How to improve problem solving skills in math?

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One autumn leaf
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Report Thread starter 1 year ago
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Hey,

How do you improve your problem solving skills in math?

Doing a levels is a much easier process as they give you a concept and you're expected to merge them and solve a problem which OBVIOUSLY uses that method because it's so straight to the point.

But STEP, MAT BMO problems are nothing like that. The maths in it is even basic at times. But the problem solving is so much harder.

I'd like to get to what makes them do hard and how can I improve at this type of math rather than repeated memorisation of steps as I feel it'll make learning math in future so much easier.

Thanks
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papie
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(Original post by One autumn leaf)
Hey,

How do you improve your problem solving skills in math?

Doing a levels is a much easier process as they give you a concept and you're expected to merge them and solve a problem which OBVIOUSLY uses that method because it's so straight to the point.

But STEP, MAT BMO problems are nothing like that. The maths in it is even basic at times. But the problem solving is so much harder.

I'd like to get to what makes them do hard and how can I improve at this type of math rather than repeated memorisation of steps as I feel it'll make learning math in future so much easier.

Thanks
practice makes perfect
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mqb2766
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(Original post by One autumn leaf)
Hey,

How do you improve your problem solving skills in math?

Doing a levels is a much easier process as they give you a concept and you're expected to merge them and solve a problem which OBVIOUSLY uses that method because it's so straight to the point.

But STEP, MAT BMO problems are nothing like that. The maths in it is even basic at times. But the problem solving is so much harder.

I'd like to get to what makes them do hard and how can I improve at this type of math rather than repeated memorisation of steps as I feel it'll make learning math in future so much easier.

Thanks
You asked a similar question recently about step preparation? Step, mat and bmo exams / syllabus are all different, but a decent background in problem solving and algebra will always be useful. The short mat questions are more like ukmt challenge questions (quick and dirtry approach) but the longer questions and step and ukmt olympics require a logical argument. The problem solving skills for each are different. Practice is key, discussion about different approaches is important, thinking about the problem before you begin etc.

In the ukmt shop there is
* Problem Solvers Handbook (intermediate olympics, but if you want a softer start ....)
* A Mathematical Olympiad Primer (& Companion) (senior olympics)
Online there is :
* The Step foundation course
* drfrostmaths has some material for ukmt and basic mat/step preparation
* zeitz book (https://kheavan.files.wordpress.com/...0471789011.pdf)
* ukmt mentoring notes: http://www.cantab.net/users/henry.liu/mentoring.htm
....
Just pick one and get started. If its too easy, you'll soon discard it and work out what you want.

But really practice and mistakes are the key thing. Just pick one type of "exam" and have a read of a couple of sources and have a proper go. If you get the question wrong, learn why. If its right, are there other ways to solve the problem, what other problem types could you solve with that ...
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Qxi.xli
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(Original post by mqb2766)
You asked a similar question recently about step preparation? Step, mat and bmo exams / syllabus are all different, but a decent background in problem solving and algebra will always be useful. The short mat questions are more like ukmt challenge questions (quick and dirtry approach) but the longer questions and step and ukmt olympics require a logical argument. The problem solving skills for each are different. Practice is key, discussion about different approaches is important, thinking about the problem before you begin etc.

In the ukmt shop there is
* Problem Solvers Handbook (intermediate olympics, but if you want a softer start ....)
* A Mathematical Olympiad Primer (& Companion) (senior olympics)
Online there is :
* The Step foundation course
* drfrostmaths has some material for ukmt and basic mat/step preparation
* zeitz book (https://kheavan.files.wordpress.com/...0471789011.pdf)
* ukmt mentoring notes: http://www.cantab.net/users/henry.liu/mentoring.htm
....
Just pick one and get started. If its too easy, you'll soon discard it and work out what you want.

But really practice and mistakes are the key thing. Just pick one type of "exam" and have a read of a couple of sources and have a proper go. If you get the question wrong, learn why. If its right, are there other ways to solve the problem, what other problem types could you solve with that ...
thanks this is very helpful
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