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Tips for Solving Kinematic Problems

When faced with a Kinematic problem first you should determine what type of motion is occurring. Is is linear motion? Free fall? Projectile?

Next draw a diagram (picture) of what is happening and label it with the information given in the problem. I also recommend making a list of knowns and unknowns. This will help clarify what the information is (velocity, acceleration, time, displacement, etc.) and what you are looking for. Once you have all of the parts you can determine which equations you will need to use to solve for the missing variables. Remember to label all of your numbers with units and the correct variable. You can only use the equation that has the given variables listed.

If you are having trouble with the algebra to rearrange the equation for the missing variable, I recommend plugging in the known variables and then simplify. It should make the algebra less tedious.