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Word problems can be some of the most difficult types of questions on any test; it can seem like having to translate a foreign language (math). You have to understand precisely what the question is asking you and what relevance the quantities have to one another. They are generally composed of two parts: Background information - "Sally is 2 years older than Jacklyn who is 3 years older than Sam" Question portion - "How much older is Sally than Sam?" General Tips When you first attempt a word problem Write all quantities to the side of the word problem; you can better manage the information when it is not surrounded by text. Eliminate superfluous / unnecessary information, which is not required to answer the problem. Determine the required mathematical operations from two places— Within the word problem’s background information or In the question portion of the word problem. Translating Word Problems Words That Mean Addition (+) : increased by added to more than combined together total of sum older than farther than greater than in all For Example - The coat cost the store $55 and its price was increased by $30 so that the store could make a profit. Words That Mean Subtraction (-) : decreased by less than difference minus fewer than reduced by are left For Example - In a store‐wide sale, all $55 jackets have their price reduced by 35% and $30 shoes have their price reduced by 45%. Words That Mean Multiplication (×): times product of multiplied by increased by a factor of twice decreased by a factor of For Example - The store sold 20 jackets in a sale at $35 each. The store sold 30 hats at twice their original price of $10. Words That Mean Division (÷): quotient divided equally among per half ratio of percent out of For Example - The school divided equally among its students 350 bags of candy. Words That Mean Equals (=): is sells for given result are were will be equals gives yields sold for ultimately ends in For Example - What does each jacket sell for when the store has a 33% discount on winter-wear? Arithmetic Word Problems Once you have read the word problem and translated key words to their operations, you must quickly decide what information is important. Physically engaging with the problem can help: make sure to write out formulas, underline content, and visually organize the information in written form. For Arithmetic Word Problems, you will often not have to worry about creating algebraic expressions in order to answer the questions. Examine the following example: Algebraic Word Problems For Algebraic Word Problems, you will have to read and understand the question and turn it into an algebraic expression. For example: Geometric Word Problems For Geometric Word Problems, you must use an understanding geometric notation and triangle types to figure out what the problem is asking for. For example: Practice Questions Answers to Practice Questions C B A C C
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