# Help Me Solve This Word Problem

The hardest thing about doing word problems is using the part where you need to take the English words and translate them into mathematics.Usually, once you get the math equation, you're fine; the actual math involved is often fairly simple.As your child gets more practice with word problems, finding the key words will get easier.

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— and, trust me, you don't want to do this to yourself! Certain words indicate certain mathematica operations. But the order in addition doesn't matter, so it's okay to add backwards, because the result will be the same either way.) Also note that order is important in the "quotient/ratio of" and "difference between/of" constructions.

If a problems says "the ratio of Some times, you'll be expected to bring your "real world" knowledge to an exercise.

Don't start trying to solve anything when you've only read half a sentence.

Try first to get a feel for the whole problem; try first to see what information you have, and then figure out what you still need. Figure out what you need but don't have, and name things. And make sure you know just exactly what the problem is actually asking for.

Suppose you're told that Shelby earns "time and a half" for any hours she works over forty for a given week.

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You would be expected to know that "time and a half" means dollars for every over-time hour.But figuring out the actual equation can seem nearly impossible. Be advised, however: To learn "how to do" word problems, you will need to practice, practice, practice.The first step to effectively translating and solving word problems is to read the problem entirely.Pick variables to stand for the unknows, clearly labelling these variables with what they stand for. You need to do this for two reasons: " stands for, so you have to do the whole problem over again.I did this on a calculus test — thank heavens it was a short test! (Technically, the "greater than" construction, in "Addition", is also backwards in the math from the English.You'll be expected to know that a "dozen" is twelve; you may be expected to know that a "score" is twenty.You'll be expected to know the number of days in a year, the number of hours in a day, and other basic units of measure.You'll also be expected to know that "perimeter" indicates the length around the outside of a flat shape such as a rectangle (so you'll probably be adding lengths) and that "area" indicates the size of the insides of the flat shape (so you'll probably be multiplying length by width, or applying some other formula).And "volume" is the insides of a three-dimensional shape, such as a cube or sphere (so you'll probably be multiplying).Students need to visualize a problem to understand it, especially younger students.As they get older, they can start to visualize in their head but at a young age they should be drawing out a picture that explains to them what the problem is about.

## Comments Help Me Solve This Word Problem

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