Problem solving, as far as GCSE Mathematics is concerned, usually has two key features:
- A question is given as a real-life scenario (eg Mary is painting a bedroom in her house …)
- There is normally more than one topic of maths you will need in order to answer the question (eg Area and Percentages)
Problem solving with areas
Area is a commonly used topic of maths in the real world. Laying a carpet, painting a house, designing a sports field, building a patio or decking all involve area. Also though doing each of these things has a cost. So a lot of area problems also involve calculations with money.
The key to getting started on problem solving questions is to not focus only on what the question asks you to find out but thinking about what you can do with the information given. Often this will lead you to think of something else you can do and then eventually you may be able to see your way to answering the original question.
These questions could appear on either a non-calculator paper or calculator paper, depending on how awkward they decide to make the numbers involved!