Algebra is essentially basic math (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) that also uses letters of the alphabet to represent certain unknown values, called **variables**. You probably already know most of the operation symbols you will need to know to answer the algebra questions on the GED math test, such as + – x and ÷. The only additional symbols you will need to know pertain to multiplication and division.

2 **· **a

2(a)

2a

All of the above mean the same thing: 2 times a.

You might run into the term **coefficient.** This is the number next to a variable, the 2 in 2a above, and it just means a number you multiply a variable by. If there is a variable without a number next to it, then the coefficient is understood to be 1.

a = 1a

For division you might see ÷, as in 2 ÷ a (2 divided by a) or a division step might be represented as a fraction:

More about the algebra you will need to know for the GED math test:

Algebraic Expressions

Equations

Simplifying Complex Equations

Using Algebra to Solve Word Problems

Inequalities

Coordinate Grids

Finding the Distance Between Two Points on a Coordinate Grid

Finding the Slope of a Line

Multiplying Algebraic Expressions

Finding the Greatest Common Factor

Factoring by Grouping

Factoring to Reverse FOIL

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