### Learning Objectives

- Solve multi-step equations
- Use properties of equality to isolate variables and solve algebraic equation.

## Use properties of equality to isolate variables and solve algebraic equations

There are some **equations** that you can solve in your head quickly. For example—what is the value of *y* in the equation [latex]2y=6[/latex]? Chances are you didn’t need to get out a pencil and paper to calculate that [latex]y=3[/latex]. You only needed to do one thing to get the answer: divide 6 by 2.

Other equations are more complicated. Solving [latex]\displaystyle 4\left( \frac{1}{3}t+\frac{1}{2}\right)=6[/latex] without writing anything down is difficult! That’s because this equation contains not just a **variable** but also fractions and **terms** inside parentheses. This is a **multi-step equation**, one that takes several steps to solve. Although multi-step equations take more time and more operations, they can still be simplified and solved by applying basic algebraic rules.

Remember that you can think of an equation as a balance scale, with the goal being to rewrite the equation so that it is easier to solve but still balanced. The **addition property of equality** and the **multiplication property of equality** explain how you can keep the scale, or the equation, balanced. Whenever you perform an operation to one side of the equation, if you perform the same exact operation to the other side, you’ll keep both sides of the equation equal.

If the equation is in the form [latex]ax+b=c[/latex], where *x* is the variable, you can solve the equation as before. First “undo” the addition and subtraction, and then “undo” the multiplication and division.

### Example

Solve [latex]3y+2=11[/latex].

In the following video we show examples of solving two step linear equations.

### Example

Solve [latex]3x+5x+4-x+7=88[/latex].

In the following video, we show an example of solving a linear equation that requires combining like terms.

Some equations may have the variable on both sides of the equal sign, as in this equation: [latex]4x-6=2x+10[/latex].

To solve this equation, we need to “move” one of the variable terms. This can make it difficult to decide which side to work with. It doesn’t matter which term gets moved, [latex]4x[/latex] or [latex]2x[/latex], however, to avoid negative coefficients, you can move the smaller term.

### Examples

Solve: [latex]4x-6=2x+10[/latex]

In this video, we show an example of solving equations that have variables on both sides of the equal sign.