Colorful House of Math logo
Log in

Systems of Equations (Elimination)


Here you’ll learn the final method for solving a system of equations, the elimination method. Below are the instructions for how to use this method, followed by an example of solving a system of equations with this method.

Rule

The Elimination Method

1.
Choose a variable that will be eliminated.
2.
Multiply the equations I and II by the numbers that would make the variable you chose have the same coefficient, but with opposite signs. This will allow you to cancel them.
3.
Write the new equations below the first two.
4.
Add equation II to equation I, and write the answer below these equations. Now, you’re left with one equation, with one unknown. Solve it.
5.
Put the answer you find into equation I, and solve for the final variable.
6.
Write your answer using coordinates:

ANSWER: (x,y) = (a,b)

Example 1

Solve the system of equations I y + 2x = 1 II 2y x = 2

1.
Let’s decide to get rid of y.
2.
Since you have 2y in equation II and y in equation I, you have to multiply equation I by 2 to eliminate y. In this case, you don’t have to multiply equation II by anything: Iy + 2x = 1 | ( 2) II2y x = 2̲
3.
Write the two equations again after applying the changes: 2y 4x = 2 2y 4 x̲ = 2̲
4.
Add the two equations together such that y is eliminated, and solve for x: 2y + 2y 4x x = 2 + 2 0y 5x = 0 x = 0
5.
Put the answer into either equation I or II. Here, you can choose whichever you like. Let’s pick equation I in this case: y + 2x = 1 y + 2 × (0) = 1 y + 0 = 1 y = 1
6.
Write the answer using coordinates:

ANSWER: (x,y) = (0, 1)

Want to know more?Sign UpIt's free!
White arrow pointing to the LeftPrevious entry
Systems of Equations (Substitution)
Next entryWhite arrow pointing to the right
Activities 9