# Is there any rhyme or reason to AOPS hints?

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Dd is working through AOPS pre-algebra, she came to a problem that was starred, and she needed the help from a hint. Apparently the hints are numbered in a random order so we can't accidentally see the hint to the next problem.

Is there any way to actually use the hints?? Or are they just sitting in the back of the book to tease us?

I pulled out the answer key and walked her through the answer. :glare: AOPS is testing my frustration levels now. :tongue_smilie:

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I want to know, too!  I thought the given number was part of the answer and it most certainly was NOT.  You mean the hint number is from an index of hints?  Located where?

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I just figured this out myself. :)

Some of the Exercises problems are starred and list a  "hint/s"...  "Hints: 130, 159," for example. Just before the index, at the end of the pre-algebra student text, there are 9 pages of hints. As TKD mentioned, they're randomly numbered so you don't happen to see the hint for the next problem. Looking up Hint 159, for ex, it suggests to the student to "Assign a variable. Write an equation."  Looking back at the word problem hint 159 was for, I can see that it might be helpful to the student to have a starting point.

There's info about using hints on page iv at the beginning of the student Prealgebra text.

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If the problems says "Hint 186" you look up hint 186.

If the problem does not mention any hint that means there is no hint for the problem.

Some particularly hard problems may have up to 3 different hints.

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Yes, what yvonne and regentrude said. Only a few exercises or problems (generally the harder ones) have hints, and then the hints are explicitly cited at the end of the problem. See the Challenge Problems at the end of a chapter for some examples.

By the way, if you have the Prealgebra book, you or your kiddo might enjoy Hint 11.

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If the problems says "Hint 186" you look up hint 186.

If the problem does not mention any hint that means there is no hint for the problem.

Some particularly hard problems may have up to 3 different hints.

:blushing:  I figured this out while I was thumbing through the book soon after posting. I guess I'm used to BA, and I assumed * meant there was a hint. At least I know it was a challenging problem and don't feel too bad about the fact that dd needed extra help. If I had just looked at my book a little more thoroughly...  :rolleyes:

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Yes, what yvonne and regentrude said. Only a few exercises or problems (generally the harder ones) have hints, and then the hints are explicitly cited at the end of the problem. See the Challenge Problems at the end of a chapter for some examples.

By the way, if you have the Prealgebra book, you or your kiddo might enjoy Hint 11.

I came across those while I was struggling to figure out the hints and they made me wonder if the hints were just there to tease me!!

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Yes, what yvonne and regentrude said. Only a few exercises or problems (generally the harder ones) have hints, and then the hints are explicitly cited at the end of the problem. See the Challenge Problems at the end of a chapter for some examples.

By the way, if you have the Prealgebra book, you or your kiddo might enjoy Hint 11.

Thanks! I thought it was funny.  I'll show my son.

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Oh my gosh...I can't believe that we are nearly at the end of the Pre-Algebra book and we never deciphered the notion that the hints were indexed in the back.  After scratching our heads over the first hint or two (How on earth can that number be connected to this problem?), we have just been ignoring them.  I need a palm-smack-to-the-forehead emoticon right now.

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Despite great rumblings and grumblings, I had made my son read the forward notes, so we had the basics of the hints, but had missed that loop joke from number 11...   Does any question in the book actually refer to the hints that just lead on to another hint?

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Despite great rumblings and grumblings, I had made my son read the forward notes, so we had the basics of the hints, but had missed that loop joke from number 11...   Does any question in the book actually refer to the hints that just lead on to another hint?

I was wondering this as well. I don't remember one, but we're not quite finished with the book yet.

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Despite great rumblings and grumblings, I had made my son read the forward notes, so we had the basics of the hints, but had missed that loop joke from number 11...   Does any question in the book actually refer to the hints that just lead on to another hint?

No, the problems in the book don't refer to these loopy hints. When we were nearly finished writing the Prealgebra book, I had suggested to Richard R. that he insert some joke hints like "Don't read random hints!" (which are in some of the other books), since those silly hints had made my daughter chuckle when she had worked through the previous books. Instead, Richard decided to create the wild-goose chase that you see.

Sorry that some of you didn't know that the hint numbers were referring to the hints at the back of the book.

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I'm impressed that some of you were able to do the problems without the hints! We didn't use all the hints, but there are a few problems that without the hints we probably would have needed to take a peek at the first step or two of the solutions manual to give us a hint. (Who am I kidding...we still did that a time or two--- or ten! ;) )

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Oh, don't be that impressed with ME. It does not bother me one bit to peek in the solutions manual and then make up a hint for DS. But I don't work out most of the problems, so there is that.

I still can't believe that I never read the front matter, though. Very out of character for me.

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I'm impressed that some of you were able to do the problems without the hints! We didn't use all the hints, but there are a few problems that without the hints we probably would have needed to take a peek at the first step or two of the solutions manual to give us a hint. (Who am I kidding...we still did that a time or two--- or ten! ;) )

Bwahahahaha! For anything in life (seriously, ANYTHING! :lol: ), if I know there is a hint, I look at it practically the first nanosecond any mental struggle begins. (AoPS is a perfect fit for DS11, not me! ;) ) DH has always liked puzzle books, particularly crosswords but all kinds, and it used to drive him nuts that I would look so soon. Now he thinks it is funny, especially because I am so predictable. He won't look until he has struggled and tried 10000 different things and really, truly cannot get something.

BUT!! This has been a big epiphany for me, because DS is just like DH, and ME looking at the hint steels his resolve to solve the problem without the hint. It helps him enjoy the struggle more, almost covet the struggle. He wants to impress us by not needing the hint like Mom. Reverse psychology? It probably only works because he is a natural puzzler and I am actually looking at the hints out of necessity rather than manipulation. LOL Even so, he still has to look sometimes, or at times I give hints about the hint.

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