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4 Ways To Improve Problem-Solving Skills In Math

In Education
May 18, 2021
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If you’re looking for a career in mathematics or engineering, your ability to solve problems is extremely important. Primarily, problem-solving in math refers to the process of applying a certain method or procedure to solve an equation. It includes an examination of given questions and information to determine ideas, choose an appropriate strategy, do calculations, and find the answer.

Sharpening Your Mathematical Skills

Various problem-solving in math like finding algebraic expressions and solving consecutive integer can be a challenging task because it requires critical thinking to figure out the possible solutions. So if you want to improve your skills in math, below are four ways you could consider: 

1. Know How To Identify A Problem

When it comes to solving mathematical problems, one of the difficulties students face is their inability to identify the problem and what to look for. Typically, when you’re unsure about what to solve, a significant amount of time is wasted due to a misunderstanding of the problem itself. It can also be the reason for having a wrong answer. 

Nonetheless, people still have reasons to believe math is an easy subject to study. But for some, it doesn’t feel this way, especially if it involves meticulous problem-solving. It’s important to learn how to define a problem by following these steps: 

  • Identify the system under study: This means you should be able to interpret all information provided by the problem. The best way to do this is to draw a diagram to better understand what’s being asking for. 
  • Be familiar with the concepts: If the problem includes mathematical concepts, be sure to know them by listing the variables and other necessary information. 
  • Determine the unknowns: Once you define the given, it’s time to identify the unknowns. In most cases, the unknown is the answer you’re looking for. But depending on the nature of the problem, there may be several things needed to be figured out. Make sure you’re aware of what you’re expected to find. 
  • Use appropriate units and symbols: Be sure you know how to interpret symbols to make the calculations. Also, don’t forget to pay attention to the use of units, whenever applicable, to make the process of solving math problems easier and faster. 

2. Develop Good Habits

To improve your problem-solving skills, it’s essential to develop good habits. This means you should practice on your own or with a tutor. When you solve math problems over and over again, you can strengthen your skills in answering the problems in the fastest time possible. Thus, don’t hesitate to challenge yourself in solving practice problems in an area you find difficult. 

For example, if algebra is your weak area, then you should devote more time to practice solving problems related to the matter. You can do this by completing exercises provided by online courses or by hiring a tutor to teach and guide you along the way. When answering practice tests, try to time yourself to see if you’ve improved or not. Eventually, solving equations will become much easier the next time you deal with them. 

3. Sharpen Your Reasoning Skills

Another way to improve your ability to solve mathematical problems is to sharpen your reasoning skills. Sometimes, you may encounter complicated problems you’ve never dealt with before. Instead of skipping and not answering it, it’s best if you deal with the problem upfront. 

Figure out whether there’s a part of the question looking like a problem you’ve solved in the past. If it’s the case, then start breaking them into simpler steps and use your logical and numerical reasoning to think each through.

Remember, solving math problems isn’t only about memorizing formulas and doing calculations. It’s also about knowing the logic behind it and how you can use your reasoning skills to come up with the right answer. Thus, to enhance your skills, try to draw some connections between the problems you’ve encountered before and the ones you’re dealing with now. In this way, math problems would become more familiar to you. 

4. Boost Your Brainpower

If you want to enhance your problem-solving skills, then you need your brain to work properly. Typically, your brain works like an engine as it processes details for as long as it could. But without proper fuel, you can’t expect it to function the way you want it to. This is one reason why you should boost your mind by doing the following:

  • Consume healthy foods: To give your brain extra power, you should eat healthily. For example, you can kickstart your day by having a bowl of porridge. For lunchtime, you can consume eggs. Also, to maintain energy levels, feast on healthy snacks including dark chocolate, nuts, pumpkin seeds, blueberries, whole grains, and many more. 
  • Have a good night’s sleep: Don’t underestimate the value of having plenty of sleep every day. This will allow your brain to rejuvenate and give you the focus you need when solving math problems. 
  • Exercise: Doing exercises can improve your cognitive performance. It can enhance memory and thinking skills by boosting your mood and sleep and by lowering stress levels and anxiety. Hence, make an effort to do some physical activities like walking and stretching to ensure optimum brain health. 
  • Have music for the mind: Another way to fuel your brain power is to listen to music because doing so would enable you to relax and re-energize. Consequently, it reduces your risk of having chronic stress. 

As you can see, your mind and your body work together to help you function efficiently. 

This means if you want to boost your brainpower, you also need to take care of yourself physically. Through this, studying math and solving problems will become simpler. 

The Bottom Line

Problem-solving skills in math need time, patience, and dedication to master. Therefore, if you want to be better at this endeavor, keep these ways in mind and you’ll be in the right direction. The more skilled you are in solving math problems, the easier it’ll be for you to handle real-life problems. Remember, having great problem-solving skills plays an integral role in your future.