## Algebra Math Tutoring

There are common questions that students have in algebra. We answer a couple here on the following topics:

We are willing to answer other questions for you. Click on the "Contact Us" tab above and we will post an answer.

My teacher taught us a method she called “guess and check” or “trial and error”. It is so confusing and I have trouble if the coefficients are big especially if the coefficient of the first term is other than 1. Do you know an easy way?

Yes, I do.We will use **factoring by grouping **sometimes called the**“box**** method”**.You will look at the factors of ac that add to b.Then factor by grouping or arrange the terms in a box and factor.It works ever time.

Let us look at an example:Factor 2x^{2} – 15x + 18.Notice a = 2, b = -15, and c = 18.

Step 1: Calculate ac = 36 where b = -15

Step 2:Find the factors of ac = 36.They are:

1 and 36

- 1 and - 36

2 and 18

- 2 and - 18

3 and 12

- 3 and - 12

4 and 9

- 4 and - 9

Step 3: The only pair that adds to – 15 is **-** 3 and – 12.Write the polynomial as 2x^{2} **– **3x – 12x+ 18 .

Step 4: **Factor by grouping**: Put the first two terms in parentheses and the last two terms separated by a plus sign. ( 2x^{2} – 3x) + ( – 12x+ 18).

Factor a common factor out of the first grouping and a common factor from the last grouping:

x ( 2x – 3) + ( - 6) ( 2x - 3).(Notice we factored (- 6) from the last two terms.)

**Then your answer is (x – 6 )( 2x – 3)**

**Example on your own:**

Do you want to try one?Factor 3x^{2} + 10x – 8 following the steps above.

Solution:The product of ac = -24 and the factors you should have selected were - 2 and 12.

The polynomial you will then factor by grouping is 3x^{2} – 2x + 12x – 8 .

Your solution after factoring by grouping is (3x – 2)(x + 4)

Zach asks, "In using the **distributive property** to simplify algebraic expressions do I distribute or add first. For example, do I subtract 8 - 9 first in 8 - 9 (7 - 5 x )?"

Zach, always remember **PEMDAS **(Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally) for the "order of operations" with algebraic operations. We do multiplication and division before addition and subtraction. Therefore, use the distributive property with multiplication **BEFORE** subtracting 8 - 9. To make things easier for you, consider multiplying by - 9. Your simplification will look like this:

8 - 9 (7 - 5 x )

= 8 - 9 (7) + (- 9 ) ( - 5)

= 8 - 63 + 45

Now add (subtract) left to right and you have:

= - 55 + 45

= - 10

Mason asks, "Are there good **algebra videos**?"

Mason, there are great algebra videos at Khan Academy. Click on http://www.khanacademy.org/. Then scroll down the page to the following topics:

Algebra: Videos from beginning Algebra through Algebra II (Data Math).

Algebra I Worked Examples: Sample problems worked from Algebra I.

Developmental Math 2: Oodles of worked examples from Algebra through Algebra II

ck12.org Algebra I Examples: Great review topics to make sure you understand Algebra I topics.

STILL NEED HELP? Our tutors are here to help you. Just contact us right now for help. Either register and log in at the left or click on the Contact Tab at the top of the page! BOOK YOUR FREE CONSULTATION RIGHT NOW!