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In Algebra, you can think of an expression as one or a number of mathematical symbols that represent a number or quantity. Expressions can contain any number of numbers, letters and symbols.

See how well you can express yourself by playing this quiz on Expressions!

1.

In an algebraic expression letters are often used to represent what?

Other letters

Only numbers greater than 1

Only numbers less than 1

Values

A letter can be used in place of any number - especially if the number has not yet been worked out

2.

Which of the following is not a mathematical expression?

6

6a x 14

5a - 4b +16c x 8d

Oh my gosh!

The correct answer might well be an English expression but it is NOT a mathematical one!

3.

Simplify 5a + 7a.

12a

12aa

57a

57aa

Let us suppose that a = 3. (5 x 3) + (7 x 3) = 36. This is the same as saying 12 x 3 (12a) = 36

4.

Which of these is a simplification of 2a x 3a?

5a

6a

23aa

6a^{2}

You must multiply the numbers together AND the letters. Remember a x a = a^{2}

5.

If I have x rabbits and you have twice as many, how many rabbits have you got?

2x

2 + x

2 - x

x^{2}

You have two times the number that I have got and 2 times x is the same as 2x

6.

Jane is c years old and her sister Katie is three years younger so how old is Katie?

c3

c + 3

c - 3

c - 3 - 3

7.

Simplify 4a + 5b + 6b + 11a

26ab

15a^{2} + 11b^{2}

15a + 11b

9a + 17b

Here we are adding numbers together, NOT multiplying them together

8.

What is the simplification of 3a + 4b + 6c + 3a - 6c - a - 3b?

4a + 2b - 3c

5a + b

6a - 3b

9a - 2b - c

Be careful to account for all the a's, then all the b's and then all the c's. In this case + 6c and - 6c cancel each other out and therefore they do not appear in the simplification

9.

Suzie is x years old and she has a sister called Rosie who is four years older. Rosie's mother was 28 when Rosie was born. How old is Rosie's mother now?

7x

x + 28

x - 4

x + 32

If you got the answer wrong then think carefully through each aspect of the question. Rosie's mother was 28 when Rosie was born. 4 years later, Suzie was born. Suzie is now x years old so Rosie's mother's age is now

28 + 4 + x = 32 + x

28 + 4 + x = 32 + x

10.

Peter has x brothers, Paul has y brothers and Graham has z brothers. Between the three boys, how many brothers have they got?

xyz

x + y + z

x + y - z

x - y + z

Don't get baffled by complicated wording - often the answer is easier than you think