# Setting Out Calculations

When setting out
your calculation work it is important that you structure your answers.
Marks are given not only for the correct answer but also for a clear
communication of your thinking as you tackled the problem.

Here are some simple
steps to follow.

**Read
the question carefully** and extract the information from
it by listing the data given to you on the right hand side of your
page. Make a **neat column of the figures given
and the UNITS**!!! (and change them into SI units if necessary
- for example, times given in minutes should be changed into seconds
there and then!)
- Think about what
is happening in the question and if appropriate
**sketch a diagram** to illustrate it - marking on forces,
distances etc.
**Quote
the general equation** that you are going to use to solve
the problem - saying what the letters/symbols stand for.
**Substitute
the symbols/letters with the data** you have at the top of
the page to leave you with the unknown.
**Call
this unknown 'x'****
**or something
- don't put '?' for it!
**Manipulate
the equation and calculate the unknown** - put each line
of mathematical reasoning on a separate line - use WORDS to explain
what you are doing - do NOT simply put a string of = signs between
sets of numbers that are not equal
**For example
- some students when changing 5 minutes into seconds write**

5 = 5 x 60 = 300

5
= 300 ????? *No way! Illogical maths!*

**it
should be written:**

5
mins = 5 x 60 seconds = 300s

- Consider the
number of
**significant figures**
that the quastion has been written in and then quote the numerical
answer to that number.
- Consider the
**
unit of your answer **carefully and add it to the **numerical
answer.**

It is a good idea
to make your final answer stand out clearly by putting it on a separate
line and writing __ANS__ after it.

**Common ways to
lose marks:**

- omitting
the general equation
- omitting
units
- using
the wrong case of letter for a unit or a symbol
- illogical
maths

Here is an example
of correct layout...