Wrong to use solutions during HW?

oiprocs

Diamond Member
Jun 20, 2001
3,781
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Sometimes I'll get stuck on an engineering problem, and I'll go over my lecture notes, the chapter notes, and other problems yet I'll still have trouble solving it. Taking a break and coming back later with a "fresh" look sometimes helps but most times it does not.

At that point I usually take a peek at the solutions guide if I have it and that 10 second glance will help me realize where I got stuck or what I left out.

Is this a bad habit? I fear I'll graduate without that "engineering mindset" and thus when I am confronted with a problem I cannot solve, I won't be able to refer to some solution for help.

It just seems so unfair that I can spend 2 hours on a problem, work it three different ways, and still not be able to solve it.

/is this a rant?
 

bobert

Senior member
Dec 6, 2004
505
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I think it's fine as long as you learn what you were doing incorrectly from the solution. Also, don't get into a habit of getting stuck and then immediately flip to the solution.
 

jagec

Lifer
Apr 30, 2004
24,442
6
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Nope, it sounds like you're using the solutions for exactly the purpose that the writers intended...to check your work, and give you hints when you get TRULY stuck.

As long as you don't spend 2 minutes setting up the problem, give up, and check the back, you'll be fine.

<--BS in Engineering. And yes, I EARNED that title.:p
 

OUCaptain

Golden Member
Nov 21, 2007
1,522
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The point is not find the answer, but to learn how. Since I'm willing to bet you will be graded on your steps taken to reach said answer and not just put it down without showing work..I'd say no problem. They put them there for a reason
 

MasterOfKtulu109

Senior member
May 16, 2006
205
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thats the only way ive gotten thru school. ive also gotten really good at teaching myself how to do the homework problems 2 days before the test, using only the book and homework solutions.
 

Tiamat

Lifer
Nov 25, 2003
14,074
5
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not entirely bad as long as you remember the tricks. Part of excelling at engineering is to be able to read an exam problem and immediately think of the situation from the homeworks that remind you of that problem and start crunching equations and numbers. Its good to be able to figure it out on your own, but if you cannot, then I would suggest doing extra homework problems so that you are more familiar with the type of stuff that will be thrown at you.

I dont know how your professors are, but mine made up the exam problems and they were things that I never saw before. I just had to apply everything what I learned before, in addition to keeping an open mind and logical thinking to solve the problems.
 

KillerCharlie

Diamond Member
Aug 21, 2005
3,691
68
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In some of my engineering classes, they would give us all the answers. They graded us on how we arrived at the solution.