At Ascent Tutors, we specialize in finding you the best tutors in the New York area for a whole host of subjects. Before you start your lessons in these topics, however, it’s often best to learn a bit about them. Today we’ll be taking a look at algebra. Often dreaded by students entering middle and high school, algebra is, broadly speaking, the branch of math that deals with symbols, manipulating them to solve complicated equations. It ranges from basic formulas all the way to extraordinarily complex studies that can baffle anyone without an advanced degree. Chances are, however, that your algebra tutoring will be starting out on the simple side. The word “algebra” comes from the Arabic word al-jebr, meaning “reunification.” As the word implies, much of early algebra was worked out in the Arabic world towards the end of the first millennium.

The most critical use of algebra is that it allows students of math to prove certain relationships to be true for any number imaginable. Substituting letters for numbers lets us work with unknown concepts and determine their value. For example, you may have heard that the square of the hypotenuse of any right triangle is equal to the sum of the square roots of each side- by knowing how long two sides of a right triangle are, we can figure out how long the third is. This is algebra – substituting a symbol for the length of the hypotenuse (which we don’t know) and using our knowledge of the relationships to figure out just what the symbol should stand for. It’s as simple as that!