# What is simplifying?

In math class you simplified fractions to make them easier to understand and work with. For example, the first fraction, as shown below, can be simplified to a much smaller fraction with the same value.

173456 1 ------ has the same value as --- 346912 2

For basic equations, like those presented in the Equation Basics lesson, your first step to solving the equation might be to subtract the variable on the left from both sides. But in some cases, you may not be able to tell if the variable is positive or negative because it has multiple signs in front of it,

or because there are multiple terms with variables on the left.

To learn how to simplify multiple signs, and make the equations solvable, read the Simplifying Multiple Signs lesson.

After you have learned how to simplify multiple signs, continue on to following lessons:- Combine Like Terms.
- Simplify multiplication.
- Distribute a number or sign into a set of parentheses.
- Use the FOIL Method to multiply two or more polynomials (sets of parentheses).
- Simplify Exponents of a number.

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