Search by topic

You can now search for questions in Problem-Attic by keyword or topic. This can speed up selection because you don’t have to navigate through the database looking for specific categories. Also, because your searches are saved automatically, you can use this new option to access categories that you select from most often.

To do a search, click the magnifying class at the top-right of any selection page. Alternatively, on the main Select page, you can click “Search by Topic” on the bottom-middle panel (“My Database”).

new search option

The magnifying glass and the link do same thing: they bring you to the search page, as shown here:

search page

After you reach the search page, type a few letters for a keyword or phrase. A drop-down menu will appear showing any matches. Click the one that is closest to what you are searching for. Problem-Attic will then present you with the database categories that cover the particular keyword or phrase. Here is an example starting with the letters “expr” and resulting in a search for “Rational expressions, simplify”:

example search expr

As mentioned above, the search option always returns categories of questions. This has certain advantages. First, it’s very efficient, because Problem-Attic’s database is already organized around specific topics or objectives. Second, it helps you avoid “false matches” that come from the text of individual questions. (Imagine how many questions would get returned if you searched for “fraction” or “explain your answer”.) Third, it shows the search results in context, so you’ll know where to look for related questions.

You will notice the search option is tabbed. This means you can click + to open a new tab and do another search. In fact, you can do up to six searches, and Problem-Attic will remember them. This gives you a way to access the categories you use most often or want to return to in the near future, such as for a review worksheet or exam. Effectively, you’re building a small custom database with multiple search tabs. Of course, you can close tabs that you’re done with by clicking , and then do a new search if you like.

Here is a search page with multiple tabs for earth science topics:

example search tabs

A few other notes:

  • On the search page, you add problems to your document in the normal way. You drill down into categories and click on problem thumbnails, or you can use the Add button. For information about the Navigation Panel, which is a great way to move between categories, or about the right-click option for selecting problems at random, see this shortcuts page.

  • While selection works normally on the search page, it’s important to understand that you’re not browsing through categories in their original location. In a manner of speaking, the search results are copied to the tabs. At any time you can return to Problem-Attic’s main Select page (with the nine panels) by double-clicking the Select tab.

  • To narrow your search results, click the Settings button. You can limit the results by subject, grade level, and source. (The option called “Math Standards” applies only to the original questions which come with a subscription.)

  • The search option has been released as a “beta” version, meaning it’s not complete. As of this writing, we’ve successfully added search terms for about 80% of all the questions in the database. We’re still working on search terms for certain modules which are organized around lessons or units, like Achieve the Core (ATC) and Illustrative Mathematics (IM).

We welcome your feedback about the new search option. If you notice missing terms or it’s not showing the categories you’d expect, please write to us at We want the search option to produce reliable results and save you time!