Solve 8(x + 3) = 36

In this question (taken from a non-calculator higher level GCSE maths past paper), we want to find an answer x=?

Ultimately we want to leave 'by itself' on the left hand side, with our answer on the right. Our first step is to 'undo' the on the outside of the bracket. This is done by dividing by 8 on both sides of the equation.  After dividing by 8 we have (x+3)=(36/8).

Because this is a non-calculator paper, you may find it easiest to calculate 36/8 in stages. We can see very easily that both 36 and are both divisible by 2. This allows us to simplify the fraction to 18/4. Repeating this step again gives a simplified fraction 9/2. It is now easier to see that 36/8=9/2=4.5 and so x+3=4.5

Finally we 'undo' the on the left hand side of the equation by subtracting 3 on both sides of the equation. This gives us x=4.5-3 so x=1.5. This is the final answer. 

It is worth noting that although we have gone through the stages step-by-step in this example, the question is only worth 3 marks in the exam. You should practice these types of algebra-solving questions such that you are able to solve them whilst presenting your workings clearly, quite quickly. 

Kathryn P. GCSE Maths tutor, A Level English tutor, GCSE English tuto...

3 months ago

Answered by Kathryn, a GCSE Maths tutor with MyTutor

Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist


£18 /hr

Ross G.

Degree: Mathematics (Masters) - Durham University

Subjects offered: Maths, Physics+ 2 more

Further Mathematics

“I am a maths student at Durham University. I love maths and I love studying it, both now and at A levels. I know that maths isn’t for everybody but I hope that in my tutorials I can help you learn the content and, maybe, you can learn ...”

£18 /hr

Hafsah K.

Degree: Mechanical Engineering (Masters) - Nottingham University

Subjects offered: Maths, Physics+ 1 more


“About Me:  I study Mechanical Engineering at the University of Nottingham. Maths and science have always been my favourite subjects, and I hope to share my passion for them with you! I have hadprevious experience in tutoring with two ...”

£30 /hr

Adam D.

Degree: Economics and Management (Bachelors) - Bristol University

Subjects offered: Maths, Economics


“I am a second year undergraduate student at the University of Bristol, studying Economics and Management. I achieved A* in Economics and Maths A-levels and an A* at maths GCSE so would be very happy to help any students who are studyi...”

About the author

Kathryn P.

Currently unavailable: for new students

Degree: Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Bachelors) - Oxford Alumni University

Subjects offered: Maths, History+ 5 more

Government and Politics
Extended Project Qualification
-Personal Statements-
-Oxbridge Preparation-

“Hello!  My name is Kathryn and I have recently graduated from Balliol College, Oxford with a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. I have always enjoyed learning and helping others to understand new subjects. Currently I'm liv...”

You may also like...

Posts by Kathryn

How could I plan a peice of persuasive writing?

Solve 8(x + 3) = 36

Other GCSE Maths questions

What is 'cotx'?

Find the possible values of x when x^2+8x+15=0

There are 7 white socks and 4 black socks in a drawer. Two socks are taken out at random without replacement. Work out the probability that the two socks are the same colour

What's the difference between a histogram and a bar chart?

View GCSE Maths tutors


We use cookies to improve our service. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss