I'm a sophomore in university and seriously feel that I'm bad at solving mathematical and algorithmic problems (be it discrete math, calculus or just puzzles). I noticed that I'm only good at solving questions that are similar to the ones that have been taught to us.
Here's how I generally approach it:
- What is the problem? What do I need to do here?
- Does it look like I've encountered this before?
- Can I think of a smaller problem to solve instead?
If the answer is no to all the above then I sort of blank out. I stare at it and force my brain to run through a wide variety of stuff, almost like a brute force attempt of solving it. Obviously that leads me to nowhere everytime. I simply can't think "outside the box."
What can I do to improve my situation?