3.3: MultiStep Equations
So far in this chapter you have learned how to solve onestep equations of the form \begin{align*}y=ax\end{align*}
Solving MultiStep Equations by Combining Like Terms
In the last lesson, you learned the definition of like terms and how to combine such terms. We will use the following situation to further demonstrate solving equations involving like terms.
You are hosting a Halloween party. You will need to provide 3 cans of soda per person, 4 slices of pizza per person, and 37 party favors. You have a total of 79 items. How many people are coming to your party?
This situation has several pieces of information: soda cans, slices of pizza, and party favors. Translate this into an algebraic equation.
\begin{align*}3p + 4p + 37 = 79\end{align*}
This equation requires three steps to solve. In general, to solve any equation you should follow this procedure.
Procedure to Solve Equations:
1. Remove any parentheses by using the Distributive Property or the Multiplication Property of Equality.
2. Simplify each side of the equation by combining like terms.
3. Isolate the \begin{align*}ax\end{align*}
4. Isolate the variable. Use the Multiplication Property of Equality to get the variable alone on one side of the equation.
5. Check your solution.
Example 1: Determine the number of partygoers in the opening example.
Solution: \begin{align*}3p + 4p + 37 = 79\end{align*}
Combine like terms: \begin{align*}7p+37=79.\end{align*}
Apply the Addition Property of Equality: \begin{align*}7p+3737=7937.\end{align*}
Simplify: \begin{align*}7p=42.\end{align*}
Apply the Multiplication Property of Equality: \begin{align*}7p \div 7=42 \div 7.\end{align*}
The solution is \begin{align*}p=6\end{align*}
There are six people coming to the party.
Solving MultiStep Equations by Using the Distributive Property
When faced with an equation such as \begin{align*}2(5x+9)=78\end{align*}
Example 2: Solve for \begin{align*}x\end{align*}
Solution: Apply the Distributive Property: \begin{align*}10x+18=78.\end{align*}
Apply the Addition Property of Equality: \begin{align*}10x+1818=7818.\end{align*}
Simplify: \begin{align*}10x=60.\end{align*}
Apply the Multiplication Property of Equality: \begin{align*}10x \div 10 = 60 \div 10.\end{align*}
The solution is \begin{align*}x=6\end{align*}
Check: Does \begin{align*}10(6) + 18 = 78?\end{align*}
Example 3: Kashmir needs to fence in his puppy. He will fence in three sides, connecting it to his back porch. He wants the run to be 12 feet long and he has 40 feet of fencing. How wide can Kashmir make his puppy enclosure?
Solution: Translate the sentence into an algebraic equation. Let \begin{align*}w\end{align*}
\begin{align*}w + w + 12 = 40\end{align*}
Solve for \begin{align*}w\end{align*}
\begin{align*}2w + 12 & = 40 \\
2w + 12  12 & = 4012 \\
2w & = 28 \\
2w \div 2 & = 28 \div 2 \\
w & = 14\end{align*}
The dimensions of the enclosure are 14 feet wide by 12 feet long.
Practice Set
Sample explanations for some of the practice exercises below are available by viewing the following video. Note that there is not always a match between the number of the practice exercise in the video and the number of the practice exercise listed in the following exercise set. However, the practice exercise is the same in both. CK12 Basic Algebra: MultiStep Equations (15:01)
In 1 – 23, solve the equation.

\begin{align*}3(x  1)  2(x + 3) = 0\end{align*}
3(x−1)−2(x+3)=0 
\begin{align*}7(w + 20)  w = 5\end{align*}
7(w+20)−w=5 
\begin{align*}9(x  2) = 3x + 3\end{align*}
9(x−2)=3x+3  \begin{align*}2 \left (5a  \frac{1}{3} \right ) = \frac{2}{7}\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}\frac{2}{9} \left (i + \frac{2}{3} \right ) = \frac{2}{5}\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}4 \left (v + \frac{1}{4} \right ) = \frac{35}{2}\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}22=2(p+2)\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}(m+4)=5\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}48=4(n+4)\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}\frac{6}{5} \left (v \frac{3}{5} \right ) = \frac{6}{25}\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}10(b3)=100\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}6v + 6(4v+1)=6\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}46=4(3s+4)6\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}8(1+7m)+6=14\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}0=7(6+3k)\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}35=7(2x)\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}3(3a+1)7a=35\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}2 \left (n+ \frac{7}{3} \right )= \frac{14}{3}\end{align*}
 \begin{align*} \frac{59}{60} = \frac{1}{6} \left ( \frac{4}{3} r5 \right )\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}\frac{4y+3}{7} = 9\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}(c+3)2c(13c)=2\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}5m3[7(12m)]=0\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}f1+2f+f3=4\end{align*}
 Find four consecutive even integers whose sum is 244.
 Four more than twothirds of a number is 22. What is the number?
 The total cost of lunch is $3.50, consisting of a juice, a sandwich, and a pear. The juice cost 1.5 times as much as the pear. The sandwich costs $1.40 more than the pear. What is the price of the pear?
 Camden High has five times as many desktop computers as laptops. The school has 65 desktop computers. How many laptops does it have?
 A realtor receives a commission of $7.00 for every $100 of a home’s selling price. How much was the selling price of a home if the realtor earned $5,389.12 in commission?
Mixed Review
 Simplify \begin{align*}1 \frac{6}{7} \times \frac{2}{3}\end{align*}.
 Define evaluate.
 Simplify \begin{align*}\sqrt{75}\end{align*}.
 Solve for \begin{align*}m: \frac{1}{9} m=12\end{align*}.
 Evaluate: \begin{align*}((5)  (7)  (3)) \times (10)\end{align*}.
 Subtract: \begin{align*}0.125 \frac{1}{5}\end{align*}.
Notes/Highlights Having trouble? Report an issue.
Color  Highlighted Text  Notes  

Show More 