Chapter 1

Beginning at the Beginning of Algebra


Bullet Recognizing and using the rules of algebra

Bullet Adding products to your list

Bullet Raising your exponential power and taming radicals

Bullet Looking at special products and factoring

Algebra is a branch of mathematics that people study before they move on to other areas or branches of mathematics and science. For example, you use the processes and mechanics of algebra in calculus to complete the study of change; you use algebra in probability and statistics to study averages and expectations; and you use algebra in chemistry to solve equations involving chemicals.

Any study of science or mathematics involves rules and patterns. You approach the subject with the rules and patterns you already know, and you build on them with further study. And any discussion of algebra presumes that you’re using the correct notation and terminology.

Going into a bit more detail, the basics of algebra include rules for dealing with equations, rules for using and combining terms with exponents, patterns to use when factoring expressions, and a general order ...

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