Maths is easily one of the most disliked subjects in school. Many students dread having to go through maths due to its abstract nature, and at times, overall difficulty.
However, when solving a mathematical problem, there is a simple and universal method in order to achieve the answer that is required. This method is taught at every school, used in every classroom, and taught in almost every textbook. It is easy to understand and simple in implementation. So let us explore the steps in solving a mathematics problem. We will use the example of a circle with a given radius, where we must find the circumference.
Now when you are given a mathematical question to solve, the first thing you must do is identify what the actual question is asking of you. For example, if you are given a circle, and it asks you to solve for the circumference, you don’t go ahead and solve for the surface area. That is not what the question is asking. One way to make sure you do not lose sight of the question is to underline the main question if possible.
Next thing you must do is identifying the main pieces of relevant information given in the question. When we go back to the circle question, if we are given the radius of the circle, we must make sure that the radius is noted down as important information. You can do this by underlining the piece of information in the question, and/or rewriting the piece of information when answering the question.
Once you understand the important pieces of information, you must write down any equations you will need. In the case of the circle question, it is the equation of circumference.
You must then substitute the numbers and values given to you into the relevant equations and solve for the answer. In our case, we substitute the radius of the circle into the equation for a circumference in order to obtain the final answer. At this stage it is important to show working out and to demonstrate your though process.
Finally, you must make sure that the final answer is clear to your teacher, your marker, or yourself if you are simply revising. You can do this by simply drawing a box around the final answer, or highlighting the final answer.
If the final answer involves units of some kind, say for example, kg’s, do not forget them in your final answer. If the question asks you to express the answer in a certain way, whether it may be a fraction, a decimal with a certain number of decimal places, or even a percentage, you must follow these instructions.
It should be noted, however, that there are a lot of students that do not follow this simple procedure. They often skip steps and sometimes present their answer in a way that is not coherent and does not allow a teacher to follow their thought process. This does not allow them to really come to a full understanding of the concept they are learning.
Displaying your answer in this way and following this procedure will help express your knowledge of the mathematical subject, and will help solidify your knowledge of the mathematical concept you are learning of. Follow the steps, and your mathematical skills and performance will improve.
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