# Apprentice Solution Writer

The 1st stage of writing a solution : Apprentice

Writing up a solution can be scary. You stare at a blank screen and wonder: What do I need to write? How much do I need to write? Where do I start? Who is reading this? Why am I writing this?

There is no "correct" answer to these questions. By writing up your solution, you are explaining to someone else the thought process which you used to solve the problem. Just as there are many ways of approaching a problem, there are also many ways of writing up a solution. As you practice writing solutions, the experience you gain helps you get a better sense of how to write a good solution. There isn't an "absolutely the #1 best solution", but there are numerous great solutions that are waiting to be written.

## Guidelines

Here are some guidelines for an Apprentice:

1. Use words to explain. Use complete sentences, correct grammar, punctuation and phrasing.

Remember that you are trying to express your ideas to others, and it is very hard to do so through interpretative dance. Use complete sentences and proper phrasing to explain what you are doing.

$\boxed{ \text{ Understand you, if Yoda-speak you do. Done easily not. } }$

2. Check for careless mistakes.

Always double-check your math, and reduce errors. Mistakes happen all the time, and are only a problem if you do not catch them. If arithmetic mistakes carry through your work, it could likely result in no one believing or understanding your solution.

$\boxed{ \text{ Do not be the boy who cried } 2+2=5. }$

3. Check that your mathematical statements display correctly.

In the preview box, look at your equations again and check that they appear as you want them to. If an equation is too long, you might want to split it up.

Often, using the $*$ sign for multiplication instead italicizes the surrounding text. For example, "$2 ^*2 = 4$" appears as "22 = 4". Instead, use a capital X to denote multiplication, as in $2 X 2 = 4$. You can avoid this by placing your equations with using brackets, as in $\backslash ( 2 ^* 2 = 4 \backslash)$, which would appear as $2*2=4$. This is known as LaTeX, which allows you to write beautiful equations.

$\boxed{ \text{Taxi is different from } + \alpha \times i. }$

4. State the numerical answer clearly.

Remember to include the final numerical answer, and not just the steps that you took. This makes it much easier for your audience to understand your proof as a whole, and indicates to them how you arrived at your solution.

$\boxed{ \begin{array} {l l } \text{When telling a joke, remember to deliver the punchline.} \\ \text{Do not leave mid - } \\ \end{array} }$

5. Ensure that all necessary parts are included.

If your solution used multiple steps, remember to show all of your working. Skipping steps to 'save time' will result in others not understanding what you did, and waste all of their time.

$\boxed{ \begin{array} { l l } \text{ Did you hear about the wooden car with the wooden wheels and the wooden engine?} \\ \text{ It wooden go. } \\ \end{array} }$

## Examples of solutions

Now that we have outlined these guidelines, let's look at a few examples. Consider the following problem:

The quadratic expression $x^2 - 10x + 50$ can be rewritten as $(x-a)^2 + b$. What is the value of $a +b$?

Let's look at the following solution:

Solution 1: $x^2 - 10 x + 50 = x^2 - 2.5x + 5^2 + 20 = (x-5)^2 + 25$.
$a = 25, b = 5$.

How can we use the above guidelines to help us improve this solution?

Guideline 1: While we may (eventually) figure out the exact thought process of the equations, adding some words to explain what you are doing is immensely helpful. We are only able to read what you wrote, and not what you are thinking in your head.

Guideline 2: There is an arithmetic mistake made in the first line, though it was corrected at the end. Can you spot it?
At the last step, the wrong values of $a$ and $b$ are given. Remember to check that you wrote down what you were thinking.

Guideline 3: Saying $2.5 x$ can be confusing, since $2.5$ often refers to the decimal value of $\frac{5}{2}$, while the author most likely meant $2 X 5$.

Guideline 4: What is the final answer?

Guideline 5: You should explain how we arrived at the values of $a$ and $b$ (namely by comparison). It is also helpful to explain that the initial line was obtained by the technique of Completing The Square.

Now, let's compare this to the following solution (of the same problem):

Completing the square is the technique.
$x^2-10x+50$ can be expressed as $x^2-10x+25-25+50$, or $x^2-10x+25+25.$
(The $25$ came from $(\frac{-10}{2})^2$, which is the desired $c$ term of the perfect square.)
Simplifying, $(x-5)^2+25$ is the desired result. $a$ and $b$ are $5$ and $25$, so the answer is $30$.

This is a great solution. It is easy to understand and follow, and provides explanations for each of the steps taken. There are no mathematical errors, the equations display nicely due to using LaTeX, and the answer is clearly stated.

You can view this solution (and the problem) by clicking on the hyperlink Solution 2. If you enjoyed this solution, remember to vote it up!

Aspire to be better. Proceed on and be a Journeyman.

Note: You can now view Latex codes by hovering over the equation. Read Seeing actual $\LaTeX$ for more details!

Note by Calvin Lin
6 years, 2 months ago

This discussion board is a place to discuss our Daily Challenges and the math and science related to those challenges. Explanations are more than just a solution — they should explain the steps and thinking strategies that you used to obtain the solution. Comments should further the discussion of math and science.

When posting on Brilliant:

• Use the emojis to react to an explanation, whether you're congratulating a job well done , or just really confused .
• Ask specific questions about the challenge or the steps in somebody's explanation. Well-posed questions can add a lot to the discussion, but posting "I don't understand!" doesn't help anyone.
• Try to contribute something new to the discussion, whether it is an extension, generalization or other idea related to the challenge.

MarkdownAppears as
*italics* or _italics_ italics
**bold** or __bold__ bold
- bulleted- list
• bulleted
• list
1. numbered2. list
1. numbered
2. list
Note: you must add a full line of space before and after lists for them to show up correctly
paragraph 1paragraph 2

paragraph 1

paragraph 2

[example link](https://brilliant.org)example link
> This is a quote
This is a quote
    # I indented these lines
# 4 spaces, and now they show
# up as a code block.

print "hello world"
# I indented these lines
# 4 spaces, and now they show
# up as a code block.

print "hello world"
MathAppears as
Remember to wrap math in $$ ... $$ or $ ... $ to ensure proper formatting.
2 \times 3 $2 \times 3$
2^{34} $2^{34}$
a_{i-1} $a_{i-1}$
\frac{2}{3} $\frac{2}{3}$
\sqrt{2} $\sqrt{2}$
\sum_{i=1}^3 $\sum_{i=1}^3$
\sin \theta $\sin \theta$
\boxed{123} $\boxed{123}$

Sort by:

How can I scale the attached image?

- 1 year, 9 months ago

You can add "|width=10" to the markdown syntax to scale the image. I've edited your comment to give you an example to reference. If you select "edit", you can see what I did.

Staff - 1 year, 9 months ago

Thank you!

- 1 year, 9 months ago

Thanks for inspiring me !!!!!!

- 2 years, 3 months ago

I have solved a problem, then, after solving some other problem, when I want write my own solutions, I have no access! It should be allowed even though the time have passed!

- 2 years, 6 months ago

As previously explained,

You can submit a solution only if you got a community-submitted problem correct.
In addition, for Problems of the Week, you can only submit a solution if the week is currently live.

Can you link to the problem that you're talking about? And send me a screenshot to show that you do not see the "Add your own solution" box.

Staff - 2 years, 6 months ago

How to post pictures?

- 2 years, 6 months ago

On desktop, there are formatting options available. Use the third button from the left at the Add Your Own Solution section

.

- 2 years, 6 months ago

Is it not possible for Mobile app?

- 2 years, 6 months ago

Unfortunately, this is currently not available on the app / mobile browser.

Staff - 2 years, 6 months ago

I think it is not possible. You have to ask @Calvin Lin

- 2 years, 6 months ago

How a solution to the problem can be submitted?

- 2 years, 6 months ago

You can submit a solution only if you got a community-submitted problem correct.

In addition, for Problems of the Week, you can only submit a solution if the week is currently live.

If you satisfy both conditions, this is what you would see (on desktop)

Staff - 2 years, 6 months ago

Press 'Discuss Solutions', and then there will be a section 'Add your own solution'. You then type out your solution, (use $\LaTeX$ when possible). Press Preview, check it and then press Submit. Note: You can only add a solution if you got the question right.

- 2 years, 6 months ago

There is no such an option, that's why I'm asking! I sove the problem and press 'Discuss Solutions', but I can't find 'Add your own solution'!

- 2 years, 6 months ago

- 2 years, 6 months ago

Is it okay to use the selection of answers as part of the solution? I.e. 'Roughly I can see the answer is close to x, option b is the only option remotely close to x'

- 2 years, 6 months ago

Thank a lot sir. I will try to follow ur guidelines

- 2 years, 8 months ago

I wrote the most complex answer I had ever written in my life (it's not too long, I'm still 13) in the 100th problem of the Summer Challenge. I wonder @Calvin Lin or anyone can you check if what I wrote is considered a "good solution"?

- 2 years, 9 months ago

How do I ask questions sir??

- 3 years, 2 months ago

How do i ask questione??Like even I have some doubts in science

- 3 years, 2 months ago

Just realized how hard writing an answer is! Anyways will keep doing :P

- 3 years, 2 months ago

Keep at it!

Staff - 3 years, 2 months ago

Thanks a lot for the information.It's really help me to write the answer.

- 3 years, 4 months ago

thank you very much...

- 3 years, 7 months ago

Thanks sir but their are some bugs which has to be fixed. I use brilliant uncompfortable in browser by default somemistake it cannot understand...you may look their... This website or organizer should have their public suggestion or report box to fix the bug or issue concerne with website and other managing.

- 3 years, 8 months ago

So how does one upload images from one's android phone on the app? I know the legendary one says something about it but i did not really follow that.... can someone please explain it to me??

- 4 years, 2 months ago

Suppose, the older one is a boy i. e. he has told a lie that means he has no younger sister.

So, the truth may be 1. He has an older sister 2. He has a younger brother

Now, let the later one is a girl i. e. she speaks the truth that means she has no brother. It's contradictory.

Hence, let the later one is a boy i. e. he tells a lie. It means they are same in gender.

It fulfills the all conditions.

So the two are brothers.

- 4 years, 4 months ago

Thanks a lot.

- 4 years, 5 months ago

Dear sir I am thankful to your comments. I was travelling that much I could that moment. Also I am not gadget saVvy.so it may take some time get used to this. .thanks for comments .

- 4 years, 5 months ago

It’s really wonderful that you prepared these notes, Calvin. I’m at the pre-Apprentice level right now, but I will now launch a quest to achieve Legendary status. I know what you are talking about: I have seen some Legendary solutions posted, with brilliant LaTeX formatting as well. [Fortunately I already have LaTeX skills, just not demonstrated yet on Brilliant.org.]

- 4 years, 5 months ago

That's great! Solution writing (or more generally, clear communication) is an important skill to develop, and takes time and effort to improve.

I look forward to seeing your Apprentice solutions.

Staff - 4 years, 5 months ago

Thanks a lot. . But I find it difficult to write solutions.. Considering I'm using my android phone 😄 but really. . Its a great experience... Thanks a lot with the guides..

- 4 years, 8 months ago

Use the desktop version :) Think about how you want to present the solution, and then type it up at home.

Staff - 4 years, 8 months ago

Thanks!!!!!!!:-)

- 4 years, 8 months ago

Mr. Calvin i am very thankful to for guiding me.

- 4 years, 9 months ago

Thank you very much, Mr. calvin, for your advice. I would surely remember these. Thank you very much once again. :)

- 4 years, 10 months ago

A great guide! I will be using these guidelines with my students. Thank you Calvin!

- 4 years, 10 months ago

Its really scary, I might commit mistakes😅 I am just an ordinary math teacher

- 4 years, 11 months ago

You miss 100% of the shots that you do not take :)

Staff - 4 years, 11 months ago

Mr. Calvin LIn thank you very much for guidig me .

- 5 years, 6 months ago

i have given a solution . Please inform whether the way of explanation is correct.

- 5 years, 6 months ago

The community will interact with the solution that you wrote, and post comments if they are uncertain, and vote up your solution if they like it.

Staff - 5 years, 6 months ago

I was so happy that I was going to write my first solution today but I never knew what it will turn out to be... It was so complex and more than what you call "scary".

- 5 years, 6 months ago

It's an experience that everyone goes through. It's like swimming, where you have to take the plunge into the pool. It can initially be scary, but you will soon be able to take it in stride and enjoy being able to swim.

Staff - 5 years, 6 months ago

Thanks for your advise, sir. Today I wrote another solution and it went well. I guess I'll be writing good solutions to even more complex problems soon.

- 5 years, 6 months ago

Keep it up!

Staff - 5 years, 6 months ago