What to Study for GED Algebra

Hey, all. Someone wrote in askin’ about studyin’ for GED algebra, and I replied in the comment. But I thought, this is good stuff for everyone to know, so here it is… what you gotta know ’bout GED algebra:

Hey there! Algebra’s got a lot of stuff in it, and it takes a while to learn. You can look at a lot of the algebra articles here: http://www.passged.com/student_blogs/curtis/category/algebra/. Here’s the absolute, need-to-know’s:

1) Gotta understand the idea of a variable. A variable is a letter or symbol that stands for something unknown or something that can change. A lot of the time, you’ll see “x” used as a variable: x + 5 = 10 … why do you use a variable? Cuz you want to figure something out, and to put the “something you don’t know” into a math equation you need some sort of symbol for it. That’s where the x comes in. You’ll need to be able to understand what 2x means (2 times x) and mutliply, add, and subtract with variables to move them around.

2) Gotta understand how to move numbers around in an equation. In an equation, you can add the same number to both sides, subtract the same number from both sides, multiply both sides by the same number, or divide both sides by the same number (as long as it’s not zero). Why do you want to do that? So you can move all the numbers to one side, and the variable to the other, and figure out what the variable equals. So, for x + 5 = 10, you can subtract 5 from each side. Then, x = 5. Easy.

3) Gotta be able to see what an equation means in real life. So, take a word problem and make an equation out of it.

4) Understand inequalities, like 4 < 2x or x +5 > 10.

5) Gotta know how to deal with negative numbers and fractions. Why? These are the main things that’ll mess you up in moving around numbers. Better you understand them, the better you’ll do.

6) Helps to know about exponents, like x2. You won’t get into real high exponents, jus’ understand what “squared” means (something times itself) and what a square root means.

7) Helps to know about graphing a line… like what’s a slope? How do you get a line on a graph from an equation?
8) The hardest part is quadratic equations (you can see my article ’bout them). But there’s not gonna be a lot about them on the GED, so no big sweat.

Dat’s the basics. I know it’s a lot, an’ I can’t promise my website covers it all. But your son can always write in to me with special problems if he’s havin’ trouble with something. It’s hard to study on your own, so I totally recommend the GED Academy study program at http://www.passGED.com. It’s got a real complete math course, and if he has a problem he can call up an instructor for help.

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