# Solving Story Problems

Don't start trying to solve anything when you've only read half a sentence.

If you know what you are looking for and you can then name the pieces you need to find, even the most difficult problems become extremely manageable.

For a simple example, let’s say you’ve been given a question and you realize you are being asked how tall a ladder you’ll need to paint a wall (I know, weird problem – but just go with it). (Looking for the answer to the Canada-United States question?

After discovering what’s being asked of you – the length of the ladder – you realize that the Pythagorean Theorem is what you’ll need to solve it. Now you can simply fill in the equation with what you have already been given. Math word problems are notorious for giving you too many details.

This means our final question needed to solve this math word problem will be super easy. That’s why this step is the last of the three questions. Simply enter your values into your equation, and crank out the right answer by solving the problem. If you know what you’re looking for, your answer should be in the right units.

The hardest thing about doing word problems is using the part where you need to take the English words and translate them into mathematics.

## Solving Story Problems

Usually, once you get the math equation, you're fine; the actual math involved is often fairly simple.

However, word problems can present a real challenge if you don't know how to break them down and find the numbers underneath the story.

Solving word problems is an art of transforming the words and sentences into mathematical expressions and then applying conventional algebraic techniques to solve the problem.

But figuring out the actual equation can seem nearly impossible. Be advised, however: To learn "how to do" word problems, you will need to practice, practice, practice.

The first step to effectively translating and solving word problems is to read the problem entirely.

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