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How to Solve Any Math Problems in Seconds

written by: Trent Lorcher • edited by: Donna Cosmato • updated: 1/17/2012

Solve any math problem in seconds with these suggestions.

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    An Introduction on How to Solve Any Math Problem in Seconds

    "Wow!" you scream. "This guy's going to teach me how to solve any math problem in seconds! That seems to good to be true. What's he really going to do?"

    Learning how to solve any math problem in seconds is a metaphorical combination of two societal phenomena:

    1. Booking a hotel that's "minutes" away from the airport/public transportation/sporting venue/downtown - Like that hotel room I booked in Boston that was minutes away from the historic district...55 minutes. So when we say solve any math problem in seconds, it doesn't necessarily mean four seconds. It depends on several factors: (1) your math aptitude; (2) the type of problem you're trying to solve; (3) your access and ability to use technology.
    2. A bill from the doctor - Like the time I took my sick daughter to the doctor and the doctor spent six minutes with her, cured her, and sent me a bill for $250. I thought this was a lot of money for six minutes of work. When I brought this up to the receptionist, she told me it took six minutes to cure my daughter and 12 years of school to learn how to cure her. I ponied up the cash. Solving math problems quickly is the same way. It might not take long to actually solve the problem, but it might take work for you to build a base of math problem solving knowledge.
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    Things You Have to Know

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    You need to have a foundation of knowledge before you go Einstein on your friends:

    1. How to do Basic Math - If you don't know how to add or multiply, the only thing you have to solve is how to survive in life without basic math skills.
    2. Common Calculations - You need to know your times tables. You need to know the square of 1-25 and any number divisible by 10. You must be able to recognize square roots. Recognizing common factorials and other frequently seen figures and calculations is a must.
    3. Lowest Common Denominators and Factors - You need to be able to break down fractions to the lowest common denominator instantly and be able to factor numbers. Changing fractions to decimals is also a must.
    4. Common Formulas - You need to know basic formulas. Looking things up will slow you down.
    5. The Order of Operations - It's one thing to do a math problem fast; it's another thing to do it correctly. Learn the order of operations. It will help you compartmentalize information and solve problems correctly.
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    Additional Steps to Problem Solving

    Problem solving is a process. Master it. Here's how:

    1. Practice. It takes repetition to solve problems quickly.
    2. Look for keywords. Recognizing a few key words in a story problem will speed up problem solving time.
    3. Compartmentalize. Break things down into compartments. For example, the problem is 40 x 17. Break it down to 40 x 10 (you can do this in your head) and 40 x 7 (you can do that in your head). Then add the 2 together (680).
    4. Use technology when allowed. Learn how to use one of those fancy calculators for advanced math.