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There are several tips to help you keep track of algebraic expressions.
What was that variable?
It's a good idea to write down what your variables mean. For example, write
this equation: Today a boy is twice as old as he was 4 years ago.
Let b = the boy's age today
b = 2 (b  4 years)
b = 2b  8 years
b = 8 years
The boy is 8 years old today. A common mistake would be to get confused whether the answer was the age today or 4 years ago. Of course, this is a simple example, but as your equations get more complicated, it is very important to keep track of what your variables represent.
Units
Remember to include units. If you have a realworld
problem that uses units, keeping the units in the equation will help you figure
it out.
For example, write this expression  The cost was $2.00 less than half of $5.00
Let x = the cost
x = 1/2 ($5.00)  $2.00
x = $2.50  $2.00
x = $0.50 or fifty cents
Without the units, It would be easy to lose track of what the answer of .5 meant. Again, this is a simple example, but as things get more complicated, it's important to keep units straight.
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