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Conflicting Sig Fig Advice

Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:41 pm
by ashwathinair
I'm seeing a lot of conflicting advice on the sig fig threads - because of rounding in the solutions manuals some people are saying that you should round to the nearest sig fig throughout calculations, but in my high school chem class I always learned to only round to sig figs for the final answer because it would be more accurate that way. I'm going to do what I learned in high school for test 1, but what do the rest of you guys think?

Re: Conflicting Sig Fig Advice

Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:43 pm
by Bryce Barbee
I feel like the safest way to do it is to keep your sig figs long throughout the problem and then round at the end in order to get the most precise answer like you said. That's what I've been doing and I feel like you can't go wrong that way.

Re: Conflicting Sig Fig Advice

Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:44 pm
by Julianna Laurentano 4G
My TA told our class during our first meeting that as long as your final answer was rounded to the correct number of significant figures, then you will receive full credit. I don't believe each number in your calculation needs to be correctly rounded as long as you make sure your final answer is.

Re: Conflicting Sig Fig Advice

Posted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:45 pm
by Jordan Young 2J
For me, I think it's better to round for sig figs at the end of the problem because if you round as you are calculating, your answer is more likely to be more off than if you just round at the end of the problem. Generally, if you are fairly close in terms of sig figs and rounding I think you'll be fine and you won't get points off.