Do you have trouble making sense of word problems? Try these tips:

1) What is the problem asking you to do?

-- Circle the question or problem statement. This is usually at the end of the problem. (Write an equation?)

-- Is this similar to other problems you have solved? If so, how? (Equations of a line?)

-- What will be the form of the answer? (y = mx + b ? or Ax + By = C ? or something else?)

2) Identify the data.

-- Underline the data in the word problem.

-- Double-underline the units, if specified. (miles, km, number of cows, etc.)

3) Draw a picture (or graph).

-- Make sure you have a good understanding of what is happening in the problem.

4) Write a "math sentence" if appropriate

5) Solve

6) Check

A final step -- celebrate! Working through word problems is challenging but worthwhile. Celebrate your diligence in working through them, and don't worry if you don't get them right on the first try. Every word problem you solve will make the next one easier. That's worth celebrating!