During my days as a student, algebra always seemed to be one of my favourite topics. I found it very straight forward, easy to understand… so long as you have a strong foundation in basic Maths. In algebra, students must be dared enough to adopt self experiment and apply bracket whenever necessary. This will help a lot…. just take this piece of advice whenever you come across problem that requires algebra as a way of solution.

Today, I’m going to share with you amongst the common problems faced by most students when come to algebra.

The most popular ones is failure to expand the equation properly. Clear example is as follows :

Another common mistake is failure to differentiate between one equation to another. For example;

x² – y²  IS NOT THE SAME WITH ( x – y )²

In cases like this, students are encouraged to do  their own experiment; by way of replacing x and y with simple digits. For instance, let x = 5 and y = 2

x² – y² shall now read as 5² – 2² = 25 – 4 = 21

Now compare with the other equation

( x – y )² = ( 5 – 2 )² = (3)² = 9

From the experiment above, it shows clearly that

x² – y²  IS NOT THE SAME WITH ( x – y )²

To master this topic will not take too much of time, just put extra effort on exercise and if there is any particular tips that ought to be given attention…that has to be

x² – y² = ( x + y )( x – y )

or 16x² – 4y² = 4²x² – 2²y² = (4x + 2y )( 4x – 2y )


x² + y² = ( x + y )² – 2xy