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The Art Of Problem Solving Vol 1 The Basics

The Art of Problem Solving Vol 1: The Basics is a highly acclaimed book that serves as an excellent resource for aspiring problem solvers. Whether you are a student preparing for math competitions or an individual looking to enhance your problem-solving skills, this book provides a solid foundation to tackle a wide range of mathematical problems. In this blog article, we will delve into the key aspects of this book, exploring its contents and highlighting the invaluable knowledge it offers.

Introduction to Problem Solving

Introduction To Problem Solving

The first session of The Art of Problem Solving Vol 1: The Basics introduces readers to the fundamental principles of problem-solving. It lays the groundwork for developing a structured mindset when approaching problems. This session covers various techniques, including working backwards, finding patterns, and making systematic lists.

Working Backwards

Working backwards is a powerful problem-solving technique that involves starting from the desired outcome and working towards the given starting point. By reversing the problem-solving process, individuals can identify the necessary steps to reach the desired result. This approach helps break down complex problems into more manageable steps, making it easier to develop a solution.

Finding Patterns

Finding patterns involves identifying recurring themes or relationships within a problem. By recognizing patterns, individuals can make logical connections and draw conclusions that will aid in problem-solving. This technique often involves observing numerical or visual patterns and extrapolating them to solve more complex problems.

Making Systematic Lists

Making systematic lists is a methodical approach to solving problems that involve multiple possibilities or combinations. By listing all the possible outcomes or options, individuals can analyze each one systematically to find the solution. This technique is particularly useful in combinatorics, probability, and counting problems.

Numbers and Factors

Numbers And Factors

The second session of The Art of Problem Solving Vol 1: The Basics delves into the realm of numbers and factors. Understanding the properties of numbers and how they interact is crucial in problem-solving scenarios. This session covers topics such as prime factorization, divisibility rules, and modular arithmetic.

Prime Factorization

Prime factorization is the process of breaking down a number into its prime factors. Prime factors are the prime numbers that, when multiplied together, give the original number. By finding the prime factorization of a number, individuals can simplify calculations, determine factors, and solve various mathematical problems more efficiently.

Divisibility Rules

Divisibility rules provide a quick way to determine if one number is divisible by another without performing the actual division. These rules are based on the properties of numbers and can be applied to determine divisibility by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, and 10. Understanding and applying divisibility rules can significantly speed up problem-solving processes.

Modular Arithmetic

Modular arithmetic is a branch of mathematics that deals with numbers and remainders. It provides a systematic way to perform calculations involving remainders and allows for efficient problem-solving in various fields, such as cryptography and computer science. Understanding modular arithmetic enables individuals to solve problems involving patterns, cycles, and congruences.

Fractions and Decimals

Fractions And Decimals

The third session of The Art of Problem Solving Vol 1: The Basics explores the world of fractions and decimals. Fractions and decimals are essential mathematical concepts that appear in a wide range of problem-solving scenarios. This session covers techniques to simplify fractions, compare and order them, and convert between fractions and decimals.

Simplifying Fractions

Simplifying fractions involves reducing a fraction to its simplest form by dividing both the numerator and denominator by their greatest common divisor. Simplifying fractions makes them easier to work with and compare. It also allows individuals to identify equivalent fractions and perform operations with fractions more efficiently.

Comparing and Ordering Fractions

Comparing and ordering fractions is a fundamental skill in problem-solving. It involves determining whether one fraction is greater than, less than, or equal to another. By comparing fractions, individuals can make informed decisions and solve problems involving ratios, proportions, and fractions in real-world contexts.

Converting between Fractions and Decimals

Converting between fractions and decimals is a useful skill that allows individuals to work with both forms interchangeably. Converting a fraction to a decimal involves dividing the numerator by the denominator. Conversely, converting a decimal to a fraction requires expressing the decimal as a fraction with a denominator of 10, 100, or any power of 10. Being able to convert between fractions and decimals enhances problem-solving versatility.



The fourth session of The Art of Problem Solving Vol 1: The Basics focuses on understanding and working with percentages. Percentages play a crucial role in real-life scenarios, such as discounts, interest rates, and taxes. This session equips individuals with the skills to calculate percentages and solve problems involving various percentage applications.

Calculating Percentages

Calculating percentages involves finding a specified percentage of a given number. It is essential in many problem-solving situations, such as calculating discounts, sales tax, or interest rates. Understanding the relationship between percentages, fractions, and decimals enables individuals to solve problems accurately and efficiently.

Solving Problems with Percentages

Problem-solving with percentages often involves applying percentage concepts to real-life scenarios. This includes determining the final price after a discount, calculating the amount of tax or tip to be added, or finding the interest earned on an investment. By applying percentage calculations to practical situations, individuals develop the skills necessary to solve a wide range of real-world problems.

Percentage Applications in Statistics

Percentages are frequently used in statistics to represent proportions and compare data sets. They can be used to find the relative frequency of an event, express parts of a whole, or analyze survey results. Understanding how percentages are used in statistics allows individuals to interpret data accurately and draw meaningful conclusions.

Counting and Probability

Counting And Probability

The fifth session of The Art of Problem Solving Vol 1: The Basics delves into the realm of counting and probability. Counting is the process of determining the number of possible outcomes, while probability deals with the likelihood of those outcomes occurring. This session introduces concepts such as permutations, combinations, and basic probability principles.


Permutations involve arranging objects in a specific order. The number of permutations depends on the number of objects and the desired arrangement. Understanding permutations is crucial in various problem-solving scenarios, such as seating arrangements, organizing events, or solving puzzles that involve arranging objects or people in a specific order.


Combinations involve selecting objects from a set without considering their order. The number of combinations depends on the number of objects and the desired selection size. Combinations are often used in problem-solving scenarios where the order of selection is not important, such as forming committees, selecting teams, or choosing items from a menu.

Basic Probability Principles

Probability is the branch of mathematics that deals with the likelihood of events occurring. Understanding basic probability principles allows individuals to analyze situations and make informed decisions based on the likelihood of specific outcomes. This includes concepts such as sample spaces, outcomes, and calculating probabilities for simple events.