 How to Solve a Mathematics Word Problem on the GRE - dummies

# How to Solve a Mathematics Word Problem on the GRE

When you have to translate a word problem into math on the GRE, knowing where to start is often the most daunting challenge. The key is to begin with what you know and work toward what you don’t know. You can solve almost all word problems by taking the following step-by-step approach:

1. Read the entire problem carefully.

A question may provide three values and then ask for the total or the average. You may not know until the very end of the question what it’s asking you to determine, so read the entire question.

2. Write down all the values and units that you know.

When you see all the pieces, the solution to the problem often reveals itself. Values are the clues you need to solve the mystery.

3. Identify what the question is asking you to find.

Look for words such as what is, how much, how many, how fast, at what price, and so on. Whatever the question asks you to find is the unknown; you can call it x.

4. Construct the mathematical equation, plugging in all known values and the x.

In most cases, the word problem is a specific type requiring a special equation. With this equation, known values, and x in hand, you have what you need to solve the problem.

5. Solve the equation.

When you have everything in place, do the math.