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Fastest Ways to Deal with Long Math Word Problems

by Sep 17, 2016Mathematics

It’s safe to say that mathematics can be, by far, one of the most boring subjects. Even for students with an interest in it, face problems that can be difficult to overcome. However, regardless of how uninteresting or drab a subject may be; teachers will continue set homework that we will be forced to do. The importance of maths cannot be understated; there isn’t a field of education or daily life that does not require basic mathematics related problem solving skills. Children tend to excel at math when it is straightforward.
However, the minute they are introduced to word problems, many find it hard to progress. While most maneuverer through it, some are unable to get past it. If you have trouble with math problems, below are a few pointers to help you overcome them!
Easy Ways to Solve Math Problems
There are various kinds of math word problems – they can be long, short, complicated or extremely simple. Either way, depending on how the problem is worded and the information given in the problem, it is essential to use the right techniques to find a solution. Here are a few key ways to solve problems.

  • Read Carefully

The most common mistakes that most students make, is skimming through the questions that have been set. The point of a word problem in mathematics is to teach students how to focus and figure out solutions. There are multiple parts of each sum, and each part has valuable information that is crucial in figuring out an answer. After reading multiple sums understanding the criteria and solution method will be easy.
Once you understand the points given and the question that has been asked, long word problems are easy to solve! Do not move on to solving it before understanding the problem completely.

  • Paraphrase

A quick method when trying to understand a long or complicated problem is reading or writing it out in your own way. Try to represent the problem in your own way. Ensure the accuracy but comparing what you have written to the question. Note down all the figures correctly.
Most of the time, students make careless mistakes while jotting down numbers symbols. The smallest mistake can ruin the entire sum that you have been working on and produce an incorrect answer. Remember this point when looking for easy ways to finish your science assignment.

  • Use Visual Aids

Sometimes, seeing a problem in front of you helps figure out the appropriate way of solving it. Draw a diagram, chart or simply break up the points given in a way that is easy to understand. Dissect the problem into multiple parts and try to figure out each part individually. Using knick-knacks lying around is a good way to help students understand problematic sums in the initial stages.
In an examination hall, ask for a spare sheet of paper to make rough calculations and drawings that aid in a quick solution. Avoid elaborate or complicated drawings. This method is not necessarily applicable to everyone. It is only for those who have trouble segregating different parts in their minds.

  • Identify Patterns

Often times, each problem has a pattern attached to it. This may be the case for multiple long word problems. If you are able to identify the pattern, finding a solution will be simple and quick. Note down patterns if necessary. Once you have identified a pattern, assigning an equation to solve it will be simple.
However, if you do not notice a pattern after reading it a few times, there may not be one. Each sum is not written in the exact same manner. Read carefully and move on once you’re done analysing it.

  • Review All Information

Once you have attained all the information possible from the problem, read it once more to ensure that there are no mistakes. If long word math problems are set for homework, look for similar examples from professional online websites or in a textbook to avail of a general guideline to solving it.
Some examples may even have the entire solution. In most problem sums, it is only the numbers and situations that have been changed slightly to confuse the students, while the solution remains the same.

  • Find a Formula

Once you have understood the requirements of the problem, the next step will be identifying what formula can be used to solve it. There may be multiple formulas that are applicable for any given sum but choosing the most appropriate will be difficult. Try and work out the formula in your head and gauge an informed estimate and analyse which one works best.
In mathematics, each formula that you learn is used later for more complicated concepts. It is important to continuously revise formulas and practice them so that they aren’t forgotten.

  • Follow the Rules

Once the right formula has been found, the next step is easy, that is, provided you know how to use the formula. Each formula has a step by step method and a set of rules that need to be followed in order to figure out the answer. Never skip a step or confuse the workings of one formula for another; this will only result in an incorrect answer.

  • Re-read the Sum

Once you are done solving a problem, check each little detail to ensure that nothing is out of place. Re-reading your work can help you find small mistakes or bits of information that you may have missed earlier. Many students, especially during exams, fail to recheck their work.
Eventually, they lose many points for mistakes that could have been easily corrected. Do not lose out on grades that have been earned for carelessness. Be thorough with work before submitting it to the teacher or examiner.

  • Practise Daily

Math is a subject that can be learned and perfected through determination and practice. In order to stay on track and keep up in class while the teacher is explaining complicated concepts, having a solid understanding of the basics is useful. Practising a few problems every day is more than enough to develop a habit and hone your mathematic skills.
Use the above tips in any combination in order to solve long and seemingly incomprehensible math word problems!