Online College Courses for Credit



Author: Christine Ngooi

Simplifying Expressions

An expression is a mathematical “phrase.” Expressions contain numbers and variables, but not an equal sign. An equation has an “equal” sign.  

When we simplify an expression, we work until there are as few terms as possible. This process makes the expression easier to use, (that’s why it’s called “simplify”). The first thing we want to do when simplifying an expression is to combine like terms. 


An equation has an equal sign. The goal of solving equations is to get the variable by itself, to SOLVE for x =. In order to do this, we must “undo” what was done to the problem initially. Follow reverse order of operations – look for addition/subtraction first, then multiplication/division, then exponents, and parenthesis. The important rule when solving an equation is to always do to one side of the equal sign what we do to the other. 

See More

Try Our College Algebra Course. For FREE.

Sophia’s self-paced online courses are a great way to save time and money as you earn credits eligible for transfer to many different colleges and universities.*

Begin Free Trial
No credit card required

29 Sophia partners guarantee credit transfer.

314 Institutions have accepted or given pre-approval for credit transfer.

* The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE Credit®) has evaluated and recommended college credit for 26 of Sophia’s online courses. Many different colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs.



Simple Algebra Review