If you're one of the many students who dread doing math homework, but want to improve your grades, then algebra software is just the thing to help you get the skills and understanding you need. Algebrator is an interactive math program that allows you to input your own homework problems and can explain each step to take in the problem-solving process. This software wins our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award.

Topics Covered

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Algebrator covers a wide range of topics from pre-algebra to college algebra, allowing you to use the program in all your math classes. Some of the specific topics it covers include fractions, roots, radicals, factoring, polynomials, exponential expressions, finding a least common multiple and a greatest common factor, simplifying complex numbers, solving linear and quadratic equations, Cramer’s rule, graphing curves, operations with functions, simplifying logarithms, ratios, proportions and linear algebra.

This math program is updated on a regular basis to improve and expand its coverage areas. That's a good benefit, especially when compared with other math programs that are not supported after they're released. While you may not need some of the functions that lead to trigonometry or statistics, the program gives you access to them if needed.

Homework Help

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Algebrator uses a dynamic, powerful worksheet that looks like a lined sheet of paper. With this flexible worksheet, what you see is what you get. You can type in your problems, and add symbols and exponents with a click of a button. Equations you input look like they would if you were writing them on paper. This is a great function and helps you keep your problems neat and easy to read.

This algebra software offers bite-sized pieces of instruction through its Solve Step button. You also can choose to solve the entire equation all at once, or just a piece at a time. Also, if you decide to work out the problem yourself without any help, you can check your answers by hitting the Check Your Work button.

If you're unsure where to start on a homework problem, initiate the wizard. When you activate it, you're presented with a list of equations and principles from which to choose. Select a situation from the list and Algebrator walks you through the steps you need to solve your problem.

Teaching Tools

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Algebrator

Maple

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MathTutor Algebra 1

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One of Algebrator's most valuable teaching tools is the Explain button. When you need extra insight into why you need to apply a principle, or you don't understand the principle, the explain feature generates a clear, detailed explanation on how to proceed with each step. You can choose how much of an explanation to see by clicking the Visibility button. This is handy if you're trying to test your memory of principles and concepts. You can opt to use any of five different levels – from exposing only the answer to exposing every detail of every step of the process. This program has a graphing feature that lets you enter your problems to generate a graph based on the given system of equations.

There are no games with this algebra software because the designers have no interest in entertaining you, and developed it to be a tool and not a toy. Also, Algebrator does not have traditional tutorials or lessons to walk you through concepts as a traditional classroom teacher would. Nevertheless, this math program is invaluable as a tutor and problem solver.

Ease of Use/Support

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Algebrator

Maple

Math Advantage

MathTutor Algebra 1

Basic Algebra Shape-Up

MathXpert

High Achiever

Algebrator is extremely easy to use. The dynamic worksheet, easy-to-add symbols, clear explanations and a highly functional wizard add to its utility. You don't have to memorize a long list of keyboard shortcuts to be able to use this program, which makes it accessible to users of all ages. You can save your work or print it.

There's hardly any loading time, unlike some math software. This math program lacks some of the features of its competitors such as quizzes, video tutorials and games. However, those features may make a program run slower, frustrating you and eating up your computer's processing resources. Streamlined programs like Algebrator are better in many respects because they don’t slow down your computer.

Algebrator is a one-time purchase. This means there are no ongoing subscriptions or license renewals, and updates are free. This program is not tied to any specific books, so you can use it with any algebra math book your teacher assigns. It installs on as many as three different computers.

If you need help or tech support, you can click the Support button within Algebrator to create an email to send to customer support. You don’t even have to open your email program to send an email. We appreciated that convenience and think you will too. There's a helpful FAQs page and a toll-free number if needed. There's also a stellar guarantee: 100 percent satisfaction or you can get your money back, no questions asked.

Algebrator Summary:

We recommend Algebrator to any algebra student who wants to succeed and needs more help than a video or multiple-choice quiz can offer. This algebra software is easy to use, not overly complex and has all the tools to help you work out your algebra problems. With Algebrator's dynamic worksheet and clear, thorough explanations, you can work with confidence, and know the best virtual tutor is ready to help you succeed at your learning pace and schedule.

TopTenREVIEWS no longer updates this category and keeps it here for archiving purposes only. It was last updated in July 2014.

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