How to Write an Equation

By Contributing Writer

Often math problems will initially present themselves as word problems, in school and in dealing with real world problems. In these situations an equation often has to be written out to represent the problem at hand. Learn the steps in creating an equation from a problem expressed in words.

First identify what value or quantity is the variable. This is the value that you will be solving for. If we use an interest calculation as an example, your variable could be the principle, the interest rate or the time. Assign this value a letter such as "x."

Look at the rest of the values available to you. These may be time, money, number of jellybeans, basically anything, however they are known values. Take into consideration what you are solving for and only keep the values that are necessary to find the answer you are looking for.

Identify the relationship between the values. This is often done by translating from the wording of the problem to mathematical operators. If a quantity is described as "four times the value" the relationship is based upon multiplication. Wording such as "one fourth of" would then describe a relationship based upon division. The relationship between your known values and the variable may also be inferred by physical laws and their corresponding equations.

Write the equation such that the variable is equal to the known values and their relationships to each other and the variable. Do not solve the equation. You are merely writing out the equation, not solving for a solution. If you know the proper solution, test your equation against several sets of values to verify that your equations works properly.