When we solve algebraic equations, our aim is to end up with one letter on one side of the equals sign and one number on the other. This is the solution.

We do this by using inverse operations to undo things that get in the way, but remember that we must do the same thing to both sides.

**Example**

5b + 3 = 23

**Answer**

Subtract 3 from both sides.

5b + 3 - 3 = 23 - 3

Simplify

5b = 20

Divide both sides by 5

5b ÷ 5 = 20 ÷ 5

Simplify

**b = 4**

**Example**

b/5 - 3 = 17

**Answer**

Add 3 to both sides.

b/5 - 3 + 3 = 17 + 3

Simplify

b/5 = 20

Multiply both sides by 5

b ÷ 5 x 5 = 20 x 5

Simplify

**b = 100**

**Example**

Solve for a

5 - a = 10

**Answer**

Add a to both sides.

5 - a + a = 10 + a

Simplify

5 = 10 + a

Subtract 10 from both sides.

5 -10 = 10 - 10 + a

Simplify

-5 = a

**a = -5**

**Want a bit more help with this before you begin? Why not watch this short video?**