# 6 Ways to Sharpen Your Student’s Algebra Skills

Algebra is one of the most challenging subjects freshman and sophomores will tackle at the beginning of their high school careers. It’s also full of important foundational concepts that, if learned correctly, will set your student up for future success.

### Here are 6 ways to sharpen your student’s algebra skills:

#### Know the Terms

Your student has to learn the mathematical vocabulary of algebra in order to “speak” the language. Terms like polynomial, factoring, and the coefficient can be confusing if your student doesn’t understand the concepts behind them.

#### Use a Pen(cil) and Paper

If your student is accustomed to plugging their equations into a graphing calculator, they might not be rock solid on how exactly those equations work. Encourage them to work problems out using a pen or pencil and paper; most algebraic equations can be solved fairly easily without a calculator.

#### Write Out Every Step

Some teachers will offer partial credit to students who arrive at the wrong answer but show their work. Having your student write out their problem-solving process also helps quickly identify where they’re going wrong, making it easier to review and do better next time!

#### Turn Word Problems Back into Equations

Don’t let the backstory of a word problem trip your student up! Help your student learn to “reverse engineer” a word problem back into the kind of mathematical equation they’re used to working with. From there, solving the problem should seem much more straightforward.

Finding more examples or additional explanations of algebraic concepts is easy, thanks to the power of the internet. There are tons of great resources available. Your student can also ask their teacher for extra materials if they want to work through more problem sets or clarify their understanding of a concept.

If your student is struggling with their coursework, seek help as soon as possible! Again, these are foundational concepts that will lay the groundwork for math classes all the way into college. Checking in with the teacher is a great first step. Signet also has algebra experts on our tutoring team, so if you’d like to explore focused, 1:1 tutoring, contact us for a free consultation!

#### Jay B.

Jay Bacrania is the CEO of Signet Education. As a high schooler, Jay won awards for chemistry at the state level in his home state of Florida, and at Harvard, he initially studied physics. After graduating, Jay spent two years studying jazz trumpet at the Berklee College of Music.