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Elementary algebra is the most basic form of algebra. It is taught to students who are presumed to have no knowledge of mathematics beyond the basic principles of arithmetic. In arithmetic, only numbers and their arithmetical operations (such as +, −, , ) occur. In algebra, numbers are often represented by symbols called variables (such as a, n, x, y or z).

[Adapted from Wikipedia
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Why do so many people dread/fear algebra?

The fear or dread of algebra is not an inborn trait, but rather a learned response. Even before encountering the most elementary bit of algebra, we have learned to fear and mistrust it. How? From the negative comments and examples of our peers, our parents, the general public, and (yes) our teachers. It's little wonder that so many people do so poorly with the subject when they get caught up in a downward spiral of negativity and self-fulfilling prophecy.

Algebra isn't inherently difficult and weird. So making friends with the subject is  more a personal head game than something the gods have ordained as a means for tormenting our young. -- DLH


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College Algebra

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Algebra: In Simplest Terms
Video tutorials from Annenberg Learner

Beginning Algebra
Over a hundred video tutorials by Derek Owens

One thing that can be confusing about studying algebra is the various ways that educators and publishers name courses and textbooks:

  • Algebra I and Algebra II
  • Beginning Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, Advanced  Algebra
  • College Algebra

For example, Algebra I and II are much the same as Beginning and Intermediate Algebra. College Algebra covers topics included in all the others, but is presented at a much more rigorous level.