It doesn't help a bit unless the equation you're trying to solve involves rational expressions or factoring (which is what you do to simplify rational expressions).

__Examples__Knowing how to simplify rational expressions will not help you solve**x + 3 = 5**. It might help you solve**x^2 + 4x + 4 = 0**, because you would be tuned into finding factors of the quadratic. You would immediately recognize it as (x+2)^2 = 0, so you would know x = -2.