Overview of Algebra

First off, we’re sorry. But you can expect Algebra to be a really tough class! Many students struggle with Algebra. It is the most common class that we are asked to help students with. In this post, we are going to explore a little about the history of Algebra. We will then transition into what you can expect from the course — and the resources you will find on our site as well. 

History of Algebra

It is widely agreed that the history of Algebra traces its roots back to ancient Babylon. The Babylonians had developed an advanced numerical system and used it to approximate the solution to difficult problems. The Babylonian Algebra is notable for how advanced it was. It was significantly more advanced than the algebra of the ancient Egyptians. The Egyptians were most interested in solving problems related to linear equations. While the Babylonians explored cubic and quadratic functions. Anyone with some experience in Algebra will appreciate the difference here in difficulty. Additionally, the Babylonians were adept at factoring. We often explain this history to our students. Many students dislike and are frustrated with factoring. So this little bit of information is reassuring to them! Ever since ancient Babylon have people been learning how to factor!

Why Algebra is Difficult 

Algebra is pretty much just arithmetic. So it should be easy, right? Wrong! Algebra is challenging because it is the first time that students have had to apply arithmetic to non-numerical entities. This is what makes Algebra so hard for many students. Our belief is that algebra is most difficult on visual learners. It is easy to visualize numbers. We can picture 17—or even 1000—apples and get a clear image in our head. It’s tangible. It makes sense to us. We can easily understand the math when applied to things we can see! But when discussing abstract concepts such as “X and Y” things suddenly become much more difficult. Add in that in Algebra these variables can be raised to exponents! It’s hard to think about 2x and x^2 when we hardly even understand x! 

Your Expected Algebra Coursework

You can bet that your Algebra coursework is going to follow a pretty predictable pattern. Algebra is normally split between Algebra 1 and Algebra 2. Many schools will call this Algebra1-2 and Algebra 3-4, but it’s the same content and coursework. We’ve helped you out by compiling a list of some important topics that you might encounter. You should familiarize yourself with concepts in some of these areas! That will go a long-way in preparing you to ace your Algebra course.

Algebra 1:

Linear Equations

Systems of Equations

Inequalities (as systems)

Functions

Arithmetic Sequences 

Quadratic Functions 

Algebra 2:

Polynomials (arithmetic & factoring)

Rational Exponents & Radicals

Logarithms 

Complex Numbers

Transformations 

Intro to Trigonometry