How Do You Find Answers to Physics Problems?

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SolvePhysics.com has a database of answers to common physics problems. The solutions include the steps for solving the problems. AlphaSolver.com also has answers, along with video tutorials showing how to solve each problem. SmarterThanThat.com and LHUP.edu/~disimanek provide methods and tips for solving physics problems.

Both methods start with reading the problem carefully. Look up any terms or concepts you do not understand. Get a general understanding of what is going on in the question: a ball is rolling downhill or a beam of light is passing through a prism.

Note down known facts such as the mass of the ball and the angle of the hill. Include notes about facts that are implied but not stated, such as that velocity is zero if the problem says the ball is at rest. Drawing a diagram can help to visualize the situation. Make sure you know what kind of solution the problem needs. It may be asking for a speed, an acceleration rate or how long it takes the ball to come to rest.

Assign variables to the known facts and add them to the diagram. Create variables for the unknown quantities, such as the ones you will need for the answer. Add variables to the diagram.

List the principles that apply to the problem. List relevant formulas.

Combine facts and formulas in a way that leads to the solution. You may need a separate formula for each unknown variable. Set up the equation using units -- but not quantities --- to make sure the unit conversions get to the final result. Then, put in the numbers and solve.

Check that the solution is reasonable for the problem. The quantity should make sense; the units should be correct for the solution.

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