Skip to main content

SOLVING WORD PROBLEMS: A VISUAL APPROACH: HOME

A four-step guide on how to solve word problems using a visual approach.

STEP ONE

Step 1: Identify the given information in the problem.

Underline the information in your problem. Then create a checklist. As you use the information in your solution, make sure to check off each box.

Understanding a math word problem is 50% of the work. So give yourself a pat on the back when you’ve finished it! 

STEP TWO

Step 2: Find the question in the passage and state it in your own words.

Underline the question with a different color than you used for the first step. After you have underlined the question, write the information out in your own words, so that you understand what is being asked. 

STEP THREE

Step 3: Devise a strategy to solve the problem.

Now that you have collected the information you need to solve the problem, you need to come up with a strategy to conquer the problem.

Think about what’s being asked. Is there a formula you need to use? Do you need to calculate a percentage for your final answer? Write out the steps you need to use to solve the problem, so that you can carry out your plan.

THE STEPS TO SOLVING A WORD PROBLEM

  1. Identify the given information.
  2. Find the question and state it in your own words.
  3. Devise a strategy to solve the problem.
  4. Carry out your plan.

Use three different colored pencils/pens to separate each of the first three parts of the problem solving process.

EXAMPLES

Here are a few examples of how to use this process in solving a mathematical problem.

RATE THIS GUIDE

 

ASK THE ASC FOR HELP!

Need Academic Help? Contact the Academic Success Center (ASC)!

ASC CONTACT INFORMATION

STEP FOUR

Step 4: Once you have created a plan, then you need to solve the problem. Make sure you have used all the given information in the problem, answered the question, and followed each step in your strategy.

Keep Calm. Be confident. You’ve got this! 

source