# Working Backwards Problem Solving Examples

Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.In this App Flow, students will solve a video problem by using the strategy working backwards.

That may sound odd, but basically, if a problem looks as though it is a series of steps that can be undone, then working backwards is a good way to go.

It is very clear, in our candy example, that this is the case.

As a member, you'll also get unlimited access to over 79,000 lessons in math, English, science, history, and more.

Plus, get practice tests, quizzes, and personalized coaching to help you succeed.

The first of these characteristics is that the end of the problem will have a result that is very clear, whereas the beginning of the problem will be less obvious. At the beginning of the problem, it jumps right into Dan handing out candy.

It doesn't specify how much candy Dan has to hand out.I don't know about you, but solving processes like this always make more sense to me when I see them in action.Let's explore our opening example to illustrate how to use working backwards to solve a problem.Since 8 - 3 = 5, this means Dan gave Susan 5 pieces of candy in all.Thus, to undo this step, we add 5 pieces of candy to Dan's running total, giving him 16 5 = 21.Try it risk-free There are many ways to go about solving word problems in mathematics.This lesson will illustrate a particular solving process called working backwards.We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities.You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree.Another characteristic to look for is whether solving the problem using a straightforward approach would involve a messy equation. If you tried solving by representing my initial amount of candy using a variable, say x, then you would have to set up an equation that involves a lot of adding and subtracting numbers: x - 8 3 - 7 - 5 = 4x = 21 Although this is a perfectly acceptable way to solve the problem, working backwards can avoid having to set up this equation before simplifying and solving it.Lastly, one other indication that working backwards is a good way to go is when the problem looks like it can be undone.