
Q.
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How should I present calculations? I find these really difficult and generally try to avoid them.

A.
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For calculations, show the starting point (generally the relevant equation) and the various stages, so that the examiner can follow what you are doing. The great advantage to doing this is that if you make a small mathematical slip and end up with the wrong answer, you can still score almost full marks. If you do not show your approach and method and end up with the wrong answer, you score no marks. At the end of every calculation, give (i) the correct unit and (ii) the same number of significant figures as are used in the question. Do not confuse decimal places with significant figures. Do not write down all the digits displayed in your calculator, most of which will be meaningless. Check your answer — is it sensible? In particular, check the sign and the powers of ten. Could you have made a simple mistake? 

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