Review: Simplifying Algebraic Expressions

Put it All Together

A lot of struggling students mix up the rules for adding and subtracting algebraic expressions (combining like terms) with the rules for multiplying algebraic expressions (distribution) with disastrous results on the GED. Don't be that student! This lesson will help you keep the two concepts straight.

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LEARN IT

Here's the three things you need to remember to be able to simplify algebraic expressions like a pro:

  1. When you're simplifying, follow the order of operations, so take care of any distribution (multiplication) BEFORE you tackle combining like terms (adding and subtracting).

  2. When multiplying, every term multiplies, and we use exponents to keep track of repeated factors

  3. When adding and subtracting, you can ONLY combine like terms.Combine the coefficients, but remember, adding and subtracting does not affect the variable portion of a term.

For worked examples, check out the videos at the bottom of this lesson page.

PRACTICE IT

This Kuta Worksheet features some simple examples of simplifying expressions with multiplication, addition, and subtraction.

The second page of this Kuta Worksheet features some more complex examples of simplifying expressions with multiplication, addition, and subtraction.

Use this Khan Academy activity to practice identifying equivalent expressions.

WORKED EXAMPLES

Beginning 1

Experienced 1

Experienced 2

Experienced 3

Experienced 4

Experienced 5

MathABILITY (Advanced)

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