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Learning Objectives

After completing this tutorial, you should be able to:


1. Solve linear equations by using a combination of simplifying and using
various properties of equality.

Introduction
Knowing how to solve linear equations will open the door to being able to work a
lot of other types of problems that you will encounter in your various algebra
classes. It is very important to have this concept down before moving ahead.
Make sure that you do not sever the mystery of finding your variable, but work
through some of these types of problems until you have this concept down.

Tutorial

Strategy for Solving a Linear Equation


Step 1: Simplify each side, if needed.
This would involve things like removing ( ), removing fractions, removing
decimals, and adding like terms.

Step 1: Simplify each side, if needed.


This would involve things like removing ( ), removing fractions,
removing decimals, and adding like terms.
To remove ( ): Just use the distributive property found
To remove fractions: Since fractions are another way to write division,
and the inverse of divide is to multiply, you remove fractions by
multiplying both sides by the LCD of all of your fractions

Step 2: Use Add./Sub. Properties to move the variable term to one


side and all other terms to the other side.

Step 3: Use Mult./Div. Properties to remove any values that are in


front of the variable.
Step 4: Check your answer.
I find this is the quickest and easiest way to approach linear equations.

Example 1: Solve the equation

*Inverse of add. 10 is sub. 10


*Inverse of mult. by -3 is div. by -3

Be careful going from line 4 to line 5. Yes, there is a negative sign.


But, the operation between the -3 and x is multiplication not
subtraction. So if you were to add 3 to both sides you would have
ended up with -3x + 3 instead of the desired x.
If you put 1 back in for x in the original problem you will see that 1 is
the solution we are looking for.

Example 2: Solve the equation

*Remove ( ) by using dist. prop.


*Get all x terms on one side
*Inverse of add. 3 is sub. 3

*Inverse of mult. by -1 is div. by -1

If you put 9 back in for x in the original problem you will see that 9 is
the solution we are looking for.

Example 3: Solve the equation

..

*To get rid of the fractions,


mult. both sides by the LCD of 4
*Get all the x terms on one side
*Inverse of add. 2 is sub. 2

*Inverse of mult. by -3 is div. by -3

Example 4: Solve the equation

*To get rid of the decimals,


mult. both sides by 100
*Get all the y terms on one side
*Inverse of sub. 20 is add 20

*Inverse of mult. by 20 is div. by 20

If you put 3/2 back in for y in the original problem you will see that 3/2
is the solution we are looking for.

Contradiction
A contradiction is an equation with one
variable that has no solution.

Example 5: Solve the equation

*Remove ( ) by using dist. prop.


*Get all the x terms on one side

Practice Problems
4

Solve the given equation.

1a.

1b.

1c.

1d.

SOLVING EQUATIONS
This section illustrates the process of solving equations of various forms. It also shows
you how to check your answer three different ways: algebraically, graphically, and using
the concept of equivalence. The following table is a partial list of typical equations.
LINEAR EQUATIONS - Solve for x in the following equations.
1. x - 4 = 10

2. 2x - 4 = 10

3. 5x - 6 = 3x - 8

4.

5.
6)

2(3x - 7) + 4 (3 x + 2) = 6 (5 x + 9 ) + 3

EQUATIONS INVOLVING FRACTIONS - Solve for x in the following equations.

1.

2.

3.

4.