Learn the language
Algebra brings with it a very specific vocabulary—words like binomial, trinomial, factoring, etc. It’s important to learn the meanings of these words even if you can solve the problems without knowing the definitions. As the concepts become increasingly complicated, you’ll be glad you learned the language.
“Un-word” word problems
Many students are intimidated by word problems when they first see them because they forget that word problems are just normal equations put into sentences. Don’t be one of these students! As soon as you encounter a word problem, “un-word” it by translating it into an equation. This is another reason why it’s crucial to learn the vocabulary of algebra.
Show your work
Always show your work on algebra problems. This way, if you get lost or get the problem wrong, it’s easy to go back through your steps and see exactly where you went wrong. Also, if you get the problem wrong but have all your work right there on the page, your teacher is much more likely to give you partial credit (unless of course, you get every step wrong). Your teacher can’t give you any credit for work you’ve done in your head!
Put the calculator down
Graphing calculators are incredible tools, but most algebra problems don’t require so much horsepower. Even checking your answer is usually feasible by simply plugging in your answer for the variable and running it back through the equation (assuming the numbers aren’t too big). Avoid relying too much on your calculator, which should only be used when absolutely necessary.
Use the Internet
While the internet can be more distracting than helpful, it’s actually pretty good when it comes to algebra help. Many sites offer lessons, explanations, and practice problems, and some even offer videos. As is the case with any online resources, be sure you are consulting a reliable source!