This is the final instalment of the Keys to Academic Success series, and today I will focus on Problem Solving skills. While not of a strictly academic nature, when applied to academic study these skills can be really useful, and they are often part of the little extra that makes one’s performance outstanding.
Encountering problems is certainly not a pleasant experience, but instead of trying to avoid them at all costs, as is usually the case, you might want to implement an alternative approach. You could embrace problems when they occur and view them instead as the first step to meaningful change. Problems help you sharpen your problem solving abilities and are an important part of learning; as such, they can eventually have a beneficial effect on your academic performance.
Good problem solving skills are particularly useful in all areas of academic study, from Mathematics to Business Studies and Social Sciences. The ability to be flexible in problematic situations and to come up with plausible solutions is a skill very much admired not only in everyday life, but also when you have to deal with a complex essay or exam question. Here are some suggestions towards successful problem solving, so that any difficulties you encounter in your academic life can be more easily managed, helping you to achieve top academic performance.
Whether a mathematics problem or a challenging situation, the following tips could be of assistance. Initially, you need to be sure you have correctly identified the problem. Once the problem has been accurately defined, you need to consider the desired outcome and suggest possible solutions and courses of action. In order to decide on the best course of action, you should be in a position to evaluate and prioritise, so that your plan can be appropriately contextualised and successfully implemented.
Creativity is also very important when it comes to problem solving. The ability to use your resourcefulness to suggest practical and innovative solutions is much appreciated both in Humanities and Science. Creative ideas are an exciting component of problem solving, often leading to impressive results!