Math Problem Solving Techniques
Life is an arena of problems. L.A Averill has said,"The only worthwhile life is a life which contains its problems; to live without any longings and ambitions is to live only half way". A human child has to meet and solve problems as he grows-problems which present in his physical surroundings, his intellectual associations and in his social contacts. These problems grow in number and complexity as he or she grows older and older. His success in life is in large measuredetermined by the individual's capasity and competence to solve them.
Mathematics is a subject of problems.Stydying mathematics is different from studying other subjects. Math is learned by doing problems. Efficiency and ability in solving problems is a guarantee for success in learning this subject.
- The first and most important step in solving a problem is to understand the problem. Read the problem clearly and grasp its meaning. Superficial or careless reading does not pay in mathematics. Be sure that you understand clearly what is given and what you are expected to find or prove. Keep these things in mind throughout your work.
- Take sufficient time to think.
- Plan thoroughly before you start.I dentify which skills and techniques you have learned can be applied to solve the problem at hand.
- A problem is generally made up of a series of steps. So,when doing problems, do it step-by-step. Do not get overwhelmed by the entire problem at once. Break it down into small manageable pieces.
- Even if you have to copy something, be sure that you do it correctly.
- Draw diagrams and sketches wherever possible. They often help in understanding and solving problems
- Work at your maximum speed.
- Be mentally alert, aggressive and confident.
- Form the habit of verification. Always check whether the answer you found seem reasonable? Also review the problem and method of solution so that you will be able to more easily recognize and solve a similar problem.
- When doing word problems,first convert the problem into mathematics. Usually,this step is the most challenging part of an applied problem. If possible, start by drawing a picture. Label it with all the quantities mentioned in the problem. If a quantity in the problem is not a fixed number, name it by a variable. Identify the goal of the problem. Then complete the conversion of the problem into math, i.e., find equations which describe relationships among the variables, and describe the goal of the problem mathematically. As a final step, you should convert the answer of your math problem back into words, so that you have now solved the original applied problem.