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How to score well in Algebra?

One of the most fun and scoring parts of the Maths curriculum is Algebra. The word sums in the chapters of algebra are always so created that they simulate real-life situations, and the students can relate to the sums while solving them. Most of the word sums come with a few clues that are supposed to be framed into equations. Finding these clues and framing them into correct equations is the underlying concept for solving the sums of algebra and is a lot of fun once you begin to understand it. Yet, there are some important rules to remember for simplifying an algebraic expression, before you begin with the word sums, that will help you with a strong fundamental understanding of algebra.

Understand the PEMDAS rule

Often when you are halfway through with an algebra sum, you tend to get confused about how to proceed with the next step and end up with a wrong answer. Let us assume that there is a sum for simplification of an algebraic equation, with several operations such as multiplication, parentheses, etc, in it. If you are not aware of the correct route map to solve for such sums, then it is likely that you end up with the wrong answer. 

The foremost thing to follow while solving algebraic equations is the PEMDAS rule. ‘P’ stands for parentheses, ‘E’ stands for exponents, ‘M’ stands for multiplication, ‘D’ stands for division, ‘A’ stands for addition and ‘S’ stands for subtraction. When your task is to simplify an algebraic equation, you need to scan the equation first and assign a priority sequence to the operations in it according to the PEMDAS rule. Begin simplifying the algebraic expression from the parentheses, followed by exponents and so on. When there is more than one type of parentheses in the expression, the first in the priority list will be this: (), followed by the curly braces {} and the box braces []. 

Do not skip the intermediate steps 

Most students tend to rush through the calculations while doing a sum during an exam. Rarely does this help in arriving at the correct answer, as they are more likely to make errors this way. Suppose, you are not sure of the answer you got in a sum, and you are about to check all the intermediate steps in the sum. Generally, there are a lot of sign changes involved in the simplification of an algebraic expression. It becomes difficult to keep up with the correct order of sign changes when you skip the intermediate steps and errors become more common. For example, you are to simplify the following expression,

2x – [3 – {5x – ( 11 + 7x)}] .

In the above example, every time you remove a parenthesis, there will be a change of the signs in the expression. It will be a difficult task for you if you have skipped the steps in the first place. So, it is always advisable to show each and every step of an algebra sum to avoid errors. This may take a little more time initially, but at the same time, seldom will you go wrong while doing sums this way.

Revise all the Formulae regularly

There is a list of formulae included in the syllabus of algebra that students need to learn and understand. Many students make mistakes in the sums of algebra when they are supposed to use formulae in the sums. Also, at times, even if students are through with memorizing the formulae, they may get stuck with the application of the same. 

For those students who tend to forget formulae much often, the best way is to write down all the formulae in a separate sheet of paper and pin it up on your study table. This way you can revise the formulae every time you begin with your studies. Some students tend to get confused when it comes to identifying a formula in an algebraic expression. For example, instead of (a2b2) = (ab)(a+b), the sum has (4x2– 25y2). The task over here is to identify the perfect squares and expand the expression using the relevant formulae. Students need to have a profound understanding of the formulae to get this right. The only way to get familiar with the formulae is to practice them as much as possible.

Correct Distribution of exponents

One of the most common errors that students make while solving an algebraic equation is the incorrect distribution of signs and exponents while removing parentheses. For example, if the sum is (9a2– 12b)2, you cannot remove the parentheses by as,

81a4144b2. The exponent of 2 cannot be distributed in this way among the terms of the algebraic expression, the corresponding formula of (ab)2 = (a2+ b22ab) for expansion has to be used here.

While you simplify an algebraic expression, it is important to keep in mind these few things so as to avoid any errors. Algebra is one of the most fundamental parts of maths and once you are through with the petty glitches in understanding its concepts, it probably becomes the fun part of maths as well. So, while you begin with your algebra preparation, One of the leading Ed-tech Vedantu class 9 maths solutions are available to download for free, keep in mind the above-mentioned tips for a smooth sail through the entire syllabus. 

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