Many students have a false belief that math word problems are only about math itself. However, experienced scholars unanimously claim that if a student is running into problems trying to solve math problems, it’s an issue of perception, not math itself.
Solve Math Problems: Where Does The Fear Come From?
It’s not uncommon for students to be so perplexed by word math problems that they begin feeling fear every time they’re tasked with solving another problem. However, that emotion has some very understandable origins:
- Solving math word problems isn’t as straightforward as, for example, solving the equation. The lack of strict rules and the large number of words used in the problem can undoubtedly confuse the student. Luckily, this issue is not unsolvable, and there are, in fact, some rules for solving word problems. For example, once you realize that the rules of reading a math word problem is similar to the close reading skill you’ve already obtained in your English class.
- The fear of math can be not only mental, but only physical. Don’t confuse that with an uneasy sensation in your stomach you feel before a quiz – this physical reaction is a lot different. We’re talking about the short-term memory, which can be very helpful when solving a math problem, but, unfortunately, can also freeze when we need it the most. Short-term memory is needed to read the lines, identify the questions, and choose the correct numbers for your equation, and this is where memory can fail you. If you often make mistakes while solving problems, your short-term memory can be to blame instead of math skills.
Solve Math Problems: Fix The Perception
The first secret of fixing the perception problem with solving math can be learned already in elementary school. If you develop a set of rules for solving math problems as early as possible, you can then use the same set of rules at every stage of your learning process. Start by learning to properly read the problem and understanding every word there is.
Another big secret of a perception problem when it comes to math is that students often confuse issues with math with simply being nervous. The brain freeze and other uncomfortable symptoms associated with solving math problems rarely have anything to do with math – rather, they are a product of being intimidated by the subject. In this situation learning to write down every single detail of the problem can prove to be very effective for the studying process.
Solve Math Problems: A Few Simple Rules
If you or someone you know are struggling with math, here are some simple rules that can make a huge difference:
- Master the art of annotation: circle and underline the important information, lightly cross out the sentences you don’t need for solving the problem. Put special emphasis on the thing you’re asked to find: for example, it’s important not to confuse names with numbers when you’re specifically asked to answer with a name.
- Visualizing the problem is an effective way of understanding the word problem better and seeing the solution to the problem. You don’t have to be an artist to draw a picture to go with your math problem – even a simple drawing will do!
- Colored pencils do wonder for solving math problems – even seasoned scholars often use this technique when working with problems.
- Common math tools like graph paper and ruler are not used in a math class until a certain stage of the studies, but many students have found those tools to be very helpful in solving math problems. They help you create better visual aids for the problem and find the solution faster.
- Before diving into the solving process looking for the answer, estimate what that answer should be – at least, find a range within your answer can be found. In case that after the solving the number you get is far from the estimated number, it means that there was a problem in the solving.
- Checking your work as you go and after you finish is the only effective way to prevent the so-called careless errors, which contribute to over 50% of wrong answers in a match class.