In some linear equations, more than one operation has been applied to the variable. In this case, the properties of equality can be combined to isolate the variable. To isolate the variable, undo the operations applied to the variable in reverse order:
1. Apply the addition or subtraction property of equality to undo subtraction or addition.
2. Apply the multiplication or division property of equality to undo division or multiplication.
Some equations require more than two steps to solve. Properties of operations may be used to simplify one or both sides of the equation before applying the properties of equality to isolate the variable.
1. Simplify the expressions on each side of the equation.
2. Isolate the variable term using the addition or subtraction property of equality.
3. Isolate the variable using the multiplication or division property of equality.Simplifying the expressions on each side of an equation may involve applying the distributive property. The distributive property states that multiplying an expression by a sum is the same as multiplying the expression by each term in the sum and then adding the products: