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Problem Solving Developing your skills


Problem solving is a key skill that can be utilised across university study and beyond. Whether you are analysing data or are organising your household budget, the ability to decipher numerical information can help you in many ways.

This course has been designed to help prepare you for successful academic progression into university and will help you gain confidence in approaching mathematical issues. Whether you are going into a STEM course and want to learn how to approach problems in a logical manner, or you are wanting to improve your basic maths skills, NEC’s Problem Solving course will open your mind to a new way of approaching problems.

Applying for Cambridge or Oxford? This course is designed to help students prepare for:

  • Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) (Section 1)
  • Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT) (Section 1)

No matter your university of choice, studying problem solving will enhance your application.

This self-study course includes around 20 hours worth of interactive online learning materials and quizzes designed by subject matter experts. Your enrolment will give you access to the course for 12 months, meaning that you can revisit topics as and when you need a refresher, even if you have completed the course.

Want to develop your essay writing and lateral thinking skills? Learn more about our online Critical Thinking course.

What will I be studying?

The course is divided into two sections with an online assignment in each to help you track your progress.

Learning outcomes

When you have completed this course you will be able to:

  • explain what is meant by problem solving
  • understand the various formats in which information may be presented
  • select the relevant information to solve the problem from a range of data
  • apply basic maths skills to solve problems
  • find an appropriate and efficient method or procedure to solve a given problem
  • recognise similar data presented in different formats
  • make inferences from the available information
  • use spatial reasoning to visualise shapes and views and how they may change in two and three dimensions
  • work with appropriate models to solve problems
  • make choices or decisions based on information or criteria you have selected.

Section 1 Problem solving 1

Topic 1 What is problem solving?

Topic 2 Selecting the relevant information

Topic 3 Applying basic maths to problem solving

Topic 4 Finding a procedure

Topic 5 Searching the data

Online assignment 1

Section 2 Problem solving 2

Topic 1 Identifying similarity

Topic 2 Making an inference from data

Topic 3 Spatial reasoning

Topic 4 Using models and making decisions

Online assignment 2

There are two online assignments in this course which are computer-marked and will give you feedback.

How long will this Problem Solving course take?

Everyone studies at a different pace but we recommend that the course will take approximately 20 hours to complete. You will have access to the course for 12 months so you can study at your own pace and revisit topics if you need to.

Will I receive a certificate?

If you gain 50% or more on the two online assignments, you will receive a digital certificate.

Will this prepare me for any formal qualifications?

This course is designed to help students prepare for:

  • Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) (Section 1)
  • Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT) (Section 1)

These tests are administered by Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing: https://www.admissionstesting.org/

Additional support if you are under 18

We know that our younger students often need an extra helping hand with their studies.  In our experience, learning online works best when the parents are involved, so when you enrol your child with NEC, you’ll have a unique set of services to help you to support your child.

This includes:

  • Your own log in to learn@nec to access the course so you can view the course materials and other information for yourself.
  • Access to your child’s gradebook to help you to monitor progress and provide appropriate and timely intervention and support
  • You’ll receive emails and forum posts so that you have all the examination and assessment updates/information provided by the NEC team
  • Dedicated Progress Portal Pages and targeted blogs with updates/information/help and advice on many aspects of home education.

Read more about how we work with young students who are studying at home or through a school.