*You'll also be expected to know that "perimeter" indicates the length around the outside of a flat shape such as a rectangle (so you'll probably be adding lengths) and that "area" indicates the size of the insides of the flat shape (so you'll probably be multiplying length by width, or applying some other formula).*

Some students try to figure out what all they have first.

They read the problem, write out all the details they have been given, and then expect to solve it from there. But you will save yourself an enormous amount of time if you know you are looking to answer first.

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

Try first to get a feel for the whole problem; try first to see what information you have, and then figure out what you still need. Figure out what you need but don't have, and name things. And make sure you know just exactly what the problem is actually asking for.

But I recommend rechecking the most important detail before you guess: “For what I am looking? If you don’t know what you are looking for, you’ll end up missing it every time.

After you know what you’re being asked, you can then think about what it will take to get that answered.

Suppose you're told that Shelby earns "time and a half" for any hours she works over forty for a given week.

You would be expected to know that "time and a half" means dollars for every over-time hour.

Pick variables to stand for the unknows, clearly labelling these variables with what they stand for. You need to do this for two reasons: " stands for, so you have to do the whole problem over again.

I did this on a calculus test — thank heavens it was a short test! (Technically, the "greater than" construction, in "Addition", is also backwards in the math from the English.

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