Arithmetic sequences, like many mathematical equations, require a basic set-up to allow problem-solving to begin. The first step in working towards a solution requires analyzing the situation to produce basic, preliminary information. When trying to find the maximum seating capacity of an auditorium, for instance, the process begins with determining the maximum number of seats that can be occupied in each row. Working row by row to count seats is a form of simple addition, performed in a series that leads to a total number of seats.

Once the total is identified, the next step involves determining whether the problem is inherently algebraic or geometric, which then determines the proper formula to use. That is accomplished by looking for patterns, such as a set number of added seats per row.

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