Chapter 22

Solving Algebra Word Problems

Algebra was invented to solve problems that can occur in the real world, so knowing how to solve equations is only half of the picture. In this chapter, you solve algebra word problems, which test your ability not only to solve equations but to set them up.

The Problems You’ll Work On

Solving an algebra word problem means constructing an equation that makes sense of the jumble of information the problem contains. The problems that follow help to build the skills you need, such as:

Declaring a variable to represent a numerical value

Creating algebraic expressions to express values

Constructing algebraic equations to solve word problems

Building word problem solving skills to solve harder problems

What to Watch Out For

The key to solving an algebra word problem is clarity: Read the problem carefully so that you’re clear what the problem is telling you. Then choose a variable that allows you to represent all the necessary values in the problem as expressions. Here are a few tips to help you read algebra word problems and set up algebraic equations ...