May 28th, 2015
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See if you can notice the difference between most of the math problems weve considered so far, and these:Eek! There are letters in there! As you no doubt know, the letters are called variables, and they make possible the wonderful world of algebra. Whoever thought of adding variables into math certainly made tens of millions of school kids lives harder, because without algebra, there would be no geometry, no trigonometry, no calculus, and possibly no misery at all in the world. Thanks a lot, Mr. or Mrs. Math Genius . . . Of course, there would probably be no microwave ovens or iPods either, so its not all bad.Since the variables represent unspecified quantities, algebra brings arithmetic into the world of the unknown. Of course, much of algebra deals with making that unknown known; that is, solving equations so that variables can be replaced by good old-fashioned numbers. Well get to all that soon enough, but first a little vocabulary is in order.Algebra TermsThere are six main terms that describe the world of algebra. The GRE wont ask you to define them but will nonetheless give you questions that require you to work with them.1. Constant. A numerical quantity that does not change. 2. Variable. An unknown quantity written as a letter. A variable can be represented by any letter in the English alphabet; x or y are common on the GRE, but youll see others as well. Variables may be associated with specific things, like x number of apples or y dollar

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