Each problem that I solved became a rule
which served afterwards to solve other problems.. Brian Baxter,
American bookseller 
Techniques in studying science and math menu
Solving math word problems
There are two steps to solving math word problems:
 Translate the wording into a numeric equation
that combines smaller "expressions"  Solve the equation!
Suggestions:
 Read the problem entirely
Get a feel for the whole problem  List information and the variables you identify
Attach units of measure to the variables (gallons, miles, inches, etc.)  Define what answer you need,
as well as its units of measure  Work in an organized manner
Working clearly will help you think clearly Draw and label all graphs and pictures clearly
 Note or explain each step of your process;
this will help you track variables and remember their meanings
 Look for the "key" words (above)
Certain words indicate certain mathematical operations:
Math expressions (examples):
after you
review the keywords, test
yourself
addition: 5+x  subtraction: 5x 
multiplication: 5*x; 5x  division: 5 ÷ x; 5/x 
Exercise: ("mouse over" the block for answer)  
Key words for addition
+ increased by; more than; combined together; total of; sum; added to 

What is the sum of 8 and y? 
8 + y 
Express the number (x) of apples 
x + 2 
Express the total weight of 
x + y 
Key words for Subtraction

less than, fewer than, reduced by, decreased by, difference of 

What is four less than y 
y  4 
What is nine less than a number (y) 
y  9 
What if the
number (x) of pizzas 
x  6 
What is the
difference of my weight (x) 
x  y 
Key words for multiplication
* x or integers next to each
other (5y, xy): of, times, multiplied by 

What is y multiplied by 13 
13y or 13 * y 
Three runners averaged "y" minutes. 
3y 
I drive my car at 55 miles per hour. 
55x 
Key words for division
÷ / per, a; out of; ratio of, quotient of; percent (divide by 100) 

What is the quotient of y and 3 
y/3 or y ÷ 3 
Three
students rent an apartment 
x/3 or x ÷ 3 
"y" items
cost a total of $25.00. 
25/y or 25 ÷ y 
More vocabulary and key words:
 "Per" means "divided by"
as "I drove 90 miles on three gallons of gas, so I got 30 miles per gallon."
(Also 30 miles/gallon)  "a" sometimes means "divided by"
as in "When I filled up, I paid $10.50 for three gallons of gasoline,
so the gas was 3.50 a gallon, or $3.50/gallon  "less than"
If you need to translate "1.5 less than x", the temptation is to write "1.5  x". DON'T! Put a "real world" situation in, and you'll see how this is wrong: "He makes $1.50 an hour less than me." You do NOT figure his wage by subtracting your wage from $1.50.
Instead, you subtract $1.50 from your wage  "quotient/ratio of" constructions
If a problems says "the ratio of x and y",
it means "x divided by y" or x/y or x ÷ y  "difference between/of" constructions
If the problem says "the difference of x and y",
it means "x  y"
What if the number (x) of children was reduced by six, and then they had to share twenty dollars? How much would each get? 
20/(x  6) 
What is 9 more than y? 
y + 9 
What is the ratio of 9 more than y to y? 
(y + 9)/y 
What is
nine less than the 
(y + 2)  9 or y  7 
The length of a football field is 30 yards more than its width "y". Express the length of the field in terms of its width y 
y + 30 