GCSE Maths Revision: Simplifying Algebra

4th April 2017

GCSE Maths Revision made easy


ALGEBRA - Simplifying Algebra


Algebra is a massive part of maths and can often be quite confusing. We can sometimes be given long complicated algebraic expressions that we’re expected to solve. Here we’re going to go through how you simplify algebra and make these complicated equations easier to handle in your GCSE maths exams.


We will go through an example to show you how a complicated expressions can be simplified.


Example: 2x2 - 4x + 7x2 + 1 + 9x + 8


To simplify this expression we have to collect like terms. This means we have to group the terms that are the same.


In our example all the x2 terms will go together, as well as the x terms and the single digits.


First let’s group the x2 terms:

  • This changes 2x2 - 4x + 7x2 + 1 + 9x + 8 into 9x2 - 4x + 1 + 9x + 8


Then let’s collect the x terms together:

  • This changes 9x2 - 4x + 1 + 9x + 8 into 9x2 + 5x + 1 + 8


And finally let’s collect the single digits together:

  • This changes 9x2 + 5x + 1 + 8 into 9x2 + 5x + 9


We have now simplified 2x2 - 4x + 7x2 + 1 + 9x + 8 to 9x2 + 5x + 9.


Remember to always carry through the functions of each of the terms. Try not to muddle up which terms are negative and which terms are positive.

Simplifying algebra is a crucial part of the new GCSE maths syllabus and because of this should be a crucial part of your revision. We’ve written a song about simplifying algebra which can help you remember all that we’ve gone through here - make sure you have a listen!


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