A wise man once said maths stands for Mental Abuse To Humans. But jokes aside math can be kind of fun once you get a hang of it. But how do you go about doing that? The first step to getting better at math is learning how to effectively approach math problems. Here are some of the top tips on how to can do just that.
Moreover, there are lots of apps that can help you with math as well, find out more here.
The first step to solving a math problem is figuring out if you understand the problem. This is especially crucial for word problems of math as they tend to be tricky. For instance, you may have gotten a question like “At a party, everyone shook hands with everybody else. There were 66 handshakes. How many people were at the party?”. For questions like this, you need to read the text carefully and make sure you understand what the question is asking. (The answer is 12 by the way, can you figure out how to do it?)
This is perhaps the most important part of solving a math problem. When solving a math question you need to identify what information you’ve been given and what the question wants you to figure out. For instance, if you are asked to solve for the number of apples left when 2 of a dozen have been eaten. You can easily write down the information given as “the number of apples we had” and “the number of apples that are eaten”. Then you can see that you are looking for is “the number of apples left” which is 10! Of course, this is a very simple problem but the same process can apply to much more complex problems.
Have you ever wonder why math tests ask you to show your steps? There are multiple reasons but the most important reason is for you to demonstrate your understanding of the question. Each mathematical question can be solved much more easily if you follow the right steps in the correct order. The best way to learn how to do so is to practice solving problems and get familiar with the step by step process. Websites such as Khan Academy are a great place to start practicing since they provide you with step by step solutions. Also, keep in mind that you are not trying to memorize the steps to solving the problem. Math problems vary greatly even when they are on the same topic. Hence why two questions that seem very similar may require you to take different steps towards solving them. So when approaching math problems, develop a plan for how you are going to go about solving it step by step.
Most math problems are solvable in multiple ways. Certain math problems can be easily solved using one method only but there are benefits to knowing different mathematical approaches to the same problems. For instance, you can ensure your answer is right by solving the problem in two different ways. In addition, your understanding of the problems will improve by a lot.
Visualization is very effective for solving math problems. In fact, math involves the ability to visualize problems and form a mental image of how to go about solving the problems. Although sometimes it’s hard to visualize the problem especially if it’s a word-heavy one. For those instances, you try to put the problem in your own words and then attempt to visualize it again.
Factors such as formulas, conditions, and assumptions are often used in many solutions. Depending on the lesson and type of question you may need to use a specific formula or assumption to get to the solution. For instance, can you imagine how much harder solving quadratic problems would be without using the quadratic formula? Thus, make sure you have lots of practice using mathematical formulas, conditions, and assumptions since that’s the only way you will be able to easily recognize when is the right time to use them.
Going back to visualizing, one effective way of doing so is using the work backward heuristic. In this method, you imagine you have found the answer and then you try to visualize working backward. By doing so you will get a sense of the step you need to take to solve the problem. Furthermore, after solving the problem you can work backward and see if you can get to the original information given. Overall, working backward can help you visualize the solution and ensure your answer is correct at the same time hence why it’s so effective.
Math can quite literally torture students mentally. But once you build a strong foundation of math and implement the methods above, you will be able to conquer any math question as easy as 1, 2, 3. Who knows, you may even end up finding math problems enjoyable to solve!