difference in the outcome.Take a second to step back and look it over with fresh eyes. Some things can be moved around to wherever they are convenient, while others can only go a certain way or they won’t fit.Maybe you don't know how to find all the variables all at once, but you might be able to figure them out one at a time. Sometimes a verbal description or an equation don't really speak to you.Once you solve the easy parts, those answers can help you get the rest of the way. A quick sketch or a careful graph can sometimes make relationships clear in a way that words or numbers don't.Sometimes, especially as you get more comfortable with algebra, you'll see a problem and know exactly what to do.Other times, you'll run headfirst into a problem that takes you by surprise, and you'll wonder how to even begin.

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