Solving Math Problems:

Do not be tempted to look at a problem and start punching numbers into a calculator. Using a calculator this way only ensures you will get the wrong answer quickly. Instead, follow this checklist:

1. Read the problem carefully – you may need to read it twice.

2. Draw and label a picture of the problem.

3. Think about the information you are given and what you want to know.

4. Choose a formula – some problems may require more than one formula.

5. Write down a formula as it is given. Rearrange it if it is not in the form you need.

6. Replace the words in the formula with the numbers and units of the information you have been given – sometimes you may be given information you don’t need – don’t let that fool you.

7. if needed, add conversion factors to end up with the requested units. Cancel – cross out – units to make sure the only units left are the ones you want in your answer.

8. Then, get out your calculator and work the problem.

9. Ask yourself if the final answer is reasonable for the question being asked.

10. Double check to make sure your answer is in the units being asked for – too often answers may be incorrect because of failure to make sure the final answer is in the correct units.