Students learn to convert a linear equation to slope-intercept, or y = mx + b form, by getting y by itself on the left side of the equation. For example, to convert the equation x - 3y = -12 to y = mx + b form, the first step is to subtract x from both sides to get -3y = -x - 12. Notice that the x term is positioned before the number on the right side of the equation so that the equation will eventually match up with y = mx + b form. Next, divide both sides by -3 to get y = 1/3 x + 4. Now the problem is in y = mx + b form, with m = 1/3 and b = 4, and the line can be graphed using the slope and y-intercept.