Solving equations with brackets

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In today's lesson, you will learn how to solve equations using brackets.

This lesson includes:

  • a learning summary
  • a video
  • two activities


Solving an equation means working out what number the variable is equal to. To do this, you need to get the variable on its own, one one side of the equation.

To solve a linear equation with brackets, you must begin by expanding, or multiplying out the brackets.


Let's look at an example. Solve the equation 3(5x - 4) = 2(2x + 5)

  • First expand the brackets:
    • 15x - 12 = 4x + 10
  • Then subtract 4x from both sides:
    • 11x - 12 = 10
  • Add 12 to both sides:
    • 11x = 22
  • And divide by 11 to give:

    • x = 2

So, x = 2

Now watch this video from Pearson to see more examples of how to solve equations using brackets.

from Pearson


Activity 1

Solve and match up the equations

Have a go at this interactive activity from MyMaths from Oxford University Press. You have to solve the equations and match them up with the solutions.

Solving equations

Activity 2

Worksheet: Solving equations

Have a go at this worksheet from Hodder Education on solving equations using brackets. There are three pages of questions to work through.

You can print it out or write your answers on a piece of paper.

Solving equations

There's more to learn

Have a look at these other resources around the BBC and the web.

KS3 Maths
BBC Bitesize Daily
Bitesize Support
11 - 14 Maths
KS3 English
Fact or Fake