ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

tips in solving maths word problems

Updated on October 5, 2010

i'm a part time tutor and of course, every country has a different education system. but i teach within a community where the students come over to my place. and i notice that they are really weak in maths, esp problem solving. This is mainly from my own experience how students can improve on their maths sums. of course, the main thing is always practise makes perfect. i always tell them that. but here are some simple steps i feel can help them in their sums.

Read - First, they need to read the question and form a picture of the problem in their minds. Take note of the tricks like more than, etc. eg he has 13 stamps more than his brother. some people might think "oh more than; you must add since it's more". i'll have more on that later.

Question - What is the question to be answered. Often, the question is stated. If not, then they have to find out what exactly they are looking for to understand the problem.

Write - Write down the information that is given. Sometimes, all the information you have is enough to get your answer. If not, you have to do a step or two to finally get the answer.

Methods - This is where you write down your working steps. What steps are needed to get my answer. Make sure you check your workings to ensure there are no careless mistakes like writing a number wrongly. Ensure that you have neat writing too as some examinors might be strict and might mark your writing as wrong.

Check - Check your answer to see if it is possible. Does it fit with the information given in the problem? If it does not, till which step are you confident of and try if from there again.

These are the basic steps i feel is needed for problem solving by students. Here are 2 simple problems where i feel students make a lot of careless mistakes. pls note that these questions are intended for grade 3 or primary 3 students.

1. Dolly bought a dress for $59.90. It cost $23.50 less than the shoes. How much did she spend altogether?

(in this question, students will tend to think, 'oh it says less, so we subtract. and some might even give that as the answer, not bothering to read properly. wat they need to do here is to understand the sentence. 'it cost $23.50 less than the shoes.' it basically refers to the dress, meaning that the dress costs less than the shoes. therefore the shoes is more. so you need to add to find the shoes since dress is given. then they need to read the question which is asking how much she spent altogether. you answer accordingly which is you add the dress and shoes together.)

2. Siti has a mass of 28 kg. Her mother has 3 times her mass. Her brother is 17 kg heavier than Siti. What is the total mass of her mother and brother?

(in this question, you will notice that her mother is 3 times her mass. some might go and divide. in this situation, drawing models is so much easier for the student. After you find the mother's mass where you multiply, you need to find the brother who is heavier. meaning you add. then read the question which asks you to give the total mass of mother and brother. note that they are not asking for siti also.)

these are the areas where students tend to make careless mistakes. Their main problem is not reading the question properly and not checking their workings, resulting in careless mistakes. Always let the students know that practise makes perfect esp in maths.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      ok namn kasu d i2 anq hinhanap kouh !

    • sminut13 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from singapore

      @saurabh hii thanks for responding. i feel that for maths, it's always practise, practise and more practise. you'll slowly start getting used to the type of questions that will probably come out in your exams. and because you have been practising, your morale and confidence will be up as well and you'll be less nervouse when doing your work. hope it works for you.

    • profile image

      Saurabh Chaudharuy 

      7 years ago

      Sir,You are right.

      I try to read maths but I cant understand maths .........please send some more tips to teach me maths

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      *HAIIII HAIII* *yawning *


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)