Mathematics, you see, is not a spectator sport. [George Polya, How to Solve it]
Understand the problem:
Review as needed to understand the terms. What are you
asked to find or show? Can you restate in your own words?
Devise a plan and carry it out:
Polya mentions that there are many reasonable ways to solve problems.
The skill at devising and carrying out an appropriate strategy is best
practicing and solving problems yourself. Strategies include
Look for a pattern
Solve a simpler problem
Draw a picture
Use a model
Consider special cases
Use a formula
Solve an equation
Guess and check
Much can be gained by taking the time to reflect and look back at what you have done, what worked, and what didn’t. Doing this will enable you to predict what strategy to use to solve future problems.