There are a few rules you need to follow (or you too will suck at maths).

  • The term outside the bracket multiplies everything inside individually
  • ab means a times b (see Algebra – Make Sure You Know The Basics for the rest of these rules)
  • A minus outside the bracket reverses all the signs inside when you multiply out the brackets

E.g. 3(a + 2b) = 3a + 6b

E.g. – 2a(3b2 + 2c – 3d) = -6ab2 – 4ac + 6ad

But What About Brackets Times Brackets?

Everything in the second bracket has to be multiplied by everything in the first bracket!

So (x+4)(x+3)

You have to multiply the second bracket by x and by 4.

x (x + 3) + 4 (x + 3)
= x2 + 3x + 4x + 12
= x2 + 7x + 12

Examiners love to throw in a square bracket. Don’t panic just write the bracket out twice and multiply them together.