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How to be better at getting signs, and letters right in algebra?

by Tyrion101
Tags: algebra, letters, signs
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Sep15-13, 08:18 PM
P: 147
I got a b in my last math test and the ONLY reason I missed the questions I missed was because of sign errors. I almost missed a few more from almost not catching that I put the wrong letter down as part of an answer. It is ALWAYS why I get a question wrong. Is it something I'm just bad at or can I get better at it?
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Sep15-13, 08:22 PM
P: 149
Something that helps me: even if the problem seems easy and straightforward, work the problem through slowly. Be very meticulous with checking signs and just take your time. I know for me, if something looks very simple, I do it too quickly and make stupid mistakes. Take your time, be very meticulous, and check over all of your work. I.e. make sure your answer makes sense. Also, with algebra, once you get an answer, you can plug it back in and check the answer. If the sign is off, when you plug it back in to check, the answer will be wrong.
Sep15-13, 09:52 PM
HW Helper
PF Gold
P: 2,841
PRACTICE! Study the same material a second or third time. PRACTICE MORE.

What you are experiencing is normal. When you later improve, you may still find that you make the same type of mistakes. Some of this can be improved if you just read a little more carefully. Rechecking your work is also useful for catching some mistakes.

Sep16-13, 12:13 AM
P: 362
How to be better at getting signs, and letters right in algebra?

When you work above your level, you make careless mistakes. When you work below, you don't. Practice more and you won't make as many mistakes.
A David
Sep16-13, 01:02 AM
P: 30
A lot of sign errors can be avoided by using parenthesis a lot when working with multiple terms.
Sep16-13, 01:34 PM
Sci Advisor
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P: 12,016
Make fewer operations per line of calculation.
Sep16-13, 03:54 PM
P: 126
I had some sloppiness problems with my algebra when I left high school. I don't know if the same causes yours, but one thing that helped me was writing my problems out more neatly in addition to the suggestions above. I thanked myself a lot once my more advanced classes came around.

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