wellerr@cochise.edu

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Rules for Solving Word Problems
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The
following is a suggested list of rules for solving word problems.
Some steps may be eliminated depending upon the nature of the
problem.
The sequence of steps is also not fixed. **

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1. Make a
simple sketch of the problem (if reasonable and practical).**

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2. Assign
variables to quantities.**

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3. Identify
knowns and unknowns and put these values
in proper units
(do conversions).**

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4. Write
down the equations that may pertain to the problem.**

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5. Solve
problem algebraically first and then plug in the numbers.**

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6. Check
answers and units.**

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7. Ask the
question, "Does the answer seem reasonable?"**

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8. Circle
or highlight the answer so someone can find it.**

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__
Additional hints for solving word problems__:

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1. Check to
make sure that there is sufficient information available in
order to
solve the problem.**

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2.
Eliminate superfluous information.**

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3. Identify
hidden assumptions.**

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4. Work
only on the front side of a piece of paper.**

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5. Work on
one step at a time; don't skip steps.**

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6. Don't
crowd steps; put a blank line or space between each step.**

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7. Work
downwards along the left side of the paper.**

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8. Don't
crowd problems. Put several lines or spaces between
problems or only
do one problem per page.**

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