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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Solve equations using a general strategy
  • Classify equations

Before you get started, take this readiness quiz.

  1. Simplify: ( a 4 ) .
    If you missed this problem, review [link] .
  2. Multiply: 3 2 ( 12 x + 20 ) .
    If you missed this problem, review [link] .
  3. Simplify: 5 2 ( n + 1 ) .
    If you missed this problem, review [link] .
  4. Multiply: 3 ( 7 y + 9 ) .
    If you missed this problem, review [link] .
  5. Multiply: ( 2.5 ) ( 6.4 ) .
    If you missed this problem, review [link] .

Solve equations using the general strategy

Until now we have dealt with solving one specific form of a linear equation. It is time now to lay out one overall strategy that can be used to solve any linear equation. Some equations we solve will not require all these steps to solve, but many will.

Beginning by simplifying each side of the equation makes the remaining steps easier.

How to solve linear equations using the general strategy

Solve: −6 ( x + 3 ) = 24 .

Solution

This figure is a table that has three columns and five rows. The first column is a header column, and it contains the names and numbers of each step. The second column contains further written instructions. The third column contains math. On the top row of the table, the first cell on the left reads: “Step 1. Simplify each side of the equation as much as possible.” The text in the second cell reads: “Use the Distributive Property. Notice that each side of the equation is simplified as much as possible.” The third cell contains the equation negative 6 times x plus 3, where x plus 3 is in parentheses, equals 24. Below this is the same equation with the negative 6 distributed across the parentheses: negative 6x minus 18 equals 24. In the second row of the table, the first cell says: “Step 2. Collect all variable terms on one side of the equation.” In the second cell, the instructions say: “Nothing to do—all x’s are on the left side. The third cell is blank. In the third row of the table, the first cell says: “Step 3. Collect constant terms on the other side of the equation. In the second cell, the instructions say: “To get constants only on the right, add 18 to each side. Simplify.” The third cell contains the same equation with 18 added to both sides: negative 6x minus 18 plus 18 equals 24 plus 18. Below this is the equation negative 6x equals 42. In the fourth row of the table, the first cell says: “Step 4. Make the coefficient of the variable term equal to 1.” In the second cell, the instructions say: “Divide each side by negative 6. Simplify. The third cell contains the same equation divided by negative 6 on both sides: negative 6x over negative 6 equals 42 over negative 6, with “divided by negative 6” written in red on both sides. Below this is the answer to the equation: x equals negative 7. In the fifth row of the table, the first cell says: “Step 5. Check the solution.” In the second cell, the instructions say: “Let x equal negative 7. Simplify. Multiply.” In the third cell, there is the instruction: “Check,” and to the right of this is the original equation again: negative 6 times x plus 3, with x plus 3 in parentheses, equal 24. Below this is the same equation with negative 7 substituted in for x: negative 6 times negative 7 plus 3, with negative 7 plus 3 in parentheses, might equal 24. Below this is the equation negative 6 times negative 4 might equal 24. Below this is the equation 24 equals 24, with a check mark next to it.
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Solve: 5 ( x + 3 ) = 35 .

x = 4

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Solve: 6 ( y 4 ) = −18 .

y = 1

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General strategy for solving linear equations.

  1. Simplify each side of the equation as much as possible.
    Use the Distributive Property to remove any parentheses.
    Combine like terms.
  2. Collect all the variable terms on one side of the equation.
    Use the Addition or Subtraction Property of Equality.
  3. Collect all the constant terms on the other side of the equation.
    Use the Addition or Subtraction Property of Equality.
  4. Make the coefficient of the variable term to equal to 1.
    Use the Multiplication or Division Property of Equality.
    State the solution to the equation.
  5. Check the solution. Substitute the solution into the original equation to make sure the result is a true statement.

Solve: ( y + 9 ) = 8 .

Solution

.
Simplify each side of the equation as much as possible by distributing. .
The only y term is on the left side, so all variable terms are on the left side of the equation.
Add 9 to both sides to get all constant terms on the right side of the equation. .
Simplify. .
Rewrite y as −1 y . .
Make the coefficient of the variable term to equal to 1 by dividing both sides by −1 . .
Simplify. .
Check: .
Let y = −17 . .
.
.
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Solve: ( y + 8 ) = −2 .

y = −6

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Solve: ( z + 4 ) = −12 .

z = 8

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Solve: 5 ( a 3 ) + 5 = −10 .

Solution

.
Simplify each side of the equation as much as possible.
Distribute. .
Combine like terms. .
The only a term is on the left side, so all variable terms are on one side of the equation.
Add 10 to both sides to get all constant terms on the other side of the equation. .
Simplify. .
Make the coefficient of the variable term to equal to 1 by dividing both sides by 5 . .
Simplify. .
Check: .
Let a = 0 . .
.
.
.
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Solve: 2 ( m 4 ) + 3 = −1 .

m = 2

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Solve: 7 ( n 3 ) 8 = −15 .

n = 2

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Solve: 2 3 ( 6 m 3 ) = 8 m .

Solution

.
Distribute. .
Add m to get the variables only to the left. .
Simplify. .
Add 2 to get constants only on the right. .
Simplify. .
Divide by 5 . .
Simplify. .
Check: .
Let m = 2 . .
.
.
.
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Solve: 1 3 ( 6 u + 3 ) = 7 u .

u = 2

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Solve: 2 3 ( 9 x 12 ) = 8 + 2 x .

x = 4

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Solve: 8 2 ( 3 y + 5 ) = 0 .

Solution

.
Simplify—use the Distributive Property. .
Combine like terms. .
Add 2 to both sides to collect constants on the right. .
Simplify. .
Divide both sides by −6 . .
Simplify. .
Check: Let y = 1 3 .
.
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Solve: 12 3 ( 4 j + 3 ) = −17 .

j = 5 3

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Solve: −6 8 ( k 2 ) = −10 .

k = 5 2

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Solve: 4 ( x 1 ) 2 = 5 ( 2 x + 3 ) + 6 .

Solution

.
Distribute. .
Combine like terms. .
Subtract 4 x to get the variables only on the right side since 10 > 4 . .
Simplify. .
Subtract 21 to get the constants on left. .
Simplify. .
Divide by 6. .
Simplify. .
Check: .
Let x = 9 2 . .
.
.
.
.
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Questions & Answers

the proudact of 3x^3-5×^2+3 and 2x^2+5x-4 in z7[x]/ is
anas Reply
?
Choli
a rock is thrown directly upward with an initial velocity of 96feet per second from a cliff 190 feet above a beach. The hight of tha rock above the beach after t second is given by the equation h=_16t^2+96t+190
Usman
Stella bought a dinette set on sale for $725. The original price was $1,299. To the nearest tenth of a percent, what was the rate of discount?
Manhwa Reply
44.19%
Scott
40.22%
Terence
44.2%
Orlando
p mulripied-5 and add 30 to it
Tausif Reply
p mulripied-5 and add30
Tausif
p mulripied-5 and addto30
Tausif
Can you explain further
Monica Reply
p mulripied-5 and add to 30
Tausif
How do you find divisible numbers without a calculator?
Jacob Reply
TAKE OFF THE LAST DIGIT AND MULTIPLY IT 9. SUBTRACT IT THE DIGITS YOU HAVE LEFT. IF THE ANSWER DIVIDES BY 13(OR IS ZERO), THEN YOUR ORIGINAL NUMBER WILL ALSO DIVIDE BY 13!IS DIVISIBLE BY 13
BAINAMA
When she graduates college, Linda will owe $43,000 in student loans. The interest rate on the federal loans is 4.5% and the rate on the private bank loans is 2%. The total interest she owes for one year was $1,585. What is the amount of each loan?
Ariana Reply
Sean took the bus from Seattle to Boise, a distance of 506 miles. If the trip took 7 2/3 hours, what was the speed of the bus?
Kirisma Reply
66miles/hour
snigdha
How did you work it out?
Esther
s=mi/hr 2/3~0.67 s=506mi/7.67hr = ~66 mi/hr
Orlando
hello, I have algebra phobia. Subtracting negative numbers always seem to get me confused.
Alicia Reply
what do you need help in?
Felix
subtracting a negative....is adding!!
Heather
look at the numbers if they have different signs, it's like subtracting....but you keep the sign of the largest number...
Felix
for example.... -19 + 7.... different signs...subtract.... 12 keep the sign of the "largest" number 19 is bigger than 7.... 19 has the negative sign... Therefore, -12 is your answer...
Felix
—12
Niazmohammad
Thanks Felix.l also get confused with signs.
Esther
Thank you for this
Shatey
ty
Graham
think about it like you lost $19 (-19), then found $7(+7). Totally you lost just $12 (-12)
Annushka
I used to struggle a lot with negative numbers and math in general what I typically do is look at it in terms of money I have -$5 in my account I then take out 5 more dollars how much do I have in my account well-$10 ... I also for a long time would draw it out on a number line to visualize it
Meg
practicing with smaller numbers to understand then working with larger numbers helps too and the song/rhyme same sign add and keep opposite signs subtract keep the sign of the bigger # then you'll be exact
Meg
Bruce drives his car for his job. The equation R=0.575m+42 models the relation between the amount in dollars, R, that he is reimbursed and the number of miles, m, he drives in one day. Find the amount Bruce is reimbursed on a day when he drives 220 miles
John Reply
168.50=R
Heather
john is 5years older than wanjiru.the sum of their years is27years.what is the age of each
achol Reply
46
mustee
j 17 w 11
Joseph
john is 16. wanjiru is 11.
Felix
27-5=22 22÷2=11 11+5=16
Joyce
where's the answers?
Ed Reply
I don't see where the answers are.
Ed
Cindy and Richard leave their dorm in Charleston at the same time. Cindy rides her bicycle north at a speed of 18 miles per hour. Richard rides his bicycle south at a speed of 14 miles per hour. How long will it take them to be 96 miles apart?
Maddy Reply
3
Christopher
18t+14t=96 32t=96 32/96 3
Christopher
show that a^n-b^2n is divisible by a-b
Florence Reply
What does 3 times your weight right now
Cherokee Reply
Use algebra to combine 39×5 and the half sum of travel of 59+30
Cherokee
What is the segment of 13? Explain
Cherokee
my weight is 49. So 3 times is 147
Cherokee
kg to lbs you goin to convert 2.2 or one if the same unit your going to time your body weight by 3. example if my body weight is 210lb. what would be my weight if I was 3 times as much in kg. that's you do 210 x3 = 630lb. then 630 x 2.2= .... hope this helps
tyler
How to convert grams to pounds?
paul
What is the lcm of 340
Kendra Reply
Yes
Cherokee
Practice Key Terms 3

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Source:  OpenStax, Elementary algebra. OpenStax CNX. Jan 18, 2017 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12116/1.2
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