## What is Algebra?

It is an area of mathematics that use alphabetic characters in place of numbers to derive results for a given situation. This abstraction is the very reason why most people find algebra scary and too difficult to handle and it is the same reasons why some students find it fun to play around with. Algebra topics extend by working through simple tasks such as factoring binomials and eventually progressing on to finding the product of matrices. Most individuals begin to learn Algebra by adding, subtracting, reducing and simplifying algebraic expressions. They then move on to understanding equivalent fractions, finding ** Least Common Multiples (LCM)** and **converting fractions to decimals**.

## Oh no! It’s Exponents, Radicals and Graphing

There are many higher level themes. First there are powers. A power is the little number placed to the right and slightly above a number or algebraic expression. An example is (x + y)^{3} where the 3 is the power and denotes the power to which that number is raised. The above algebraic expression is expressed as, x plus y to the third power. In working with powers you can add, subtract, multiple or divide them . You can work with **rational and negative exponents**. If that isn’t enough to make your head spin, then you can move on to radicals. A radical, in simple terms, is the reversing of an power. Radical expressions are denoted by the symbol “V” and when placed beside number 4, it is read as square root of 4, which is equal to 2. The opposite exponential equation is 2^2 which is read, 2 to the 2nd power, and equals 4. Equally with exponents, radical expressions can be added, subtracted, multiplied and divided. Radicals can be converted into exponents and exponents back into radicals. If exponents and radicals aren’t enough, there is always graphing. Start with graphing straight lines and determining if the line is horizontal or vertical or something else. Another question to ask is whether the line has an **x-intercept** or a **y-intercept** Can you find the slope of the line? you master the mathematical art of graphing, you will come across a whole new world filled with parabolas and hyperbolas.

## Help is Out There

While you are learning algebra if the terms and concepts seem too much to handle, relax and take a break. There are many resources out there that can help you master quadratic systems of equations, quadratic formulas and polynomials. Look for math tutors or software systems that will walk you through gradual process on how to solve any problem. You can also use algebra calculators or algebra solvers. any of these tools can assist you become an algebra expert in no time.

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