Here I will post a few tips and hints to remember when answering SQA N5 Papers. Hopefully they’ll be quick, snappy and memorable. You’ve got the whole of the Scottish Physics Teachers’ Community Wisdom Below!
Obviously you know- no secs in Physics, just stick to unit symbols and save all the problems of spelling.
Neutrons don’t carry/have (net) charge so cannot be accelerated/guided/ deflected by magnetic fields.
Remember: SIG FIG, your final answer should be rounded up to the same number of significant figures as the LEAST significant measurement.
Make sure you see the words “end of question paper”. Don’t assume you’ve got to the end and there are no questions on the very last page!
“Show” questions – means show correct formula, working and numerical answer stated as given in the question.
Don’t leave anything blank! If you really don’t know, give it a go – you never know.
The questions in the exam sections (MC and then extended answers) are in approximately the same order as the equation sheet.
LIST: given numbers with the correct symbols before doing a calculation. Or as we say IESSUU (information, Equation, Substitution, Solution, Units and Underline)
Substitute then rearrange.
Read all of the question, especially that bit you skipped over at the start.
Don’t forget units! It’s now worth at least 33% of a calculation!
This will do for now more to come as they arise……Check out the past paper marking instructions for do’s and don’ts- its full of them in that second column!
It is important that you realise that this year will go really quickly. As a part of your life it seems a long time, but trust me, it will go quicker than you can possibly imagine. That is why it is important to realise how little time you have to cover the whole course and revise it.
For people in D&G I’ve made a D&G Calendar. For other Regions you’ll just need to adjust your holiday dates. From the first Monday you return to school there will be only 146 teaching daysuntil Study Leave. Now if you think that you only get 4 periods a week, on 3 days per week that is about a maximum of 88 times I’ll see you over the year. You can start ticking them off if you dislike me that much. Take off all those days when you will be having trips, meetings, be at Sporting Events, doing prelims; and the time to complete the course begins to look less plausible! We also have to fit in an Assignment.
I would therefore ask any student studying any subject not to waste any time in class and get as organised as possible. That means get into class, get out your stuff, and get going straight away. If there is a distraction then review your work, answer questions etc. Don’t waste a second!
Click on the link above (Revision plan). This takes you to an EXCEL spreadsheet. I can add a pdf file if some of you can’t open this. Revision isn’t just about LEARNING the work. What will take more of your time are the other bits!
The steps to revising are:
CHECK YOU HAVE ALL THE NOTES, CONTENT AND WORK YOU NEED
UNDERSTAND THE WORK, DOES IT MAKE SENSE?
LEARN THE WORK.
You can and should be doing step one throughout the course. The better prepared you are as you go along the less time at the end of the course you will need for revision. Likewise with step 2. If you make sure you’ve fully understood each part of the work, then even if you’ve forgotten it, it should be easier to understand and grasp the second time around. If you pass on it and hope it will go away as you move through the course you’ll begin to have a fear of this section of the course and it will be harder to understand.
So how do you use the Revision Plan?
This can be used for just one subject but I think it puts it into perspective when you put all your calendar in one place. There are probably apps that will do the same thing, but I’m not there yet!
Mark in the dates and times of Exams (whether prelims or final exams). I’ve put in the Physics Exam Date for you and a counter has been added to the N5 Home Page. I’d check this often just to remind you how far we are through the course.
Shade in the dates and times of commitments, such as parties, trips away, days off (birthdays when you’ll have all those presents to open) etc.
Make a list of topics to cover for each subject; the Physics one is done for you. But remember revision is about CHECKING, UNDERSTANDING and LEARNING so all three of those have to be allocated time.
Calculate how many hours you have available and how much time you will allocate to each subject and each topic within that subject.
Decide on the order in which to tackle your subjects. Don’t tackle the easy subjects first as you’ll never get on to the harder ones! It is best to start revising the hard subjects and topics as these will take you more time to understand and learn
Draft your revision timetable.
Leave one or two revision slots free each week for extra revision or difficult topics.
BE SURE TO LEAVE YOURSELF SOME TIME FOR REST AND FUN ACTIVITIES including being healthy.
Don’t spend so long producing a beautiful revision timetable so that there is not enough time to revise.
Here is a little document I made up when we had foreign students in an Intermediate 2 class. It was not as successful with the foreign students as with those studying in Scotland as there was confusing over what they were asked to do and I assumed (obviously wrongly) that the symbols were universal.
I think you’ll find these fine, providing you:
SET YOUR PRINTER TO LANDSCAPE
PRINT 16 PAGES PER A4 SHEET
CUT THEM OUT ONE DEEP AND TWO ACROSS as shown below
If you don’t have a printer just copy them out on to paper or card!
This will give you 8 dominoes per sheet and two different sets. One if for quantity and symbol and one is for quantity and unit.
I’ve found it best to print on different colour card so that you don’t try muddling them up. If you do it correctly you should end back at the start, or with a quantity that has no unit (work out which one that is)
I recommend you working against the clock, so that you can increase your speed as you practice. It will make revision at least a little more interesting. Or practice with your friends.
“Six months from Now, you’ll have wished you started revising today”
Here is a table showing some of the command words that are used in the exams. I will give examples later. It is important to answer the correct command word in the right way or you are likely to not be awarded marks.
Do go through past paper questions and get examples of the different command words and then look at the marking instructions and see how they are answered.
response to questions that ask candidates to:
you must provide a number from given facts, figures or information. It is not expected that this can just be known from information.
This requires you to describe the similarities and/or differences between things, not just write about one. If you are asked to ‘compare x with y ’, you need to write down something about x compared to y , using comparative words such as ‘better, ‘more than’, ‘less than’, ‘quicker’, ‘more expensive’, ‘on the other hand.’
you must provide a statement or structure of characteristics and/or features;
determine or calculate,
you must determine a number from given facts, figures or information; You should use numbers given in the question to work out the answer. You should always show your working, as it may be possible for the examiner to award some marks for the method even if the final answer is wrong. Always give the units as the final mark is for the answer and unit.
you must determine an approximate value for something;
you must relate cause and effect and/or make relationships between things clear. Students should make something clear, or state the reasons for something happening. The answer should not be a simple list of reasons. This means that points in the answer must be linked coherently and logically.All of the stages/steps in an explanation must be included to gain full marks.
you must make a judgement based on what you know or have been given, or determine the value of something.
identify, name, give, or state,
you need only name or present in brief form. Only a short answer is required, not an explanation or a description. Often it can be answered with a single word, phrase or sentence. If the question asks you to state, give, or write down one (or two etc) examples, you should write down only the specified number of answers, or you may not be given the mark for some correct examples given.
you must give reasons to support their suggestions or conclusions, e.g. this might be by identifying an appropriate relationship and the effect of changing variables;
you must provide a brief summary of the content. It should be more detailed than naming, but not as detailed as describe.
you must suggest what may happen based on available information;
you must use physics [and mathematics] to prove something e.g. a given value – All steps, including the stated answer , must be shown;
you must apply your knowledge and understanding of physics to a new situation. A number of responses are acceptable: marks will be awarded for any suggestions that are supported by knowledge and understanding of physics.
use your knowledge of physics or aspect of physics to comment on,
you must apply your skills, knowledge and understanding to respond appropriately to the problem/situation presented (for example by making a statement of principle(s) involved and/or a relationship or equation, and applying these to respond to the problem/situation). you will be rewarded for the breadth and/or depth of their conceptual understanding.
Use the information in the passage/ diagram/ graph/ table to…
The answer must be based on the information given in the question. Unless the information given in the question is used, no marks can be given, even if what you write is correct.
On a similar matter, it is important that you don’t use the wrong adverb for a quantity. Don’t use the terms Quicker, slower, faster
for words such as time, acceleration, velocity. Use terms longer, shorter for time greater or less for acceleration and velocity.
To say quicker time, you are talking about relativity! You want to say that the time will be less to do the same action.
When completing a past paper or prelim paper it is important for you to do an analysis of where you went wrong. Use the list below to see where your weak areas are and start working on them, but don’t forget all the other areas too.
Although this table refers to points from the Intermediate 2 Physics paper they are exactly the same points that can arise for N5 & H so take note! Get some of these points on your revision timetable for Physics.
Advice to centres for preparation of future candidates
• Candidates should be encouraged to take more care in reading questions thoroughly and ensuring that the instructions in questions are followed precisely.
• Candidates should be aware that they may need to state or derive expressions which are not listed in the Data Booklet; for example, the component of weight of an object down a slope.
• Candidates should be encouraged to present their numerical analyses in a clear and structured way – markers need to be able to follow the logic in their answers.
• Most candidates require more practice at taking account of the vector nature of velocity and impulse in numerical calculations. A wrong sign used for these in a substitution is wrong physics.
• Where a question asks candidates to “show” that a certain value is correct, they should write down any relevant formula followed by correct substitutions and calculations in a clear and structured way.
• The number of marks allocated to each part of a question should be used by candidates as a guide to the extent of calculation or explanation required.
• There is a need for candidates to work on developing a deeper understanding of Physics at Higher level beyond having the ability to answer numerically based questions.
• Most candidates need more practice in writing descriptions and explanations. They need to be more careful in the precision of the language used in their descriptions and explanations. For example, saying that an increase in temperature causes “molecules to collide more” means very little. A more precise description would be “molecules collide with the container walls harder and more frequently”.
• Candidates should be encouraged to study the content statements for the course. They must be able to give definitions of terms such as potential difference, irradiance etc.
• Candidates should label the origin and axes on sketch graphs.
• When a candidate makes two (or more) attempts for the same part of a question, they must score through the part(s) which they do not wish to be considered by the marker.
• Candidates should practise using all the prefixes listed in the content statements for the course.
• Candidates need to practise transferring knowledge from one Unit of the course to another; for example, the charge on a proton met in the Unit on Radiations and Matter may be used in a question based on the Unit on Electricity and Electronics.
• Many candidates need to develop a better understanding of how to quote “an appropriate number of significant figures” in final answers.
Advice to centres for preparation of future candidates (int 2)
Apart from the specific topics outlined under the heading “Areas which candidates found demanding” it is recommended that the following receive attention:
Units and prefixes
Explanations of Physics phenomena – in general, descriptive questions were very much less well done than numerical questions. For example, many candidates could correctly calculate potential and kinetic energy but could give no sensible explanation as to why one was bigger than the other.
It is recommended that attention should be given to drawing conclusions in Problem Solving situations.
National 5 Workshop for Physics Wednesday 17th May (the morning of the exam) P1, 2 and 4
This is the document that we will be going through. We wont have time to go through all the material, so you might want to use this as part of your revision. Do start your revision early and be sure to look over some of the ways to revise, I’ll get a link when I can locate it! It the Higher Revision section of the site there is a link to type of learner. Try the learning styles it will help you revise.