my kid is finishing up his first semester in a college level algebra class. he currently has an 86% but his is 'white knuckling it'. he told me he is nervous about the semester test because they have gone over so much, he feels that he's not retaining it. he says he doesn't know which formula to use when approaching i guess a word problem...?

my question is this: is there a clue in any given problem as to which formula must be used?

i cannot tell you what formulas they covered in class but is it like: "when you see this, you must use the quadratic formula or the binomial theorem...etc"

thank you for the help

by the way i am not a math person. but i know math is straightforward and doesn't change. he is kind of like me, we both like geometry but algebra is like putting a needle in the eye:(