The First Thing to Check if You Get a Math Problem Wrong

This is Day 1 of the write 31 days project: 31 Days of Math Learning Success. Follow all the days here and check out other nutjobs that are writing for 31 days here.

Sometimes the solution is the one you don't even think about!

“We consider it a good principle to explain the phenomena by the simplest hypothesis possible.”
~Ptolemy (c. AD 90 – c. AD 168)

What’s the first thing YOU think when you discover you got a math problem wrong?

Many folks think, “Gosh! I don’t know what I’m doing!”

And sometimes this is the case.

But more often than you’d think, the real solution is far simpler than re-learning or practicing more.

If you get a math problem wrong, first make sure you copied it correctly from the book.


So many students crumble in defeat as they discover their answer doesn’t match the back of the book. Teachers and tutors (including me) will study the student’s “show-your-work” diligently. And they will continue to not find the error.

Because the solution is far simpler.

Occam’s Razor

The simplest explanation just might be the correct one.

AKA: Keep it simple, silly.

Or: If the TV doesn’t work, check to see if it’s plugged in.

Before digging in too deep to see where the error is, make sure the problem is copied correctly from the book. You could save a ton of time!

Did you enjoy today’s tip? Share it with your friends on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. And come back tomorrow for Day 2’s tip!


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