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Using these steps can help you to understand and solve problems that are too complicated to understand at first glance.

Place the manicule at the first word of the problem statement or reading assignment.

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Read about 1-5 words (a clause).

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Deliberately scan your drawing(s) and table(s) for any features that contradict the indicated phrase.

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Revise one feature of your drawing(s) or table(s) that contradicts the indicated phrase.

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Did your revision involve adding information from the indicated phrase to your drawing(s) or table(s)?

, I merely repaired an existing feature of my drawing(s) or table(s).
, when I revised my drawing(s) or table(s), I added a feature to my drawing(s) or table(s).

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In the indicated phrase, underline the word(s) and/or symbol(s) corresponding to the feature you just added to your drawing(s) or table(s).

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Re-read about 1-5 words.

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Deliberately scan your drawing(s) and table(s) to check whether all meaning in the indicated phrase has been represented somewhere in your drawing(s) and table(s).

Is there information that is in the indicated phrase but missing in your drawing(s)/table(s)?

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Add a feature to the drawing(s) or table(s) to represent one piece of information not yet represented from the indicated phrase.

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Lightly underline any portion(s) of the indicated phrase that remain to be underlined.

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Are there words left to parse in the problem statement or reading assignment?

, words remain to be parsed.
, all words have been parsed.

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Move the manicule to the next small group of words.

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You have finished initial digestion of the problem statement or reading assignment.

Brainstorm ways to add features like the following to your drawing(s) and/or table(s).

  1. Drawings of quantities
  2. Labels for quantities
  3. Visualizations of relationships among quantities