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Problem Solving Skills, How Do You Improve It As College Students

Almost all of the things you do during college are about problem solving. Being able to hone this skill would help you coast through college and succeed later in life. 

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For some students, they find it hard to develop this skill, but it is not. You just need to have a better understanding of what to do and how to do it. 

Here are some tips on how you can improve your problem solving skills.

Understand The Skill

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So what is problem solving? 

Like everything else, it is hard to improve something you don’t understand. Since we are dealing with it under university context, problem solving is an activity wherein you try to solve certain school-related problems. 

We could categorize it in several ways, namely linear, non-linear and urgent. Linear problems require a methodology to be able to solve. Non linear is just the opposite wherein the process used to solve the problem is vague and not clearly defined. 

Urgent problems are those that require immediate solutions and are usually bounded by time constraints. An examination question is an excellent example of this.

By being able to categorize the type of problem you are facing, you would be able to determine what method and tool to use to quickly provide a solution. 

You can either use your lateral thinking or vertical thinking. Lateral thinking is when you think outside the box. You try to find multiple solutions that are not the usual norm and try to make an educated guess on which is the answer. 

On the other hand, vertical thinking is more logical and methodological. When you use this kind of thinking, you try to follow specific steps until you arrive at an answer.

Reflect On The Problem

It is a good practice that whenever you are faced with a problem, try to allocate some time to dwell on it and think about what is the best way to approach it. Especially if the problem is not urgent, you have the time to think about what techniques you will use to solve it. 

The more you are able to visualize and prepare, the better chance you would be able to solve the given problem. 

You can also use this time to reflect on how well you performed. You can think about what are the mistakes you made and how you would be able to solve them the next time. 

This is the simplest thing you could do to hone your problem solving skill.

Learn From Other People

They say when it comes to solving problems, there are numerous ways on how to do it. Asking your classmates or friends how they manage to solve the problem would give you insights on how other people do it. 

It might be the same as what you are doing, or maybe they could have a much better way of accomplishing it. If so, you can copy their best practices and apply it to yourself. 

You can also find a good mentor who already has experience in overcoming problems. Whatever you choose, just make sure that you apply what you have learned. There is no point in learning new methods if you won’t try it.

Try To Seek More Problem Solving Exercise

Just like any other skill, if you want to improve your problem solving ability, you need to practice and expose yourself to different kinds of problems. 

It doesn’t have to be strictly coming from books. You can use problem solving games as an alternative to exercise your brain. Puzzle games are good for your lateral thinking ability while solving math problems can improve your vertical thinking. 

Whatever the case, it is essential that you practice regularly. This is the key to train yourself to become better at problem solving.

There is no secret technique on how you could become a better problem solver. It takes hard work and perseverance to be able to improve this skill. You have to discipline yourself and look at problems as an opportunity to train yourself and become better. It is a skill that you will benefit from even after you graduate from college.

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