Guide to Solving Math Word Problems
One of the challenging aspects of math is dealing with word problems. Often such tasks require more than just using formulae. To get the correct answer, a student has to cover long expositions. Then understand the English words and pick the right math equation to solve the problem.
Math word problems tend to focus on real-life applications where a specific problem is presented, and the solution can only be obtained through accurate mathematic calculations. Part of the purpose of word problems is to assess whether or not a learner can use the taught concepts. That is why they are common in all mathematic disciplines.
If you find it hard to read a word math problem and select the right equation, this post is you. Use it to gain insight into how to become a good math problem solver.
Read and Reread the Math Problem
Math experts recommend rereading the math problem to get an accurate translation. Avoid jumping into a conclusion after reading the first half of the word problem. Instead, read the whole sentence, try to determine what the teacher wants to know. Then reread it, and if you still arrive at the same conclusion, start solving the problem.
Work in an Organized Manner
To get the correct answer to any math question, including word problems, you have to work meticulously. After understanding what the word problems requires of you pick a formula and the necessary variables. Pick the ideal visual presentations you will use to explain your reasoning. Process charts can help you create a systematic way to solve the question. Being organized allows you to tackle the problem quickly so that if it is a test, you do not run out of time.
Identify Key Words
Word problems tend to have key components that will guide you towards selecting a particular math operation. For instance, your word problem might include phrases such as greater than or equal to. Avoid getting lost in details as you might end up missing what the question is asking. Identifying key words is part of knowing what to do and displaying the things you know to help solve the problem.
Determine the Goal of the Math Problem
Not every math problem will have a straight forward method of arriving at the correct answer. Some are formulated in such a way that they require critical thinking skills, problem-solving, and analysis. Yes the question might look hard but you have to solve it and proof you have grasped the material taught in class and can use the knowledge in a diverse setting.
Understanding the word problem's goal will help you take a successful approach in solving that particular question. Visualizing what the problem looks like and putting it in your own words makes it easier and quicker to comprehend the problem and identify the technique that will help solve it.
You can also use appropriate resources such as class material, log tables, or even a dictionary to understand hard words. The last step is to solve the word problem and check the work to ensure the answer you are presenting is indeed the correct one.