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Multiplying out brackets

In your exam, you might get a question that requires you to multiply out brackets.

Remember that a term outside the bracket is multiplying everything inside the bracket.

You also need to remember some basic algebra shorthand:

2a means 2 times a.

ab means a times b.

a2 means a times a.

Have a look at this example:

  • Multiply out: 3(4x - 7)
  • First multiply: 3 × 4x = 12x
  • Then multiply: 3 × -7 = - 21
  • Therefore: 3(4x - 7) = 12x - 21

Here's a typical exam question.


Multiply out 2(9y + 5)

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Every term in the brackets gets multiplied by 2.

  • 2 × 9y = 18y
  • 2 × 5 = 10

2(9y + 5)= 18y + 10

Have a go at the following questions.


Multiply out the following:-

a(2a - 5)

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  • a × 2a = 2a2
  • a × -5 = -5a
  • a(2a - 5) = 2a2 - 5a

Now have a go yourself. Practise multiplying out brackets.

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