Problem Solving and Comprehension

Problem Solving and Comprehension

Problem Solving and Comprehension

Problem Solving and Comprehension


This popular book shows students how to increase their power to analyze problems and to comprehend what they read. First, it outlines and illustrates the method that good problem solvers use in attacking complex ideas. Then, it provides practice in applying these methods to a variety of comprehension and reasoning questions.

Books on the improvement of thinking processes have tended to be complicated and less than useful, but the authors of this renowned text emphasize a simple but effective approach. The "Whimbey Method" of teaching problem solving is now recognized as an invaluable means of teaching people to think. Problems are followed by their solutions, presented in easy-to-follow steps. This feature permits students to work without supervision, outside the classroom. As students work through the book they will see a steady improvement in their analytical thinking skills, and will develop confidence in their ability to solve problems--on tests; in academic courses; and in any occupations that involve analyzing, untangling, or comprehending knotty ideas.

By helping students to become better problem solvers, this book can assist students in achieving higher scores on tests commonly used for college and job selection, such as:

• Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)

• Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

• ACT Work Keys

• Terra Nova

• Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

• Wonderlic Personnel Test

• United States Employment Service General Aptitude Test Battery

• Civil Service Examination

New in the 6th edition: A totally new chapter--"Meeting Academic and Workplace Standards: How This Book Can Help"--describes changes in the educational system in the past 20 years and shows how the techniques taught in this book relate to the new educational standards and tests.

Changes throughout the book reflect current educational and social realities: the names of some characters have been changed to represent more accurately the cross-section of students attending today's schools; dates in some problems have been changed; in other problems the technology referred to has been updated.


If you are using this book in a class your teacher may ask you to work in pairs as you solve the problems. One partner should read and think aloud, while the other partner listens. On subsequent problems, the partners should change roles, taking turns as problem solver and listener.

You can also use this procedure if you are not in a class, but are working through the book with another person. Some people find reading and thinking aloud a little awkward at first, but thousands of people have already used this book and have found they adjust to the procedure quickly. Here is the reason that you are asked to read and think aloud.

Thinking Is a Hidden Skill

The ability to analyze complex material and solve problems is a skill--just like any other skill such as the ability to play golf or the ability to drive an automobile. However, there is a peculiar difficulty involved in teaching analytical skill. Generally there are two phases to teaching a skill. First, the skill is demonstrated to the student. Then, the student is guided and corrected while practicing. For example, golf is taught by showing the beginner how to grasp the club, how to place the feet, how to move the arms and body as one swings. The beginner can watch a golf pro--can even watch a slow motion film of the pro in action--and in this way learn the pro's technique. Furthermore, the pro can observe the beginner at practice and point out flaws or demonstrate how to improve.

In contrast to playing golf, analyzing complex material is an activity whcih is generally done inside your head. This makes it somewhat difficult for a teacher to teach and for a learner to learn. In other words, a beginner . . .

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