# Algebra Homework Help: a Few Great Ideas

Algebra is a branch of math that many students find pretty intimidating. I think it has to do with the study of symbols and the rules of these symbols. It uses letters to stand for unknown factors. It can be hard to understand the many methods that can be used for solving equations and simplifying formulas but once you get a good grasp on these methods, it will be a lot easier.

There are some great ideas that will help you complete your algebra homework fast. Once you have mastered the basics, the rest is a lot easier.

- Multiply by negative one
When dealing with a lot of negatives, the problem seems so much more complicated than it has to be. The best way to rectify this situation it to multiply both sides of the equal sign by negative one. This will change all of the negatives to positives. It will give you the same answer because if you do the same thing to both sides, it doesn’t change the equation. Essentially, you can just change all of the signs to the opposite sign on both sides of the equation.

- Write out each step
It may look like a cluttered mess but it is a great way to ensure that you are not making a mistake. Don’t just do the problem in your head. If you get distracted, you may make an unnecessary mistake. This is especially true if negatives are involved. You will see that there is a lot of confusion if you choose not to show your work with negatives. If you have the right number but have it as a negative instead of a positive, the problem is still wrong. By writing out each step, you can also go back and check your work easier. You can catch those careless addition errors.

- Treat both sides the same
Make sure that whatever you do to one side that you do to the other. If you can remember this simple fact, you will go far. For example:

3X + 5 = 20

The idea is to get the X by itself. That way whatever is on the other side of the equal sign will be the value of X. So to get rid of the five you would subtract five from both sides. That is because five minus five is zero. Then to get rid of the three that is multiplied to the X, you would divide both sides by the three. So the answer would leave X = 5. If you put the five back in place of the X, you will see that three times five is fifteen plus five is twenty.