# Ch 6: ELM Test - Algebra: Basic Expressions

### About This Chapter

## ELM Algebra: Basic Expressions - Chapter Summary

Get ready for your ELM exam with our short, user-friendly videos. The lessons in this chapter address:

- Algebraic variables
- Expressing and evaluating algebraic expressions
- Commutative, associative and distributive properties
- Combining like terms
- Simplifying expressions

Follow up with the quick quizzes to check for concept mastery and be sure that you're ready for the ELM.

### ELM Algebra Objectives

The ELM is a 50-question, 90-minute exam that assesses which math courses you should take when enrolling in schools in the California State University system.

Lessons in this chapter relate to a portion of the larger algebra topic, which composes about 35% of the entire ELM. Your exam tests the following algebra objectives:

- Evaluating, interpreting and simplifying algebraic expressions
- Using variables to express relationships among quantities
- Performing polynomial arithmetic
- Using properties of exponents
- Solving linear equations
- Performing arithmetic operations with rational expressions
- Solving rational and quadratic equations
- Solving equations and inequalities with absolute value
- Finding and using slopes and intercepts of lines
- Solving problems using average and constant rates in context

The lessons in this chapter will help you review your basic algebraic knowledge in evaluating, interpreting and simplifying algebraic expressions. Once completed, you can then prepare to review the higher-level algebra skills for your ELM.

### 1. What is a Variable in Algebra?

Did you ever encounter something like a + b = c and wonder how all these letters snuck into a math problem? In this lesson, we'll learn about variables, as well as other parts of equations, constants and coefficients.

### 2. Expressing Relationships as Algebraic Expressions

What do you do when you don't know what a number is but you do know how it relates to something else? You use an algebraic expression. In this lesson, we'll learn how to express relationships as algebraic expressions.

### 3. Evaluating Simple Algebraic Expressions

In this lesson, we'll learn how to evaluate algebraic expressions, which involves substituting numbers for variables and following the order of operations. By the end of the lesson, you'll be an algebraic expression expert.

### 4. The Commutative and Associative Properties and Algebraic Expressions

The order of operations is important and useful, but a few mathematical properties highlight cases where order doesn't matter. In this lesson, we'll learn about the commutative and associative properties, which may save you time and effort.

### 5. The Distributive Property and Algebraic Expressions

The order of operations is great. But sometimes we need to bend the rules to simplify an equation. Fortunately, the distributive property gives us a scenario in which this is okay. Learn all about it in this lesson.

### 6. Combining Like Terms in Algebraic Expressions

When you have an algebraic expression that's much too long, it would be great if you could simplify it. That's when knowing how to combine like terms comes in. In this lesson, we'll learn the process of combining like terms and practice simplifying expressions.

### 7. Practice Simplifying Algebraic Expressions

In this lesson, we'll practice simplifying a variety of algebraic expressions. We'll use two key concepts, combining like terms and the distributive property, to help us simplify.

### 8. Negative Signs and Simplifying Algebraic Expressions

Don't let negative signs get you down. In this lesson, we'll stay positive as we practice simplifying algebraic expressions that have those tricky negative signs.

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### Other Chapters

Other chapters within the ELM: CSU Math Study Guide course

- ELM Test - Numbers and Data: Basic Arithmetic Calculations
- ELM Test - Numbers and Data: Rational Numbers
- ELM Test - Numbers and Data: Decimals and Percents
- ELM Test - Numbers and Data: Irrational Numbers
- ELM Test - Numbers and Data: Data & Statistics
- ELM Test - Algebra: Exponents
- ELM Test - Algebra: Linear Equations & Inequalities
- ELM Test - Algebra: Absolute Value Equations & Inequalities
- ELM Test - Algebra: Polynomials
- ELM Test - Algebra: Rational Expressions
- ELM Test - Geometry: Perimeter, Area & Volume
- ELM Test - Geometry: Properties of Objects
- ELM Test - Geometry: Graphing Basics
- ELM Test - Geometry: Graphing Functions
- About the ELM Test
- ELM Flashcards