There are many different strategies that good problem solvers use to solve a
problem. Before using a strategy, you must remember a few things. First, take your time.
Few good problem solvers solve problems fast. Second, don't give up. You will never
solve a problem if you don't try. Last, be flexible. If a first you don't succeed, try another
way. And if the second way doesn't work, try a third way.
There are a few steps to solving a problem that you should follow. First, read the
problem very carefully. Try to understand every word and make sure you know what the
problem is asking. If you don't know the meaning of a word, look it up in a dictionary.
Second, sort out information that is not needed. Third, devise a plan. Even guesses have
to be planned out. Arrange information in tables, draw pictures, and compare the
information to another problem you know of.
Fourth, carry out the plan. Attempt to solve
it and work with care. If the attempt doesn't work then go back and read the problem
again. Last, check your work carefully. Don't check by repeating the problem, estimate or
find another way to try and to solve the problem.
You can understand what the problem means yet still not be able to solve it
immediately. One good way to help you solve the problem is to draw a picture. One
example of this strategy is suppose you received a problem asking you how many
diagonals a heptagon has. The plan is very obvious. Draw a heptagon and then draw its
Another strategy is trial and error. Trial and error is a problem solving strategy
that everybody uses at one time or another. In trial and error, you try an answer.