# Help Solving Physics Problems

In such cases, the time taken to plot out a strategy will pay huge dividends, preventing the loss of several frustrating minutes of impulsive attempts at solving the problem.

The mathematical formula is written in the form of symbols which represent some physical quantity such as focal length, distance, acceleration or force.

Before performing such substitutions, the student must first equate the numerical information contained in the verbal statement with the appropriate physical quantity.

" More than any other stage during the problem solution, it is during this stage that a student must think critically and apply their physics knowledge.

Difficult problems in physics (the kind which likely draw students to these audio help files) are multistep problems.

The use of these Audio Help files and the problem-solving practices which they promote will not only assist you in completing your problem sets but will also make you a better and more confident problem-solver.

All good problem-solvers will read a problem carefully and make an effort to visualize the physical situation.It is the habit of a good problem-solver to carefully read the verbal statement and to combine the attention to units (meters, kilograms, Joules, etc.) with their understanding of the meaning of physical quantities in order to accurately extract the numerical information and equate it with the appropriate symbol.Furthermore, good problem-solvers will conduct this task by writing down the quantitative information with its unit and symbol in an organized fashion, often recording the values on their diagram.The list is NOT an exhaustive list; it simply includes some commonly observed habits which good problem-solvers practice.Anyone can be a good problem-solver; because of personality and learning style differences, some will certainly be better than others.Once the physical situation has been visualized and diagrammed and the numerical information has been extracted from the verbal statement, the strategy plotting stage begins.During this stage of a problem, the student ponders the question: "How can I use the known information - both explicit and implied - to determine the unknown quantity?The path from known information to the unknown quantity is often not immediately obvious.The problem becomes like a jigsaw puzzle; the assembly of all the pieces into the whole can only occur after careful inspection, thought, analysis, and perhaps some wrong turns.While a good problem-solver may not religiously adhere to these habitual practices, they become more reliant upon them as the problems become more difficult.The list below describes some of the habits which good problem-solvers share in common.

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