






Section (M–1) gave you the principles of simple algebra. These excercises will give you practice in applying them. Do not expect anything profound or interestingthis is just a drill, like the finger excercises you do if you wish to master a musical instrument, or the parallel parking practice before your driver's test. Do them alldo not leave any out!

(1) Isolate x in each equation and find its value, following the rule that "when equal operations are performed on both sides of an equation, the result is still equal."

To the right of each problem are instructions for solving it, a list of the required operations. The sequence in which they are applied reads from left to right. Write down a new equation for each step. The notation of the instructions is as follows. For operations applied to both sides:
(–6) subtract 6 (*3) multiply by 3 (/5) divide by 5 For other operations: (+/–) add or subtract terms wherever you can (*) multiply terms wherever you can

5+x = 7  (–5) 
x/2 = 3  (*2) 
x/3 + 4 = 8  (–4)(*3) 
4x – 5 = 15  (+5)(/4) 
3x + 6 = 5x  (–3x)(/2) 
[if a teacher insists on unknowns on the left:  (5x)(6)(*1)(/3) ] 
or else, exchange sidesequation remains true! ]  
6x + 4 = 1.5x + 13  (–1.5x)( –4)(/4.5) 
15x – 2 = 6x + 16  (–6x)(+2)(/9) 
21x – 3 = (7x+9)/2  (*2)(–7x)(/5)(/3) 
Note multiplication by (–1) reverses all signs on both sides!

10 – 3x = –2  (–10)(*( –1))(/3) 
1/(x+1) = 2/(x+3)  (*(x+1))(*(x+3)(*)( –x)( –2) 
(x+2)(x+1) = (x+7)(x–1)  (*)(+/–)( –x2)( –2)( –6x)(*( –1)(/3)

7 + 2x = 13 15 + 7x = 1 4x – 3 = 2x 5x – 3 = 1 – 2x
(x/2)+5 = (x/3)+6
2/(3–x) + 1/(2+x) = 0

(15x–5)/(3x–1) = 5 4(3x–5) = 2(6x+7) 5(x–3) = 7x – 15

x + y = 7 Answer: y = 7 – x
All operations are indicated as before, but watch out:
the problems include one badlyposed example.
2x + 3y = 7  (–2x)(/3) 
(3y+1)/(x+2) = –2  (*(x+2))( –1)(/3) 
(4x – 5y –2) = 13  (+2)( –4x)(* –1)(/5) 
(3y + x + 6)/(y–x+2) = 2  (*(y–x+2)) ( –2y)( –x)( –6) 
(y–4x)/(y+x+6) = 1  (*(y+x+6))( –y)( –x)(*( –1))(/5) 
(15x–2y+6) = (y–6)  (–y)( –15x)( –6)(*(–1))(/3) 
(5) Below are pairs of equations involving two unknown numbers, x and y.
Solve each of the sets of equations twice. Solve once by
(b) substituting the expression for y in the other equation, then (c) deriving x, and finally (d) putting that value in the substituted expression and getting y.

(a)  x+3y = 5  2x – y = 3 
(b)  x+y = –1  3x+4y = 2 
(c)  x+34 = 15  3x+y = 5 
(6) Given two equations, marked here I and II, you may also
multiply or divide each equation by any number. You may furthermore add one equation to the other, or subtract it: because the quantities you add or subtract to both sides are equal, what is left is also a valid equality. Here are some examplesthe first is worked out, for the rest just the steps are given. In this notation, II always means the 2nd equation at this stage of the calculationit need not be the original 2nd equation but could have been (say) multiplied by 6. If the instructions just name an operation, it is to be applied to the equation obtained in the preceding step.
5x – 12y = 2 (I)
(II*6) 
–10 – 12y = 2 –12y = 12 12y = –12 y = –1 
To check your result, see if (II) also holds (–3)( –2) + 2(–1) = 4? (4 = 4, result OK) In what follows, only the steps for obtaining one variable are given. On your own, derive also the other variable and check the result.

(a)  3x+4y = 19 (I)  5x + 2y = 13 (II)  (II*2)(II – I)(/7) 
(b)  2x+3y = 5 (I)  3x+2y = 0 (II)  (I*3)(II*2)(I–II)(/5) 
(c)  4x+3y = 16 (I)  3x+5y = 12 (II)  (I*3)(II*4)(II–1)(/11) 
(d)  2x+6y = 34 (I)  5x+2y = 46 (II)  (II*3)(II–1)(/13) 
(e)  3x+5y = 31 (I)  2x–3y = 11 (II)  (I*2)(II*3)(I–II)(/19) 
(7) Now solve on your own:
(a)  2x–3y = 1 (I)  3x+2y = 21 (II) 
(b)  5x–2y = 20 (I)  10x + 3y = 5 (II) 
(c)  6x + 2y = 8 (I)  5x + 4y = 16 (II) 
(d)  3x – 4y = 1 (I)  2x + 3y = –5 (II)

(8) The two most widely used scales for measuring temperature are those introduced by Farenheit (used in the US) and by Celsius (the centigrade scale, used in the rest of the world and by scientists).
Find x and y, given that 100 degrees centigrade (boiling point of water) corresponds to 212 degrees Farenheit, and 0 degrees centigrade (freezing point of water) corresponds to 32 degrees Farenheit. (b) Using the solution of (a)at what temperature C = F?

Next Stop: #M–2 AlKhorezmi and the Dawn of Algebra
Author and Curator: Dr. David P. Stern
Mail to Dr.Stern: stargaze("at" symbol)phy6.org .
Last updated 25 November 2001
Curators: Robert Candey, Alex Young, Tamara Kovalick
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