The smartest way, ESPECIALLY since fractions cause you difficulties, is to clear the fractions away as your very first step. How? You might well ask that, eh? Find a number that can eliminate all the fractions if you multiply them by it. For instance, if you have 3/5 and 4/3, that number will be 15. To be snap-on, so to speak, and tricky looking, you want the lowest number that can do it (like 15). But to be honest, who cares, right? That was literally for the days when you weren t allowed to use a calculator. So if multiplying by 30 or 105 is clearer to you, or you notice 30 will do it before you realize 15 will, just go with it. multiply those two fractions by 15 and you get 15*(3/5) = 45/5 = 9 and 15*(4/3) = 60/3 = 20. So you end up with no fractions. Do it by 30 and you get 18 and 40, also NO fractions. So it hardly matters if you are tricky looking, you just want to get it done. Speaking of which: Your fractions are eigths and fourths so if you multiply by 8 (or 72 or 800) you make the fractions go away. For ease in multiplying, convert from those cr*ppy mixed fractions into "improper fractions." For instance: 2 3/8 = 2 + 3/8 2 = 2 * 8/8 = 16/8 so 2 + 3/8 = 16/8 + 3/8 = 19/8 Similarly, 5 3/4 = 23/4. So now you have: 19/8 + y = 23/4..multiply BOTH sides by 8 to clean out the fractions 8 * 19/8 + 8*y = 8 * 23/4..evaluate them 19 * 8/8 + 8y = 23 * 8/4..keep going 19 * 1 + 8y = 23 * 2..one more time 19 + 8y = 46 Now just solve that (subtract 19 from each side: 8y = 27 and divide each side by 8: y = 27/8) and you re done. So much easier once the nasty fractions are gone. Oh yeah, the slugs teaching you are using textbooks that HAVE to differ from yesterday s textbooks or why would schools buy them? So today s difference is that you can t ever leave something as an improper fraction, you must convert it to a mixed fraction or your priest will force a ton of pennance upon you. So the answer has one more step, converting 27/8 to 3 3/8. y = 3 3/8. Isn t it great you are getting taught poorly so that some textbook company can sell a ton of new textbooks and your parents think they ve done you well because "new" = "better"? Or. would being taught so it s understandable be better? Hmmm. Added, and nothing to do with the question, but: My GOD you re beautiful!!! Keep your chin up babe, college is even more fun!