When learning math, getting stumped without knowing what next is very common. However, before you let go of that pen and paper and scream I hate math to the top of your lungs, take time to read this article.
If you have read other articles or books on how to solve math problems, this article will not really provide anything new. However, this provides you with a simple step by step approach to help you through each math problem you encounter.
How do you go about solving a difficult math problem?
Before discussing the steps, you must realize how keeping an open mind about math will improve your performance greatly. You may dislike math, but reminding yourself over and over will make you worse off. So, try assuming even just for a few minutes, that math is manageable. As it actually is.
So, here it goes.
In every math problem, you have to ask yourself 4 very important questions, which are:
1. What information am I given?In this part, you can do any one or more of the following:
• List down the information and facts given in the word problem, along with units and other details
• Point out key words and underline or circle them. There are hundreds of key words possible such as area, speed, factor, per, for every, among many others
• Watch out for units that are mixed. Units are important information, so never neglect them.
• Express the information in the form of math symbols, for example speed is distance over time.
2. What information is being asked?On this step, make sure you do the following:
• Know what the problem expects you to find. Check if it has to be expressed in certain units.
• Express your goal in terms of math symbols, if possible. If you are being asked for the area of a circle, express it as A = pi*r*r
3. What can I do with the given information?
• Play around with the facts you are given. Check what information you can get with the given and see whether it brings you closer to the information you have to solve for.
• Don t hesitate to manipulate the information one step at a time. Simplify the problem if it is relatively complicated.
• Make a picture or diagram, or even a table or chart. if the situation calls for it.
• Look for certain distinct pattern if applicable.
• If the problem seems difficult to understand, find a way to restate the problem which might be easier to grasp.
• Keep manipulating until you arrive at an answer.
4. Does my answer make sense?
• Once you have successfully found a way to solve the problem, check if it makes sense.
• Read the problem again and understand it once more.
• Check if you have the right units, as asked.
• Think of a way to confirm if your answer is right, if there is at all.
Solving math problems should not be tough if you keep your mind and heart open. Start with these 4 questions and see how you ll fare.
John has a site called http://Mathtrench.com , that offers thousands of solved math problems
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