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OCR GCSE Maths Manipulating equations

Manipulating equations

This page covers the following topics:

1. Collecting like terms
2. Basic expansion
3. Expanding binomials using grids
4. Order of binomial expansions
5. Factorising quadratics
6. Changing the subject

One of the ways in which an equation can be simplified is by collecting like terms. This means to simplify the equation by combining together the terms whose variables are the same by adding or subtracting them accordingly. Terms which have the same letter as a factor but to a different power are not considered like terms.

An example of adding like terms is adding the numbers of apples and pears. If a basket has 2 apples and 3 pears, then an apple is eaten and 2 pears are added, it would result in 1 apple and 5 pears being in the basket in the end. Apples and pears separately would be considered the like terms in this example. This could also be written as:
2a + 3p βˆ’ a + 2p =
= 2a βˆ’ a + 3p + 2p =
= a + 5p

Collecting like terms

When there is a single number or term outside a bracket, then the bracket can be expanded by multiplying every term inside the bracket by the one outside it. If the term has a minus symbol in front of it, it should be taken into account when multiplying the numbers inside the brackets.

Basic expansion

One way to expand binomials is by using grids. To do this, assign the terms of the first bracket to the boxes of the grid vertically and assign the terms of the second bracket to the boxes of the grid horizontally. Fill out the grid by multiplying the terms assigned to each box and take the sum of all the products. This will give the expansion of the two brackets.

Expanding binomials using grids

Another way to expand binomials is to use the method of FOIL to determine the order of expansion. FOIL stands for first, outer, inner and last and helps remember the terms that must be multiplied together to find an expansion of two brackets. FOIL method suggests to multiply the two first terms of the brackets, the ones on the outer side of the brackets, the ones on the inner side of the brackets and the two last terms of the brackets. Taking the sum of the products gives the expansion of the two brackets.

Order of binomial expansions

Factorising is the reverse of expanding. A quadratic expression, xΒ² + ax + b, can be factorised to be written as (x + c)(x + d), where the sum of c and d is equal to a and the product of c and d is equal to b. A special case of factorisation, called the difference between the two squares, is given as: xΒ² βˆ’ yΒ² = (x βˆ’ y)(x + y).

Factorising quadratics

The subject of a formula is the variable that is being solved for and it is provided on its own on one side of the equation. Formulas can be rearranged to change the subject of them by performing inverse operations on them. For example, changing the subject from y to x in y = b βˆ’ √x would be done by adding √x to both sides and squaring both sides to give x = (b βˆ’ y)Β².

Changing the subject

1

Simplify expression 7yΒ³ + 15 + 3yΒ³ + y.

Simplify expression 7yΒ³ + 15 + 3yΒ³ + y.

2

Simplify expression 3(z βˆ’ 4zΒ²) + 6z(4z βˆ’ 8).

Simplify expression 3(z βˆ’ 4zΒ²) + 6z(4z βˆ’ 8).

3

Provide a simplified expression for 2aΒ² + 3a + 5aΒ² + 4a + 9.

Provide a simplified expression for 2aΒ² + 3a + 5aΒ² + 4a + 9.

4

Make y the subject of the following formula: xΒ² + 7/y = 8.

Make y the subject of the following formula: xΒ² + 7/y = 8.

5

Multiply out brackets (14 βˆ’ x)(8x + 9) by using the grid method.

Multiply out brackets (14 βˆ’ x)(8x + 9) by using the grid method.

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