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Karina Clark

FIN 1380
15 Nov 2014
Concepts Essay
One of the major concepts we covered in this course was Solving Equations for the Unknown.
Algebraic concepts, called equations, involve constants, variables, terms, and formulas. According to
the text glossary, a formula is an equation that expresses in symbols a general fact, rule, or principal.
(Practical Math Procedures. Slater/Wittry). I like to think of formulas as templates. The whole idea of a
template is that it is set up for you and all you need to do is follow it, substituting your own
information. If you follow the formulas exactly, you will have success but if you don't, you will not be
able to solve the equation. One of the hardest parts about solving equations is remembering the
formulas. One of my Professors likes to say Practice makes permanent and that could not be more
true with mathematics. If you don't use it regularly, it is easy to forget concepts. Remembering the
formulas is always the hardest part about math for me. If I struggled this semester, that was a primary
factor.
Another part of solving equations for the unknown is word problems. Just saying the words
makes me nervous. When first introduced to word problems, one might think it is just a bunch of words
that don't make sense and they can be a great cause for anxiety and stress for students. Let's look at one
such equation from the text (5-40):
The Susan Hansen Group in St. George, Utah, sells $16,000,000 of single-family homes and
townhomes a year. If single-family homes, with an average selling price of $250,000, sell 3.5
times more often than townhomes, with an average selling price of $190,000, how many of each
are sold? (Round to the nearest whole number)

The formula here is S=3.5(T) or Single-family=(3.5)Townhomes


250,000S + 190,000T = 16,000,000
250,000(3.5T) + 190,000T = 16,000,000
875,000T + 190,000T = 16,000,000
1,065,000T = 16,000,000
16,000,000/1,065,000 = 15.02, so T=15
S = 3.5(15), which = 53
In one year, there were 15 townhomes and 53 single-family homes sold.

A good professor can always break through the fear and bring clarity to her students. If you are
taught a clever way to remember the formulas and if your professor makes learning them fun, they can
become easy and rewarding. There is satisfaction in finding a known from an unknown. It is just a
matter of learning the steps and doing each of them in sequence. It is never a good idea to skip steps.
There are some who say you will never use algebra in real life but they would be wrong. In
the world of finance, banking, accounting, and small business ownership, word problems are going to
happen a lot. Mathematics are an essential tool in the world of finance. In order to calculate compound
interest, markups, markdowns, depreciation, inventory, payroll, etc., there is no other way that with a
firm foundation in financial mathematics. I learned a lot in taking FIN 1380, even though at times, I
wondered if I would ever understand it. In the end, I feel confident going forward in the workplace,
knowing I can do what will be required of me.