Questions to ask Yourself
- How do you solve a problem now ?
- Most students will solve an academic problem, say in chemistry, by
trying to remember another example of the same problem or by trying
to find or remember a similar problem.
- This method is very limited, since the only problems you can solve
are those that you have already met, or that you have exemplified
in your notes or text.
- What type of problem are you expected to meet in a course such as
this one ?
- In chemistry classes and laboratory sessions you will meet various
types of problem. Your text also illustrates many types of
problem. However on a test or examination, you may meet a problem
of a type you have never encountered.
- Consequently it is imperative that you learn how you can deal with
problems that you have never met.
- What can you do to face this problem ?
- This handout attempts to present to you the outline of a method for
solving numeric problems.
- One word of caution. Do not expect to be able to successfully
solve problems just by reading these notes. As with everything,
problem solving requires hours of practice and application. There
is one advantage to this topic: it is not content oriented. That
is, you can practice the techniques of problem solving no matter
what else you are doing.
- Is this method given the only acceptable way ?
- As with anything that you do now, any successful method of solving
a problem is acceptable. The method given here is just a start and
as you progress in your problem solving skills you will be able to
adapt and alter, reject and improve the method until you have one
that is uniquely suited to you.
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