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Whenever I solve a problem (textbook or exams), I always copy key parts of the question to my paper where I'm doing my calculations, even though I have the problem in text-format right next to me on the desk.

Recently I had a teacher who advised us not to "waste time" copying a problem but to simply start solving it.

While I feel like I get to interact with the problem more if I first copy it, it does take some extra time. (I'm not talking about for instance drawing a figure to visualize the problem but simply copying what is already provided.)

Is there any consensus / suggestions / strategies on copying the problem?

My teacher obviously has way more experience than I do, and I would like to be more efficient at solving problems.

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    $\begingroup$ Everyone is different. If you feel like copying the problem down with pen and paper helps, shouldn't that be the end of the discussion? Even if there is zero benefit, the amount of time wasted doing this seems negligible. $\endgroup$ – EuYu Mar 20 at 11:13
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    $\begingroup$ People are different, there will be no consensus. Maybe copying the problem is part of processing the information for you. So, if it helps, stick to it. $\endgroup$ – Christoph Mar 20 at 11:13
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    $\begingroup$ I often say a problem out loud (at least when I'm alone)...that seems to clarify matters for me. People are different, do what works. $\endgroup$ – lulu Mar 20 at 11:44
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    $\begingroup$ If it makes you feel better: I do exactly the same thing. It helps tremendously. Usually, the time wasted on copying is offset by the increased speed in solving the problem. $\endgroup$ – JuliusL33t Mar 20 at 12:01
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    $\begingroup$ Rewriting a problem is not necessarily a waste of time! I find it helpful to rephrase the problem when I copy it, perhaps making it more concise so I can focus on key details, or elaborating on parts that are not obvious to me. But like other people have said, ultimately you should do whatever helps you! $\endgroup$ – vxnture Mar 20 at 12:26
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If you could visualize the problem at once from the text version, then there would be no point in rewriting it. However, if the visualisation is difficult prima-facie, then re copying has some effect which helps in visualisation, similar to drawing and calligraphy. Of course, you should try to internalise(think deeply/subconsciously about the problem) about the problem, along with rewriting, so that the time is better utilised. It is a matter of preference.

Ultimately, it is whether you solve the problem or not that matters. If you are able to solve or get close to solution by your acts, then proceed!

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I think that having the givens and goal visually next to your work/things you learn while doing the problem is very helpful in seeing connections for complicated problems. If you can't write all you need on the paper with the question, and copying seems to help you, then, by all means, keep doing it.

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