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This guide has been produced by MEI for all teachers of GCSE and A level Mathematics to support them with the problem solving content of these qualifications.
However, the following interests and activities may be useful in demonstrating a high level of these skills - this may be particularly important when applying to employers in areas such as engineering, IT, operational research and some areas of finance.
At any stage of this process, it may be necessary to return to an earlier stage – for example, if further problems arise or if a solution does not appear to be working as desired.
Further skills, such as communication, persuasion and negotiation, are important in finding solutions to problems involving people.
Whatever issue you are faced with, some steps are fundamental: This is the IDEAL model of problem-solving.
The final stage is to put the solution you have decided on into practice and check the results.
Most problem-solving skills are developed through everyday life and experience.He got a powerful industrial fan and pointed it at the assembly line.As each soap box passed the fan, the empty boxes were blown off the line. Analytical and critical thinking skills help you to evaluate the problem and to make decisions.Some problems are obviously about a geometric situation, and it is clear you want to draw a picture and mark down all of the given information before you try to solve it. Notice none of the perfect squares end in 2, 3, 7, or 8.But even for a problem that is not geometric thinking visually can help! This list suggests that perfect squares cannot end in a 2, 3, 7 or 8.You have to learn to interpret phrases like: If analytical or problem-solving skills are a key part of the job, there is likely to be a question on the application form which asks you to give evidence of your competency in these areas, such as: When answering these questions, cover the process you used to solve the problem rather than just outlining the problem itself.Give examples of how you used initiative/creativity, or made effective use of resources, in solving the problem.Analytical ability, problem solving skills and using initiative are among the top ten skills for recruiters of graduates.They want people who will take the personal responsibility to make sure targets are met; who can see that there might be a better way of doing somethingand who are prepared to research and implement change; people who don’t panic or give up when things go wrong but who will seek a way around the problem.These problems may be similar to academic problems (e.g.in scientific research) or may be more “practical” problems such as those involved in people management.