Always show steps neatly.
When solving maths problems, teachers, assessors and examiners like to see a story of how you got from A to B. Solving maths problems is just like solving any other problem, you need only to follow a three-step process.
1. Step 1 – What do you know.
State the known’s – Here in the first step I recommend to start with a picture or sketch of the problem. On the sketch label the known and unknown values. This helps to construct in your mind a strategy to solve the problem. By simply drawing the problem you are halfway there
2. Step 2 – What are you trying to find out.
State the problem- here in this step simply state what you are wanting to solve for. For example if you were trying to find x-intercepts, put x= ? Label this on your sketch or diagram.
3. Step 3 – Develop your plan
Construct your plan. Here we use formulas and strategies we have learned from the theory.
See below for a common VCE Methods question
This process is how physicists, mathematicians and engineers follow to solve all problems in the real world. If you follow these steps the benifits will be:
You will find maths and physics problems much easier and enjoyable.
You will be awarded for your work by teachers. Plus ! Examiners and assessors will be able to follow your work more easily and award consequential marks even if you don’t arrive at the correct answer.
If you don’t arrive at the correct answer, then you can easily retrace where you went wrong by backtracking through your problem solving story
This strategy also promotes abstract thinking skills and helps you think of other ways to solve problems. Problems can be solved multiple ways and should be attempted to increase your problem solving abilities.