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This task will also include observing strategic and meaningful phrases such as "a magnified and virtual image", "a diverging lens", "starting from rest", "with a constant velocity", and "in the absence of air resistance." While such phrases do not explicitly provide numerical information, they do go a long way towards offering information which implies a particular solution strategy.
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.
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.
Many errors (and perhaps even most) can be traced back to this translation process.
These errors are usually the result of a failure to visualize the physical situation described in the verbal statement of the problem or of a failure in missing some strategic information during the reading process.
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.
Good problem solvers use their background knowledge of physics and physics formulae to think about how the known information is related to each other and how it is related to the final unknown quantity.
Nonetheless, anyone who puts effort into disciplining themselves to be successful at solving problems can learn how to be proficient at the task.
A student who devotes some time and attention to the list below and makes an effort to personalize it into their own approach to problems will improve their problem-solving ability.