Complete Guide on How to Read and Understand College Algebra


Are you struggling with college algebra? You are not alone; algebra can be quite intimidating. Dealing with letters and negative numbers, among other considerations, can easily knock you off balance. Surprisingly, algebra isn’t as challenging as you might initially anticipate.

The primacy hiccup is that most students struggle to memorize the formulas instead of understanding the basics and building a solid foundation. As you endeavor to hone your algebra skills, here are some of the tactics you can employ.

Lay a solid foundation

The key to successful algebra operations is to understand the basics. By now, you are familiar and comfortable with basic arithmetic, including addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, but do you know the order of operation? PEMDAS (Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction) should be your best friend as you handle any algebra problem. After understanding the order of operation, the next thing is to establish the difference between an algebraic equation and expression. Equations can be solved, and they include expressions connected by the equal (=) sign, while expressions can’t.

While solving the algebra equation, it is also necessary that you understand what the problem needs. Are you required to simplify, factor, solve, or reduce? Each requirement has its objective, and understanding this could save you from significant frustrations, for example, struggling to solve an equation that only needed you to simplify. Understanding the basics lays the much-needed foundation, allowing you to gradually build algebra skills to solve the most straightforward and most complex problem.

Get comfortable with letters and symbols

Letters and symbols are perhaps one of the areas that knock students off balance. Algebra is more about finding the value of unknown terms, represented by letters, and the trick here is to treat them as numbers that you are yet to establish their actual value. X, Y, and Z are the most common letters, but you’ll also come across Greek symbols such as θ (theta), α (alpha), and σ (sigma). While dealing with symbols, keep in mind that some aren’t variables since their actual value is known, for example, π whose value is 3.1415. Don’t be scared by the letters and symbols; knowing what they stand for will ease your quest to read and understand algebra.

Seek assistance

Are you struggling with a particular question? Over time, you’ll come across algebra problems you can hardly handle, and skipping them isn’t a practical approach. Seeking help is the most effective approach to deal with such consideration. For instance, burning the midnight oil struggling to complete your algebra homework that you can hardly scratch its surface is entirely counter-productive. Instead, you can go to this link, enlist experienced algebra professionals, save time, and leverage their expertise to understand what you aren’t doing right. With their comprehensive step-by-step algebra solution, you can conveniently learn at your pace and hone your skills. You could also seek help from your friends, classmates, a study partner, or even join a math study group in your college. With a practical support system, you can comfortably navigate problematic areas without wasting much of your time, an approach that top students utilize.

Keep practicing

Don’t get comfortable after solving a few algebra problems. It would be best if you kept practicing to understand various considerations. The best part is that your practicing quests don’t have to be limited to your textbooks or resources in your school’s library. You can check out online resources, an extensive pool that exposes you to a range of problems, some that you might not have come across.

College algebra is among the areas dreaded by most students. However, with a practical approach, you can comfortably handle any algebra question. With the above tips, you are a step closer to scaling your skills to the next level.


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