There are some basic steps to follow that should help you when faced with a story problem.

- Determine what is to be solved for; assign that as the variable. (Remember that the variable represents a number, not a person or thing.)
- Draw a picture, if called for. Make a chart, if helpful.
- Write an equation representing the relationships between the different parts of the problem.
- Solve the equation for the variable.
- Solve the equation completely. Often, the value of the variable is just one part of the answer.
- Check your answer to be sure it makes sense.