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Question on word problems

  1. Sep 29, 2011 #1
    I am new and a learning disabled student. I am taking freshman physics. I am not sure how to read the word problems or how to interpret them. For example, when I read a problem "Three deer, A, B, and C, are grazing in a field. Deer B is located 62 m from deer A at an angle of 51° north of west. Deer C is located 77° north of east relative to deer A. The distance between deer B and C is 95 m. What is the distance between deer A and C? (Hint: Consider the law of cosines)" I did not realize it meant the angles 51 and 77 were outside the lines and were angles adjacent to deer A.
    I am asking if there are any phrases or words I should watch out for that would mean things like "angles outside the triangle" or tells me they mean perpendicular or has any particular other meaning... I hope I explained this well enough.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 29, 2011 #2


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    Try drawing these out. It helps a lot. Or, in other words, drawing these problems out helps a lot. Everyone has problems taking this type of info and just plugging it into an equation. Drawing them out helps a lot.

    (I hate that method of identifying angles, as well. The first thing I'd do is convert them to an Azimuth with North being 0, East being 90, South being 180, and West being 270.)
  4. Sep 29, 2011 #3
    Well, I guess that's my problem. If I could understand what it was saying, I could draw a diagram. I suppose that 's why I was looking for translations to phrases like "relative to" means "near it" or something like that.
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