How to improve your Mathematics problem solving skills

Many students in Singapore have problems solving Mathematics questions quickly. Whether it is for Additional Mathematics or Elementary Maths, problem solving skills is something all students must acquire before sitting for their O-level exams. We would like to share a few useful tips on how you can improve and do well for your Mathematics examinations.

  1. Read the question and understand the problem

It is only logical that to start solving a Math problem you need to understand what is going on. Most students don’t get this. They assume questions are similar to the ones they did in the past year exam papers and they plunge right into it without first understanding the question. If after reading the question, you have absolutely no idea on what the question is about, then you have not really understood the topic. Go back and re-learn the chapter and get the foundations right. When you understand the Math problem, you would know the solution it requires and you will then know where to begin.

  1. Knowns and unknowns

Solving Math questions require you to use existing information presented to solve the unknowns. You are required to write down what you know and then use them to derive your answer.

  1. Solving the problem

After you identified the knowns and the unknowns, you can quickly establish a relationship between them by writing an equation. Begin to solve the equation by using the relevant operations for that Math problem.

  1. Confirm your answer

You want to make sure your answer is correct by putting the answer back into the original equation. This is like reverse engineering to ensure your answer is correct. If 2+ ( ) = 4 , then when we put 2 into the bracket, it is equal to 4. Your answer which is 2, would be the correct answer.

  1. Map out your approach

Once you have solved the Math problem, take some time to think about how you solved the problem and try to generalise the approach you can use to solve more Math problems from different topics in the future. (You do not do this during examination). Practice solving many different types of questions on the same topic is key to doing well in your Math examination.

These are some of the tips we teach our students at the Victoria Tutorial Centre. Our Math tutors Mr Lee and Mr Tan are one of the best Mathematics tutors in Singapore. They have been teaching Mathematics for more than 20 years and their experience in teaching Mathematics is enormous. Students will benefit immensely from their tutoring and we have many students who made leaps and bounds in their grades after just a few months of guidance from these Maths tutors. They usually charge up to $100 per hour for their consultation, but if you enrol at the tuition centre for Maths, you will be paying just a small fraction of the fees.

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