In GCSE Maths you have to know how to rearrange equations with things like fractions and brackets because rearranging equations and formulae is an essential tool in algebra, and is one step ahead of basic algebra.

It enables us to solve algebraic equations, and change formulae to work out things we don’t know, based on what we do know. For example, in physics you may have learnt the formula “Speed equals distance over time”:

v = s/t

Where v = speed (or velocity) s = distance (s) t = time

We can use this formula to work out the speed of something, knowing how much time (t) it takes to cover a certain distance (s). But what if we already know somebody’s speed (v) , and what we want to work out is how long it will take them to get somewhere (t)? Well, we’d have to first rearrange the formula.

You can usually move things to either side of the = sign as you like. When you do, though, they become the opposite of what they were. So if you had + x on one side and you move it to the other, it becomes – x. If something was multiplied by x before, on the other side of the = sign everything has to be divided by x.

In our example above, rearranging it to make t the subject would give:

t = s/v

 

 

Why not test yourself with some of the exam questions from past papers, just look at our 'Test Questions' tab.

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This will help you to become confident in rearranging formulae when working through worksheets and in your GCSE Maths exam.

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