What is problem solving?
- 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, doing each of these things has a cost – so a lot of area problems also involve calculations with money
How to solve problems
- 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!
Even if you never get to a final answer always try to do some maths with the information from the question – you are likely to score some extra marks!