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Some people like to work on algebraic problems, and others consider algebra to be the problem, so there are algebra pros and cons. Fortunately, even though it might seem a bit scary at first, algebra does not have to be terribly overwhelming. If you acquaint yourself with the subject matter, then you may feel much more comfortable with it.

What is Algebra?

SyracuseUniversity defines algebra as “a branch of mathematics that uses mathematical statements to describe relationships between things that vary over time.” All of these words might be a little bit confusing to you. Essentially, algebra seeks to show practical relationships in the world. While the situations and the numbers you input might change, the formulas stay the same. Therefore, they allow you to solve real-world problems.

Algebra Pros and Cons and the Real Life Benefits of Algebra

Even after reading through that definition, the subject matter might alarm you. Let’s take a simple algebraic equation and figure out why it could be of help. 5x=1,520 is an algebraic equation. Imagine that you and four friends are going on vacation, and you need to figure out how much money each person owes. The total amount is \$1,520. By setting up the formula 5x=1,520, you can see that in order to figure it out, you simply need to divide both sides by five. As a result, you will now that each person owes \$304 for the trip. These equations can be much more elaborate too.

Why People Dislike Algebra

Individuals dislike algebra for a host of reasons, and the specific reasons you have are going to ultimately depend on you. However, one of the biggest problems is that letters are now being brought into the equation.

Some people have enough trouble dealing with numbers by themselves, and the letters are even more overwhelming. Looking at an algebraic equation can be frightening, but once it is broken down, the viewer realizes that it is not all that terrifying at all. Another problem might be a resistance to learning new concepts. As a result of this resistance and fear, algebra takes on a bad reputation. Older students pass this reputation onto younger ones, and the cycle just continues.

Getting Help in the Subject

Some students need to ask for help when they are studying with algebra. Many teachers offer extra-help sessions, especially when an examination is coming up. Students should take advantage of these offers for help. Additionally, most schools have some sort of tutoring program in place, and students who excel in math can help out the ones who are struggling. If you feel that your child is not getting the help that he or she needs in math, it is possible to hire a tutor or to speak with the teacher about other possibilities for more learning.

At some point in your school life, you are likely going to have to take an algebra class or two. Prepare yourself by previewing some of the material and don’t judge the subject based on what you might have heard others say because the algebra pros and cons do exist. If you feel uncomfortable with what you preview, acknowledge that and ask for some help.

Julie Boivin is a certified teaching specialist with Huntiongton Helps (provides Algebra help). She understands algebra pros and cons and helps students who struggle with algebra succeed.