Some students try to figure out what all they have first.
They read the problem, write out all the details they have been given, and then expect to solve it from there. But you will save yourself an enormous amount of time if you know you are looking to answer first.
If you know what you are looking for and you can then name the pieces you need to find, even the most difficult problems become extremely manageable.
For a simple example, let’s say you’ve been given a question and you realize you are being asked how tall a ladder you’ll need to paint a wall (I know, weird problem – but just go with it). (Looking for the answer to the Canada-United States question?
This might include the keywords you’ve just found and any variables, as well as what your solution needs to be, so that you can set up the proper algebra equations.
When you underline or highlight these important parts, you can quickly reference the things you need to without having to read through the entire problem again.
After you know a bit about the problem before you, we’re going to ask three questions about it.
You can ask these three questions of any word problem, in any type of math. Take the following situation for example: A plane leaves Toronto, Ontario (Canada), heads to Newark, New Jersey, and then heads to Seattle, Washington.
But I recommend rechecking the most important detail before you guess: “For what I am looking? If you don’t know what you are looking for, you’ll end up missing it every time.
After you know what you’re being asked, you can then think about what it will take to get that answered.