How can I improve my problem-solving skills for JEE?
Here are five tips to help develop your problem solving skills and become an efficient problem solver. Hopefully, they’ll also help you look at problem solving from a different, solutions focused perspective.
“If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” Albert Einstein
It sounds simple, but many problems remain unsolved because there has not been a focused effort to really understand and identify the problem itself. For instance, think back to when you were in school. If you asked a teacher for help with a particular question you were struggling to answer, did they provide you with a solution straight away? Probably not. Instead, they likely firstly went over the question with you and talked about what it’s really asking you to ensure you are attempting to solve the right problem.
You can follow the same principle to develop your problem solving skills in the workplace. In other words, good problem solving requires you to firstly understand the real problem you need to solve before you attempt to come up with any solutions. Often, the minute you identify the correct intent of the problem, a solution more easily follows.
When faced with a problem at work, ask relevant stakeholders to talk you through the fundamentals of the relevant issues so you understand how the situation or process currently works. Don’t think you know everything and should therefore come up with an immediate solution. Instead, consult with relevant people to really appreciate the nuances of the problem area and the causes of it. After all, to effectively solve problems you need to understand the significant points of the process or situation before you can work on a solution.
For example, think of a simple scenario, such as a bucket that gets filled with water and then starts to overflow. Your first thought might be to get a bigger bucket. But this will only suppress the symptoms rather than identify the root cause. In this illustration, a bigger bucket won’t fix the underlying real problem as it, too, will eventually overflow. Remember, problem solving is not a band-aid solution.
While this may not be relevant for all situations, pictorial representations can help to solve problems. So, as part of your problem solving process, draw a simple diagram of the process or situation you need to fix to help visualise all the complexities. Any tool, from PowerPoint to a whiteboard or a piece of paper can help you understand a problem if it is becoming overwhelming or is multifaceted. In addition, drawing the existing situation can bring about clarity of thinking because it allows you to highlight and define the problem area, thereby helping you tackle it more easily and quickly.
“If you define the problem correctly, you almost have the solution.” Steve Jobs
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein
Building a simple solution does not mean trivialising or rushing through the problem that you are looking to solve. Once you understand the problem and fundamentals behind it, baseline your thoughts so you can recap and approach the problem with fresh eyes.
Then, brainstorm possible solutions. Good problem solvers draw on their critical thinking skills and understand that there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ solutions at this point. The key to problem solving is to focus on simple, creative solutions – but being able to come up with a creative answer is unrelated to your creative ability. Rather, it’s about your ability to think about a problem and potential solution from a different perspective.
So, when looking to solve problems, don’t focus on how your company has traditionally approached the issue or on how the problem came into existence. Remember, problem solving requires new thinking and new solutions.
Once you have a list of potential solutions, review them to narrow down your options. If you have a long list, group common ideas together. To aid your decision making, think through each of the solutions in the context of your organisation’s objectives, budget and timeframe, as well as the likely overall success outcomes. Also consider any potential risks associated with these solutions.
Presenting your final ideas to relevant team members and stakeholders, and gathering their feedback, will also help you make the best possible choice.
Improving your problem-solving skills is essential for success in JEE Advanced, as well as JEE Mains. Here are a few methods you can use to improve your problem-solving skills:
- Practice regularly: The more you practice, the better you’ll become at solving problems. Solve a variety of practice problems, including past JEE Advanced and JEE Mains papers, to get a feel for the types of questions you’ll encounter on the actual exam.
- Use a variety of resources: Use a combination of textbooks, practice books, and online resources to supplement your learning. Online resources like online tutorials, lectures, practice questions, and mock tests can be helpful in improving problem-solving skills.
- Understand the concepts: Make sure you understand the key concepts and principles that are being tested in each problem. Without a good understanding of the underlying concepts, it will be difficult to solve the problems correctly.
- Learn to think critically: Practice critical thinking and problem-solving strategies, such as breaking down problems into smaller parts, using logic and reasoning, and testing different solutions.
- Learn from your mistakes: When you make a mistake, take the time to understand where you went wrong and how to avoid making the same mistake in the future.
- Seek guidance: Seek guidance from experts, such as teachers, mentors, or online resources. They can provide valuable feedback and advice on your performance and help you identify your weaker areas.
- Practice on previous year papers: Practice on previous year papers as much as possible, this will give you an idea of the pattern and difficulty level of the questions.
- Analyze your performance: Analyze your performance after each practice test, see where you went wrong, what you need to improve and make a plan accordingly.
It’s important to note that everyone’s journey is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. However, by following these guidelines, you can improve your problem-solving skills for JEE Advanced and JEE Mains.
Here are some tips to improve your problem-solving skills for JEE:
- Practice regularly: The more you practice, the better your problem-solving skills will become. Solve as many problems as you can and make sure you understand the concepts behind them.
- Use a variety of resources: Use textbooks, study guides, and online resources to reinforce your understanding of the topics covered in JEE. Make sure you are using the latest study materials and syllabus.
- Focus on the fundamentals: A strong understanding of the fundamentals is crucial for problem-solving. Make sure you have a solid grasp of the basics before attempting to solve more challenging problems.
- Analyze the problem: Before attempting to solve a problem, take some time to analyze it. Understand what the problem is asking and identify the information you have and what you need to find.
- Break the problem down: Break the problem down into smaller parts and work through each step systematically. Don’t rush through the problem, take your time and make sure you understand each step.
- Practice with different types of problems: Practice solving different types of problems, including easy, medium, and difficult. This will help you develop your problem-solving skills and become more confident in your abilities.
- Seek help when needed: If you are struggling with a particular type of problem, seek help from your teachers or online resources. Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it.
By following these tips, you can improve your problem-solving skills and become better equipped to tackle the challenging problems in JEE.