A word problem is a kind of math problem that supposedly tests how well a person can apply mathematics to real-life situations. A word problem in grammar school might be:

  1. Train A leaves from Austin at 1:00, travelling at 60 miles per hour. Train B leaves from Houston at 1:30 and is travelling at 70 miles per hour. If Austin is 160 miles away from Houston, at what time will the two trains meet? (answer below)

Word problems often give students fits because of the way that math is taught in school (see: rote memorization.) The problem with word problems is that they inevitably rely on assumptions and which may or may not be obvious.

Answer: assuming instant acceleration, the answer is 2:30.