A Comprehensive Tutorial On How To Do Homework In Physics


The best way to consolidate your knowledge of physics and gain practical skills is to do homework tasks. Though it’s not the most pleasant thing to do for many students, physics problems will certainly help you develop your thinking and present the results of your work. Below is the list of the things you should concentrate on while doing your homework in physics.

General Tips

  1. Use paper without any marks on it not to impede your thinking.
  2. Don’t begin with selecting formulas, distinguish the key principles of your problem first.
  3. Visualize the situation: make detailed drawings or sketches.
  4. Stick to a determined coordinate system: it will link the variables in your formulas with the conditions of the problem.
  5. Make a list of the known and unknown magnitudes and introduce variables instead of the unknowns.
  6. Check all the numbers given and their units, but don’t be afraid of the weird ones. Make the necessary conversions.
  7. It will be easier to correct your calculations if you try making them with formulas first but not with the numbers.
  8. Describe your way of resolving the problem consistently and precisely. The person who will check your homework should see not only the correct answer, but also understand every step of your thinking process.
  9. Look through the result again and make sure you used relevant units and values.
  10. Remember that there can be other ways to find the answer and share your ideas with others.
  11. Don’t forget to staple the pages.

Other Helpful Tips

  • Unlike scalars, vectors require indicating both their magnitude and direction.
  • How to organize your drawing of free-body diagrams:
    1. If no torques are needed for the solution of the problem, use a point to mark the object while considering it. It can be used later as the beginning of the force vectors.
    2. Only force vectors can be depicted on the free-body diagram.
    3. Mention solely forces directed on the object considered.
    4. Check the origin of the force.
    5. If you want to involve “the normal force”, still stick to the rule mentioned above.
  • Newton meant two forces exerted on two different objects in his third law.
  • Always use appropriate force doing the work and the object the work is being done on in your calculations of work.

Final Word

Ask questions! It’s the most effective way to make the difficult points clear. If making up a good question is hard, don’t be afraid to consult your professor or discuss the problem with other students.