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I think a good way of seeing whether or not to use the ideal gas law is based on the information that the problem gives you. If the problem gives you temp info, volume info and info about moles. Then we can work this equation and solve for pressure. Also, there may be problems where we have to know the relationship between work and pressure / volume. dw = -PdV for reversible and w = -P(deltaV) for irreversible. Then we can sub the parts of the ideal gas law in for P since P = nRT/V.
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