Like what you saw?
Create FREE Account and:
 Watch all FREE content in 21 subjects(388 videos for 23 hours)
 FREE advice on how to get better grades at school from an expert
 Attend and watch FREE live webinar on useful topics
Simplifying Expressions and Combining Like Terms  Problem 1
FREEAlissa Fong
Alissa Fong
MA, Stanford University
Teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area
Alissa is currently a teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area and Brightstorm users love her clear, concise explanations of tough concepts
Simplify an algebraic expression by combining like terms. Like terms have the same variable raised to the same exponent (or power). Identify the like terms by their variable form, then combine the coefficients. Remember when combining like terms that only the coefficients are combined, the variable form stays the same. A variable expression is in its simplest form when there are no more like terms to combine.
This problem tells me to combine like terms but I would do the same process and I would get the same answer if the directions said simplify the expression. Those are the same kinds of instructions and what you want to do when you're combining like terms is look for the same variables raised to the same exponents.
Like first, I'm given an xÂ² so let's try to mark all the x squares and combine them. There's an xÂ², there's another xÂ² term and that's it. All together I have xÂ² plus 4xÂ² so I have 5xÂ². The next thing I'm going to look for is the regular Xs. So there is a regular x and there's another regular x. Be really careful that I'm including the coefficients the 3 and the 2, 3 take away 2x is +1x. You don't have to write the 1, you can just write +x.
The last thing I haven't dealt with yet is what's called the constant term that 9, just +9 at the end there. So before you try these problems. One thing that I've done here, a strategy that I personally use is I use different markings like you see I underline the xÂ²'s. I circled the Xs and then I just left the constants the same. For me personally that helps me to visually organize. I also can make sure that every term that I've given has been accounted for. I've counted if it's an xÂ² it was added to the xÂ²'s or whatever.
So when you're combining like terms look for the exponents and the variables. Make sure you don't lose the coefficients especially if they have a negative sign.
Please enter your name.
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Alissa Fong
M.A. in Secondary Mathematics, Stanford University
B.S., Stanford University
Alissa has a quirky sense of humor and a relatable personality that make it easy for students to pay attention and understand the material. She has all the math tips and tricks students are looking for.
Your tutorials are good and you have a personality as well. I hope you have more advanced college level stuff, because I like the way you teach.”
Thanks alot for such great lectures... I never found learning this easier ever before... keep up the great work.... :)”
You seem so kind, it's awesome. Easier to learn from people who seem to be rooting for ya!' thanks”
Sample Problems (7)
Need help with a problem?
Watch expert teachers solve similar problems.

Simplifying Expressions and Combining Like Terms
Problem 1 21,221 viewsCombine like terms:
x² + 3x + 4x² + 9 − 2x 
Simplifying Expressions and Combining Like Terms
Problem 2 16,153 viewsSimplify:
3(x − 1) + 4x 
Simplifying Expressions and Combining Like Terms
Problem 3 11,349 viewsFind the simplified form of the perimeter of

Simplifying Expressions and Combining Like Terms
Problem 4 562 views 
Simplifying Expressions and Combining Like Terms
Problem 5 488 views 
Simplifying Expressions and Combining Like Terms
Problem 6 433 views 
Simplifying Expressions and Combining Like Terms
Problem 7 503 views
Comments (1)
Please Sign in or Sign up to add your comment.
·
Delete
hello · 1 month ago
Thank you so much!!!