Thomas Frank, the self-proclaimed “College Info Geek”, recommends a tactic from Dale Corson, a former President of Cornell Univeristy. He advised students to work through their problem one sentence at a time, asking: “What is that I don’t understand?”. This allows the students to be able to point to exactly what they don’t understand when talking to their professor. Which is a bonus tip. If you have worked on a problem for more than 15 minutes and have gotten nowhere, take advantage of your professor’s office hours and/or ask questions in class. It helps a lot. You still want to push past the hard parts to “crack” problems, but if you are spinning your wheels, ask for help.