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Collecting Like Terms in Algebra
(KS3, Year 7)
The Lesson
Like terms can be collected together to simplify an expression in algebra. Collecting like terms can make a long, complicated expression into a short, simple one.How to Collect Like Terms in Algebra
Collecting like terms is easy.Question
Simplify the expression below by collecting like terms.StepbyStep:
1
Identify the like terms.
Read more about identifying the like terms.

Identify the x terms: x, 5x and x.

Identify the y terms: 3y and y.

Identify the number terms: 2.
Read more about identifying the like terms.
2
Collect the like terms together.
Bring the x terms next to each other. Bring the y terms next to each other. Bring the number terms next to each other.
Don't forget: When you collect like terms, bring the sign in front of the term with it.
Don't forget: When you collect like terms, bring the sign in front of the term with it.
3
Add and/or subtract the like terms together.

Add the x terms together:

Subtract the y terms from each other:

Add the number terms together. In our example, there is only one number term.
4
Put the expression together.
The expression has become:
Answer:
We have collected the like terms to simplify the expression:
x + 3y + 5x + 2 − y + 2
= 7x + 2y + 2
What Is a Like Term in Algebra?
Like terms are terms with the same combination of letters (and/or brackets). The only difference is the sign or number in front of the group of letters. Each letter (and/or bracket) in a like term must have the same exponents  the number that sits to the topright of the letter.What Is a Term in Algebra?
A term is a collection of numbers, letters and brackets all multiplied together. Terms are separated by + or − signs in an algebraic expression. Do you disagree with something on this page?
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