Download Article
Download Article
X
wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are cowritten by multiple authors. To create this article, 23 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time.
This article has been viewed 285,666 times.
Learn more...
Baffled as to where to begin with a physics problem? There is a very simply and logical flow process to solving any physics problem.
Steps

1Calm down. It is just a problem, not the end of the world!

2Read through the problem once. If it is a long problem, read and understand it in parts till you get even a slight understanding of what is going on.Advertisement

3Draw a diagram. It cannot be emphasized enough how much easier a problem will be once it is drawn out. Ideally, a free body diagram is what you will draw, but even drawing how you imagine the wording of the problem inside your head (like a chart maybe) will make solving this problem easier. There are often marks awarded for drawing a correct diagram. Once you are done with this, try to bring this drawing into motion like a movie if you can. This is not really necessary but will give you a clear understanding of what is happening in the problem.^{[1] X Research source }

4List down anything that is given to you to the side under a category labeled "known". e.g. you are given two velocities. Label the first V1 and set it equal to the value given. Label the other value V2 and set it equal to the value provided for it.

5Look for the unknown variables. Ask yourself, 'What am I solving for?' and 'What are the unknown variables in this problem?' List these to the side as well under a category labeled "unknown".^{[2] X Research source }

6List formula that you think might be applicable to this problem. If you are able to look up equations you do not remember exactly and think might be applicable to the problem, do so and write them down.^{[3] X Research source }

7Pick the right formula. At times there may be different formulas for the same set of variables and you may be confused as to which one to use. Hence when you memorize the formula, also remember the conditions in which they hold good ( conditions under which that formula can be applied). for example:  v = u + at can be applied only when the acceleration is constant. So in a question if the acceleration is not constant, you will know you are not supposed to use this equation here. This may also help to increase the subject understanding in general.^{[4] X Research source }

8Solve the equations. Take your formula and try to solve for one variable at a time. Solve for each variable that is listed under the "unknown" category. Try to solve for variables that you can determine easily first.^{[5] X Research source }

9Keep repeating the last step for each unknown quantity in turn. If you can't do one, try others first as you may be able to work it out when you have information from other answers.

10Put a box, circle, or underline your answer to make your work neat.Advertisement
Community Q&A
Search

QuestionHow can I pass physics in grade 10?Community AnswerKeep trying and be thorough in learning the theories. Don't hesitate to ask any questions of your teacher if you don't understand something. Write notes and list down the formulas and stick them on your wall. Keep reviewing and things will fall into place easily.

QuestionI struggle to remember physics formulas. Any tips?Community AnswerWrite the formulas down over and over again while standing up. Studies show that doing so can improve your recall. Also, you could record yourself reading the formulas and play them on a loop while you sleep.

QuestionWhat is the relationship between Kelvin and Celsius?Community Answer0 degree Celsius = 273 Kelvin. Therefore, 25 degree Celsius (25 + 273) = 298 Kelvin.

QuestionWhat is angular velocity?Community AnswerIt's the velocity of the object moving in a circular path. As it continuously changes its direction while moving in a circular path, it changes its angles  hence, angular velocity.

QuestionA body is at rest, and gains a velocity of 10 ms1 in 5 seconds. How do I find the acceleration and the distance covered by the body?Community AnswerFind the acceleration by using v = u + at, with 0 m/s as the initial velocity (u) and 10 m/s as the final velocity (v), and 5 s as time. Substitute the known values to get the distance covered by the body (x) in the equation v² = u² + 2ax, or in the equation x = ut + 1/2 at².

QuestionWhat is a ruby made of?Community AnswerA ruby is a pink to bloodred colored gemstone, a variety of the mineral corundum (aluminium oxide). The red color is caused mainly by the presence of the element chromium. Its name comes from ruber, Latin for red. Other varieties of gemquality corundum are called sapphires.

QuestionWhat does analog in physics mean?Community AnswerAnalog in physics means that any parameters or values are represented in a mechanical way. Take for example the analog clock, whose hands move mechanically and continuously around the face.

QuestionA ball hits a wall horizontally at 6m/s, it rebounds horizontally at 4.4 m/s, the ball is in contact with the wall for 0.04s, what is the acceleration?Community Answeru = 6m/s v= 4.4m/s t = 0.04sec. Using v= u+at i.e a = v  u / t now substitut values , a= 4.46/0.04 = 40m

QuestionHelp me solve this problem? "An electric circuit is shown in the figure. I is the current entering into the circuit at A. What is the potential difference between C & D and what is the resultant resistance between A & B?"Community AnswerPotential difference can be found out by subtracting the value of given D from C.

QuestionWhy does gravity vary from place to place?Community AnswerBecause the gravitational field strength (acceleration due to gravity) is higher at sea level than on top of a mountain.
Ask a Question
200 characters left
Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered.
Submit
Advertisement
Video
Tips
 Many people report that if they leave a problem for a while and come back to it later, they find they have a new perspective on it and can sometimes see an easy way to the answer that they did not notice before.Thanks!
 Try to understand the problem first.Thanks!
 Remember, the physics part of the problem is figuring out what you are solving for, drawing the diagram, and remembering the formulae. The rest is just use of algebra, trigonometry, and/or calculus, depending on the difficulty of your course.Thanks!
 If you do not know where to start, use Newton's laws of motion. These laws will almost always help you to the answer.Thanks!
 It is said that the material is like a pyramid; the new information is built upon the old. A better thought is to expand on that saying by changing it to "The material is set up like a pyramid made of vines; the information builds upon each other but also is woven together. Don't view each subject as an individual isolated block; they all intermix and grow together into one complete subject.Thanks!
 If you are taking a physics test, try chewing gum or eating popcorn to calm your nerves. You will "eat up" your nervous feelings.Thanks!
 If you are having trouble solving problems, it never hurts to ask! Get help if you need it; that is what your instructor is there to do, even if they believe to the contrary. Or ask a friend or fellow student; they may have a different perspective that switches on the proverbial light bulb above your head. If you can, try understanding their line of reasoning and try to figure where you lack and why. Then you know what to do, improve yourself.Thanks!
 Draw a diagram for no a diagram question. List out all force.Thanks!
 Solve for variables! If you figure out how to solve the problem with variables first, you can always go back and plug numbers in. If you solve exclusively with numbers, you are increasing your chances of buggering something up if you plug and chug it in a calculator. Remember, numbers are inaccurate, variables are exact.Thanks!
 If a problem is particularly difficult, try some easier ones on the same subject first. You may be able to find a way to do it.Thanks!
 Keep a positive attitude! If it helps, daydream a bit; it will allow you relax and become more focused on the problem.Thanks!
Submit a Tip
All tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published
Thanks for submitting a tip for review!
Advertisement
Warnings
 Physics is not easy to grasp for many people, so do not get bent out of shape over a problem.Thanks!
 If an instructor tells you to draw a free body diagram, be sure that that is exactly what you draw.Thanks!
Advertisement
Things You'll Need
 A Writing Utensil (preferably a pencil or erasable pen of sorts)
 Paper
 Calculator with all the functions you need for your exam
 An understanding of the equations needed to solve the problems. Or a list of them will suffice if you are just trying to get through the course alive.
References
 ↑ https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/13616404/aa9038
 ↑ http://www.smarterthanthat.com/physics/physicsdontpanic10stepstosolvingmostphysicsproblems/
 ↑ http://www.smarterthanthat.com/physics/physicsdontpanic10stepstosolvingmostphysicsproblems/
 ↑ https://www.brighthubeducation.com/sciencehomeworkhelp/42596tipstochoosingthecorrectphysicsformula/
 ↑ https://www.brighthubeducation.com/sciencehomeworkhelp/42596tipstochoosingthecorrectphysicsformula/
About This Article
In other languages
Русский:решить любую задачу по физике
Bahasa Indonesia:Menyelesaikan Semua Soal Fisika
Nederlands:Iedere natuurkundeopgave kunnen maken
العربية:حل أي مسألة في الفيزياء
Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 285,666 times.
Did this article help you?
Advertisement