GCSE(F), GCSE(H),

Terms can be multiplied and divided, together with the coefficients (numbers). 3 x *a* can be written as 3*a* (the times sign is removed to stop it being confused with an *x*). And *b* x *c* is written as *bc*.

4*b* x 3*e* is the same as 4 x 3 x *b* x *e* = 12*be*.

The calculation *b* x *c* is the same as *c* x *b*, because order in a multiplication does not matter. Therefore *bc* = *cb*, although it is normal to put the letters in alphabetical order. Numbers should be placed at the front of a term.

The number 1 is not normally written at the front of a term: so 1*x* is written as *x*.

A number divided by itself is 1; similarly *a* ÷ *a* = 1. And 5*x* ÷ *x* = 5.

The rules for multiplying and diving with negative numbers still apply: -2*x* x -*y* = +2*xy*.

1. Simplify 5 x -*a*.

Answer: -5*a*

2. Simplify 3 x *b* x 4 x *c*.

Answer: 12*bc*

3 x 4 = 12; then the remaining letters are put together without the times sign.

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