What Are Some Tips for Solving Math Word Problems?


Quick Answer

To solve math word problems, students should read questions carefully to get all the facts, ignoring the numbers at first. Reading questions several times helps students to identify the operations required. Additionally, students may draw out stories and relate them to real life.

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Full Answer

First readings help students translate text into the relevant numeric equations. Students must represent unknowns using different letters to avoid confusion. Students should then list the variables identified and attach them with any units of measure mentioned. They should think of any shortcuts applicable in solving the problems, taking precaution to illustrate all required procedures through writing. It helps to look for key words such as "sum," "less than," "difference" and "take away" to identify the required operations.

Students should draw math word problems to enable proper flows of ideas. Drawing graphical representations helps students track variables and remember their meanings. Students should make sure the work is neat, simplify any factors and rationalize any radical expressions in order to move faster. Factoring complicated expressions also enables students to reveal any math properties that are not accessible in their original forms. It is further useful to memorize arithmetic computations, such as multiplication tricks and power operations and to practice solving more math word problems to get familiar with the solving techniques.

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