Sunday, June 01, 2014

Get The Solutions Manual

While textbooks required for demanding math and physical science courses generally provide explanations and examples designed to help students review covered material or make better sense of teachers' lectures, the sample exercises included are often too limited or few in number to paint a complete picture of the topics presented. Answers are usually given for odd-numbered homework problems, but oftentimes this just isn't enough.

The issue for many students in these tough classes is how to get those particular answers.

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a companion book that would actually list the step-by-step solutions for each odd-numbered problem in a given math or physical science textbook ... not just the answers?

In most cases, there is such a book. It's called the "solutions manual," and possession of one of these miracle volumes can sometimes make all the difference between ease and stress, progress and frustration, success and failure.

The solutions manual is the perfect compliment to the required text for any important math or science course. When stuck in the mud on a particular homework exercise, students can simple appeal to the solution shown in the manual, allowing them to answer their own questions and continue their forward progress with the assignment. Instead of pulling out their hair over a particularly vexing problem, students can use the solutions manual to quickly figure out what they've been doing wrong, and then apply the techniques illustrated in the manual's solution to other similar exercises, saving valuable time and energy (e.g. solutions to even-numbered exercises can typically be inferred from those given in the manual for corresponding odd-numbered problems). In this way, the solutions manual acts as a virtual tutor, enabling students to make much more efficient and effective use of time spent doing homework or studying for exams.

I always recommend that students about to take a difficult math or science class invest in a copy of the solutions manual for the textbook required for that class. The best way to find a copy is to visit the publisher's web site or do a Google search using the full name of the text followed by the author's name and preceded by the phrase "solution manual" or "solutions manual" (without quotes). Once you have an ISBN number for the appropriate solutions manual, you may be able to find a less expensive copy by searching for it on amazon or eBay

(Note: the term "solutions manual" usually refers to the "student solutions manual" containing solutions to odd-numbered problems; the "instructors solutions manual" shows solutions to all problems in the text, but is available only to course instructors).

Don't pound the table, become discouraged, or fall behind ... just get the solutions manual!


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