George Polya’s four point summary from his book How To Solve It
Problem Solving is an art and like any art can only be learned through practicing. Here are George Polya’s four point summary steps in how to solve problems.
1. Understand the Problem (SEE)
You have to understand the problem at hand. What is the data? What are the unknowns. Divide the problem. Draw a picture. What is the condition? Is it possible to satisfy the condition?
2. Devise a Plan (PLAN)
Find a connection between the data and the unknown. Have you seen this before? Do you know a related problem? Restate the problem. Restate it differently. Can you solve a part of the problem?
3. Carry Out the Plan (DO)
Carry out the plan while checking each step. Can you prove or clearly see that the step is correct?
4. Looking Back (CHECK)
Check the result. Can you derive the solution differently? Can you use the result for some other problem?