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P6 Algebra: The Important Rules & Concepts to Remember

July 3, 2022
StudySmart Team
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In the middle of a white background poster, appears the word Algebra which is in doodled style. The text is surrounded by formula's and diagrams representing it.

Algebra in Primary 6 can be quite a tough nut to crack. Basically, Algebra is about using alphabets in Mathematical equations to represent unknown numbers. This branch of Mathematics has some very definitive rules and concepts that your child should master from the very outset. If not, Algebra could become a nightmare.

Written exclusively for P6 students and parents, our blog explores the fundamentals of Algebra to simplify more complex concepts in secondary school.

Algebra Rules that Will Help Tackle P6 Math Questions

We already know that Algebra uses alphabets to represent unknown numbers. The alphabets can be anything from a to z, and the unknown number can be any number or simple fractions. Introduced in Primary 6, this topic is used in secondary school and later in college and higher education.

Hence, it is crucial to ensure that students in Primary 6 understand the basics of the subject. Algebra has three basic rules for most of the sums and problems your child will tackle in Primary 6. They are:

Rule No.1

The same letter always represents the same value in the same question.

This rule means: Whenever a letter is used, it should always represent the same number. For example, x+x= 20.

Rule No.2

In Algebra, the default mode of operation is Multiplication. Hence, even if there are no signs between the numbers, it is safe to assume that they are being multiplied. For example, let's take 2n. Although this number does not have the (x) sign for multiplication between them, it implies that there is a multiplication sign between them.

Thus, 2n essentially means 2xn.

Rule No.3

When there is a single letter, there is always a 1 in front of it. So, if there is a y, it is always 1y or 1(x) y.

These are the basic rules of Algebra. Let's now explore the basic Math concepts required to tackle P6 PSLE Math questions.

3 Must-Know Math Concepts to Ace P6 Algebra

Algebra is basically a derivative of Mathematics and similarly follows the four basic operations as Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division. Hence, three basic Math-related concepts will help you understand Algebra better.

However, before we explore these concepts, we must discuss Algebraic Equations. What is an "Algebraic Equation?" Any equation that contains a letter is called an Algebraic Equation. We transform the equation into a basic algebraic equation when we replace the unknown number with a letter.

An Algebraic Equation can be derived using Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, or Division. The rules to create equations using addition or subtraction are the same. For example, adding a letter to a number will give us an answer for which the value of the letter remains unknown.

If we add n (a letter) with 2 (a number), the answer is n+2.

However, when we add 2 letters, ( a+a) we derive 2a. So a+a= 2a.

These same rules apply to equations that use subtraction. Division, in Algebra, is expressed in the form of fractions. As for multiplication, we have already discussed that any number with a letter implicitly means that there is a multiplication sign between the two. So 3y means 3 (x) y.

A group of students are discussing about the various problems in algebra. Before them is a white background poster holding the text algebra in the middle along with different types of questions pertaining to the concept.
Let's now move on to the Mathematical concepts in Algebra. The first one is:

1. Simplification

One of the first math concepts to know is Algebraic Simplification. It is easier to work with an algebraic expression when it is simplified. To simplify an expression that involves more than just addition and subtraction, apply the Order of Operations, which are:

  • Starting with the operations within brackets.
  • Solving division or multiplication from left to right.
  • Solving addition or subtraction from left to right.

For example, let's assume the Algebraic problem goes like this:

Mathew has a "y" number of sweets. He buys two more. How many sweets does he have in all? Here, the letter "y" denotes an unknown number. Thus the answer will be "y+2".

One common mistake most students make is to write 2y. It should be noted that adding "y" to 2 does not imply 2y because both are different terms.

Also Read : The Role of Heuristic Math: Explored & Explained

2. Substitution

Sometimes, the question will include the letter's value and require a numerical answer. To find the final answer, substitute (or replace) the letter with the number given. The order of operation should be kept in mind when doing a substitution.

Let's deal with an Algebraic equation to understand substitution. For example,

If a=2, find the value of a + 2 x 4.

As per the Order of Operations, multiplication comes before addition. Therefore, we deal with the 2 x 4 part of the equation, which is 8. Then substitute the letter "a" with the value two and resume with addition.

So, 2 + 8 = 10.

There is also another way to use substitution. If a = 2, find the value of (a + 2) x 4?
Here, the order of operations states that bracket comes before multiplication. So, the addition must be done first by replacing the letter a with 2. Then multiply the answer by 4. So the answer is 4 x 4= 16.

Substitution done this way will give you a different answer.

3. Solving Problem Sums

Understanding the question clearly before solving problem sums using Algebra is important. The problem will mostly be expressed in numbers and letters rather than a statement.

For example, the "add x to 25" problem will be expressed as "25 + x." It is the same skill used to solve challenging math problems using the algebra concept "Units and Parts."

Avail the StudySmart Expertise to Tackle P6 PSLE Math Paper

Mastering Algebraic rules, concepts, and equations are crucial for every Primary 6 student. A strong foundation in Algebra will help them deal with the intricacies of the topic they will face later in the higher classes.

To help your child ace Algebra P6, give them the StudySmart advantage. Our intelligent AI-powered app is widely used by Primary 6 students and parents in Singapore. To personalise your child's PSLE preparation with StudySmart, call us today, and we'll help you with the process.

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