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## GMAT Algebra Basics

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There's a time and a place for GMAT practice problems. Of course, there are a lot of times and places for GMAT practice problems. But if it's been a long time since you did algebra, or you were never that good at it in the first place, you'll be a lot better off learning the material before trying to handle the myriad complexities that practice questions will throw at you.

Unfortunately, many remedial options for learning algebra and geometry are not terribly applicable to the GMAT. I've looked through a lot of textbooks, "dummies" books, and more, and never found anything that really suited the purpose at hand. However, there is an online textbook that provides a slew of practice on many of the most important algebra concepts.

I spent some time yesterday going through the practice sets it offers, and found those that would be of the most help to those of you reminding yourself how to do basic algebra. Best of all, most of the practice sets start with a few examples fully worked out. Follow the links, scroll to the bottom of each page, and go to the practice sets that I specify.

- Working with equations, including distribution and negative numbers: 1.7, 1.8.
- Solving one-variable linear equations and inequalities: 2.1-2.3, 2.6. 2.7. (Also: word problems, 2.4.)
- Quadratic equations: 4.6 (first several), 4.8; also here: 5.1-5.5 (#'s 1, 5, 6, 7, 9, 14, 16, 17, 18, 21, 23, 25, 29, 31, 33), 5.7 (first page)
- Multi-variable systems of equations: 8.2/8.3. (Also: word problems, 8.2-8.4.)
- Equations involving square roots: 9.2, 9.3, 9.4.

Usually, when I discuss math strategies on this site, I'm taking all this material for granted. That doesn't mean that you should too: if you aren't 100% comfortable solving 2-variable equations, or factoring a binomial, or dealing with square roots, spend the time–right away!–and fill in those gaps. Once you do, the higher-level tips will make a lot more sense and help you on a wider range of questions.

**About the author:** *Jeff Sackmann has written many
GMAT preparation books, including the popular Total GMAT Math,
Total GMAT Verbal, and GMAT 111. He has also created
explanations for problems in The Official Guide, as well as
1,800 practice GMAT math questions.*

Total GMAT Math
The comprehensive guide to the GMAT Quant section. It's "far and away the best study material
available," including over 300 realistic practice questions and more than 500 exercises! |