It is quite difficult for students to solve math problems. These are the tasks, which require attention to details, lots of basic knowledge and enough concentration. However, math word problems may be much harder, because they are focused on reading skills and not only on math.
Why students are afraid to solve word problems?
Here are some of the most common reasons, which make students of various academic background and origin to be afraid of word problems:
- It is difficult to understand the logic of word tasks, because they don’t follow strict rules compared to math assignments. That is why it is causing many troubles to students, who are not confident enough. They don’t know how to start, trying to find common universal rules. However, there are still lots of patters, which may eventually help to remain on track not depending on the difficulty of the task. You just need to see them!
- Most of the students have a real, physical, fear, when solving math problems. They go much beyond a simple ache in the stomach and can even influence short-term memory. When we are nervous, our memory can freeze, not letting us use all the information we have collected. It becomes a real challenge, especially for word problems, because we read lots of data, when preparing for the task. This means that you may think that you are simply not ready to complete math assignments, while in reality you just need to boost your memory!
Solve the problem of perception
- The first and the most important advice is to master basic rules, while you are at school. Then it will be much easier to solve math assignments even if they are very complicated. Don’t forget that even if you need to remember equations, you will need to master reading skills at first;
- You should always distinguish the difference between math difficulties and just being too nervous. When you detect the moment of brain ‘freezing’, you will be able to overcome the obstacles and forget about math problems;
- Write down all the information you can. It may sound too obvious and simple but the more details you note down the easier it will be to keep details in your memory. If you skip this important step, you may greatly regret it in future.
Common rules for solving math and word problems
Now, when you already know what problems you may face, you can proceed with mastering the most productive rules for solving any sorts of problems:
- Understand what the main question is. This means that you need to highlight all the important elements. For example, circle numbers you need to use and cross out unnecessary information. Don’t forget to underline what you need to find. For example, if you are asked to find out what student is the shortest in the class, you need to give a name and not a number. Simply apply basic annotating rules you would regularly use in your English class;
- Visualize the assignment. It doesn’t mean that you need to be a professional artist: just draw pictures of the task and it will greatly help you to solve the problem. Of course, if you have a good visual memory;
- Buy colored pencils. With the help of colors you can distinguish various objects and numbers, getting to the point much faster;
- Always use a ruler, a protractor and a graph paper. In order to have a clearer picture, you can use common tools. It is better to buy them yourself, because they might not be available in the class;
- Know what your answer should be before proceeding to the task. This means that before solving the assignment you should know what the answer needs to be. In such a way, you will be able to distinguish whether you are going in a right direction or not;
- Always check the paper. Even if it is a short math task, you need to check it before the delivery. Most of the teachers say that almost half of the mistakes are careless and could be avoided. Just check your work to make sure there are no typos or logical mistakes.
When solving math and word problems, you need to use a complex approach. Train your memory, master math and reading skills, and you will surely succeed!