How to Teach Yourself Elementary Algebra

Algebra is a useful skill to learn.

Once you’ve learned the basics of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and fractions, you’re ready to tackle algebra. The goal of algebra is to solve an equation to find an unknown variable. Elementary algebra specifically deals with the linear equation form y = mx + b. Whether you’re learning algebra for the first time or relearning this forgotten skill, algebra is a useful topic to study, and you’ll find it has countless applications in your day-to-day life that make learning it worth your time.

Obtain some form of learning aid. Algebra textbooks are typically good learning aids. However, you may want to get one meant for people who want to teach themselves algebra, as opposed to a book intended for students in a traditional classroom setting.

Dedicate time from your schedule to teaching yourself algebra. Having a set amount of time each day or each week will help you stay motivated and on task. Be consistent with the timing of your study sessions so you will get into a productive mental state quickly for each session.

Set learning goals for yourself. Decide when you want to study each topic. It may be helpful to write down a lesson plan for yourself. Since you’re teaching yourself the information and skills necessary to master algebra, you can set your own pace and be certain you understand each topic fully before moving on to the next.

Practice your skills often. If your book includes numerous sample problems at the end of each new topic, do as many as you can until you feel you really understand the concepts and the procedures involved.

  • If you are the type of person who learns best when someone else teaches you, you may want to enroll in an algebra course or hire a tutor to instruct you. Teaching yourself a new skill is not an effective learning method for everyone.
  • Enlisting the help of a friend who has already mastered algebra can be an invaluable tool. Ask them for help on topics you are unclear about, and see if they will quiz you to test your knowledge.
  • 1 “Teach Yourself Algebra;” P. Abbott; 2003
  • 2 “Practical Algebra: A Self-Teaching Guide;” Peter H. Selby; 1991