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Solution Writing

At Brilliant, you get to share in the problem solving experience with other members. By explaining how you arrived at the answer, you not only help someone else improve their problem solving ability, you also get oodles of glory (along with the additional benefit of improving your communication skills).

Writing a solution can be intimidating, especially if you are uncertain of how to start or what to write (or if you are in a Halloween horror movie). We have provided several guidelines for you to follow to help you craft better solutions over time. You can view the following posts which provide explanations, mnemonics and samples of what not to do:

Level 1 - Apprentice solution writer - Get started!
Level 2 - Journeyman solution writer - Clean up your presentation
Level 3 - Adept solution writer - Identify and connect with your audience
Level 4 - Magus solution writer - Guide your reader
Level 5 - Legendary solution writer - Leave your reader awe-struck

These guidelines can also help you to discuss solutions with other members. If you don't understand a solution which only has equations, ask them: "Can you use words to explain what you mean?". Feel free to ask them: "Can you state the technique that you are using", especially if you are stuck at a step that you don't understand. If they used an approach which you wouldn't have thought of, ask them: "Can you include motivation?" so that you can benefit from their replies.

Note by Calvin Lin
3 years, 9 months ago

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I just read through the whole thing and I sincerely hope everyone else does too. This is a wonderful resource for users just getting into solution writing, especially those who may not be confident to publish a solution. If you consider all of the tips in this guide, you will write excellent solutions (provided your math is right, of course). The most important things you can have when writing a solution are clarity and thoroughness, and this guide addresses those topics well. While there are a lot of gifted users on this site, I feel like almost everyone, myself included, can learn something here.

Even Calvin...

"Did you hear about the wooden car with wooden wheels and an wooden engine? It wooden go."

Rule 2 clearly states: Check for careless mistakes.

C'mon, Calvin, this is level 1 stuff here. Logan Dymond · 3 years, 9 months ago

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@Logan Dymond Thanks for your resounding endorsement. It does take a while to read through all of it, which is why we split it up into 5 parts. We'd also be displaying these guidelines when you're writing a solution, so that you have an easy reference. I look forward to seeing more solutions being presented, so that we can all share and learn from one another.

I had a talk with my grammar elves, who have a thick plains accent. In the end, they kept on saying "Duh!" and so I changed it to "the". Calvin Lin Staff · 3 years, 9 months ago

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This reminds me; I haven't written a solution in quite a while. Great articles by the way! Really helpful and entertaining at the same time! Mursalin Habib · 3 years, 9 months ago

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@Mursalin Habib I'm glad to see that you wrote a solution this week. Keep it up!

Which guideline was the most helpful to you? Calvin Lin Staff · 3 years, 9 months ago

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@Calvin Lin I found all of the guidelines helpful. The one that appealed to me most was 'include motivation'. And that is what I tried to do.

I'm a big fan of explaining solutions the way Paul Zeitz does in his book "The Art & Craft of Problem Solving' and try to recreate that wherever I can. Mursalin Habib · 3 years, 9 months ago

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If you have a better mnemonic to suggest, state the guideline and mnemonic. If we like it, we'd use it instead. :)

If you feel that any of the guidelines need more explanations, let me know too. I tried to be brief, since otherwise each article is really long. Calvin Lin Staff · 3 years, 9 months ago

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Maybe these should be implemented into brilliant itself: as people write solutions, they get a solution rating, which gives them a solution level. Just a thought... Matthew Lipman · 3 years, 9 months ago

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The 'answer' to the Problem of the Day today, '39'. How do I comment and show my solution? Karen Carter · 3 months, 3 weeks ago

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...really..??? Marie Mae Siarot · 3 years, 9 months ago

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My Personal opinion is that it would be nice if the user, who gets a question correct, is able to see the solutions already posted, before giving his/her own, as it will reduce repetition of same solution and also more number of different solutions for the same problem can be seen. Also once a person chooses to see the solutions (after answering correctly) he cannot post a solution(at the moment, because it happened to me). so it would be nice if you looked into this issue

thank you. Ghanashyam Chakravarthi · 3 years, 9 months ago

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@Ghanashyam Chakravarthi People shouldn't have to see other people's solutions before righting theirs. If they are confident enough in their solution to post it, everything should go well. If you know that your solution is going to be very similar to everyone else's or approaches the problem in a standard way you should try to follow the guide and the quality of your solution better than the others such that it is more comprehensible for the reader. Its not a bad thing to have many people posting the same solutions because even though 10 people may explain the answer using the same method there will only be a couple that explained it well. If people were able to see others solutions before writing theirs, the solutions would probably be less original because people may use other people's solutions and slightly adjust them, leading to even more repetition. Cole Coupland · 3 years, 9 months ago

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but First please guide me how to post symbols and equation when solving prolem? i dont know how to post it :( Anh Nguyễn · 3 years, 9 months ago

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@Anh Nguyễn This can help. Daniel Chiu · 3 years, 9 months ago

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Why I can't view the oldest problems and solutions? ... like the problems which brilliant published it before I signed up to brilliant Mahdi Al-kawaz · 3 years, 9 months ago

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How we solve our problems facing in dailylife Waheed Ali · 3 years, 9 months ago

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@Waheed Ali Daily life can be vexing and present problems whose solutions cannot be composed following the guidelines in our solution writing guide. If you formulate a specific question and post it in it's own discussion, people will be able to give you better help and/or advice. Peter Taylor Staff · 3 years, 9 months ago

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