N5 Assignment from 2020

A set of PRACTICAL EXPERIMENTAL SHEETS that are in line with the changes brought in for the 2020/21 session.  

This table has the worksheets in word form.

Dynamics / SpaceN5 Hookes Law AHookes Law A
Dynamics / SpaceN5 Hookes Law BHookes Law B
DynamicsN5 Acc slopeAcceleration and angle of the slope
DynamicsN5 Fma AF=ma changing mass :A
DynamicsN5 Fma BF=ma changing mass: B
DynamicsN5 projectiles A
Projectiles changing the launch angle: A
DynamicsN5 Projectiles BProjectiles changing the launch speed: B
DynamicsN5 Projectiles CProjectiles changing the launch height: C
DynamicsHow the speed affects the stopping distance
DynamicsHow the speed affects the stopping distance
DynamicsPendulum and length
Prop. of Matter
Prop. of MatterN5 Charles' Law AVolume and Temperature with constant pressure
Prop. of MatterN5 Boyles Law APressure and volume for constant temperature
Prop. of MatterN5 Boyles Law BPressure and volume for constant temperature: A
Prop. of MatterN5 Pressure Law APressure and Temperature for constant volume: B
Prop. of MatterN5 Pressure and depth AEffects of pressure of a liquid with depth
Prop. of MatterSpecific Heat Capacity measure V and I
Prop. of MatterSpecific Heat Capacity using joule meter
Prop. of MatterN5 Cooling Curve A Cooling curve of water and stearic acid
Prop. of MatterN5 Latent heat of vaporisation ADetermining latent heat of vaporisation A
Prop. of MatterN5 Latent heat of vaporisation BDetermining latent heat of vaporisation B
Electricity / EnergyN5 Solar Cell A angle
Solar Cells A Angle
Electricity / EnergyN5 Solar Cell B distanceSolar Cells B Distance
Electricity / EnergyN5 Solar Cell C translucentSolar Cells C Translucent
Electricity / EnergyN5 Solar Cell D area
Solar Cells D Area
ElectricityN5 Ohms Law AMeasuring voltage and current for a ohmic conductor (resistor)
ElectricityN5 Ohms Law BMeasuring voltage and current for a non-ohmic conductor
ElectricityN5 LDR AAn LDR -distance from the light source.
N5 LDR BAn LDR - light intensity: B
ElectricityN5 LDR C
Calibrating an LDR against a light level meter
SpaceOrbit period v height
Waves / SpaceMicrowave distance v signal strength
WavesN5 Speed of SoundSpeed of Sound
WavesN5 Refraction ARefraction

This table will have the worksheets in pdf form

Here is a marking grid, obviously only if you are able to find time for a practice. It is not to be used to tentatively mark the student assignment being sent to the SQA.

Marking grid.docx

This is the info for N5 from August 2020

The material has recently been published on the Understanding Standards Website SQA Physics N5 INFO

N5 Candidate 1

N5 Commentary 1

Above gives an example of the new Assignment requirements. It is vital that you don’t copy or even attempt to copy this assignment. If you are likely to copy other people’s work it is best to choose another topic.

Initial Task- vital

SectionExpected responseMax mark
TitleThe report has an informative title.1
AimA description of the purpose of the investigation.1
Underlying physics relevant to the aimA description of the physics relevant to the aim which shows understanding.3
Data collection and handlingA brief description of the experiment.1
Sufficient raw data from the experiment.1
Raw data presented in a table with headings and units.1
Values correctly calculated from the raw data.1
Data from an internet/literature source.1
A reference for the internet/literature source.1
Graphical presentationThe correct type of graph used to present the experimental data.1
Suitable scales.1
Suitable labels and units on axes.1
All points plotted accurately, with line or curve of best fit if appropriate.1
AnalysisExperimental data compared to data from internet/literature source.1
ConclusionA conclusion related to the aim and supported by data in the report.1
EvaluationA discussion of a factor affecting the reliability, accuracy or precision of the results.2
StructureA report which can be easily followed.1

Before Starting on your assignment take time to go over the following, it is vital that you know what you are doing.


Understanding Standards Webinar

To kick you off with your assignment Mr Forwood has supplied the following document.

N5 Assignment instructions (editable in word)

N5 Assignment instructions (pdf file)

The document below is one that I started in the holidays but got distracted. I will get something together a.s.a.p but until then make do with this starter!

Practical titles

You must also correctly reference your work, learn how to do this with the following link.




Revision Calendar

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 days until 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!

Revision plan

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:




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.
  • Don’t spend so long producing a beautiful revision timetable so that there is not enough time to revise.

I’ll see if the Physics Jewel can make one up!




Past Papers for National 5 Physics

N5 PapersYearMarking
Digital QP
NO EXAM2020covid-19for the 1st time in history no exam
QP 20192019MI 2019Report 2019
QP 2018

2018MI 2018Report 20182018 DQP
Sect1 DQP

Sect2 DQP
RelationSheet DQP
QP 20172017MI 2017Report 20172017 DQP
QP 20162016MI 2016Report 20162016 DQP
QP 20152015MI 2015Report 20152015 Sect1 DQP
2015 Sect2 DQP
QP 20142014MI 2014Report 20142014 DQP

If you’d like to work through past papers by topic then Mr Davie from Glenrothes has done all the hard work for you and has promised to keep this list up to date. He says


This document was created in order to make it easier to find past paper questions both for teachers and students. I will do my best to keep this document up to date and include new past paper questions as they become available.

Mr C Davie


SG Physics Papers

As well as the National 5 Physics Papers above I’ve added some Standard Grade Physics Papers.

My thanks to J Boyle for passing these on. They are really good practice for students to use for revision for N4/5 etc.


PaperYearM.I.Exam Report
SG(C) 20132013SG(C) 2013 MI2013 Report
SG(C) 20122012SG(C) 2012 MI2012 Report
SG(C) 20112011SG(C) 2011 MI2011 Report
SG(C) 20102010SG(C) 2010 MI2010 Report
SG(C) 20092009SG(C) 2009 MI2009 Report
SG(C) 20082008SG(C) 2008 MI2008 Report
SG(C) 20072007SG(C) 2007 MI2007 Report
SG(C) 20062006SG(C) 2006 MI2006 Report
SG(C) 20052005SG(C) 2005 MI2005 Report
SG(C) 200420042004 Report
SG(C) 200320032003 Report
SG(C) 200220022002 Report
SG(C) 20012001SG(C) soln 00-04
SG(C) 20002000SG(C) soln 00-04
SG(C) 19991999SG(C) soln 95-99 pdf
SG(C) 19981998SG(C) 1998 MI
SG(C) 19971997SG(C) soln 95-99 pdf
SG(C) 19961996SG(C) soln 95-99 pdf
SG(C) 19951995SG(C) soln 95-99 word
SG(C) 19941994SG(C) soln 90-94 pdf
SG(C) 19931993SG(C) soln 90-94 pdf
SG(C) 19921992SG(C) soln 90-94 pdf
SG(C) 19911991SG(C)red soln 90-94 word
SG(C) 19901990SG(C) soln 90-94 pdf


PaperYearM.I.Exam Reports
SG(G) 20132013SG(G) 2013 MI2013 Report
SG(G) 20122012SG(G) 2012 MI2012 Report
SG(G) 20112011SG(G) 2011 MI2011 Report
SG(G) 20102010SG(G) 2010 MI2010 Report
SG(G) 20092009SG(G) 2009 MI2009 Report
SG(G) 20082008SG(G) 2008 MI2008 Report
SG(G) 20072007SG(G) 2007 MI2007 Report
SG(G) 20062006SG(G) 2006 MI2006 Report
SG(G) 20052005SG(G) 2005 MI2005 Report
SG(G) 200420042004 Report
SG(G) 200320032003 Report
SG(G) 200220022002 Report
SG(G) 20012001SG(G) soln 00-04
SG(G) 20002000SG(G) soln 00-04
SG(G) 19991999SG(G) soln 95-99
SG(G) 19981998SG(G) soln 95-99
SG(G) 19971997SG(G) soln 95-99
SG(G) 19961996SG(G) soln 95-99
SG(G) 19951995SG(G) soln 95-99
SG(G) 19941994SG(G) soln 90-94
SG(G) 19931993SG(G) soln 90-94
SG(G) 19921992SG(G) soln 90-94
SG(G) 19911991SG(G) soln 90-94
SG(G) 19901990SG(G) soln 90-94

SG Past Papers

Intermediate 2 Physics Papers

Here are the Intermediate 2 Physics Papers. The table isn’t yet complete, but you might want to start looking over some questions. Many of these could pop up on National 5 papers.

Int 2 PapersYearMarking
Int2 20152015MI 2015
Int2 20142014MI 2014
Int2 20132013MI 2013I2 Report 2013
Int2 20122012MI 2012I2 Report 2012
Int2 20112011MI 2011I2 Report 2011
Int2 20102010MI 2010I2 Report 2010
Int2 20092009MI 2009I2 Report 2009
Int2 20082008MI 2008I2 Report 2008
Int2 20072007MI 2007I2 Report 2007
Int2 20062006MI 2006I2 Report 20062006 mc H and Int2 stats
Int 2 20052005MI 2005I2 Report 2005
Int2 20042004MI 2004I2 Report 2004
Int2 20032003MI 2003I2 Report 2003
Int2 20022002MI 2002I2 Report 2002
2001MI 2001
2000MI 2000
Int2 SpecimenSpecimenSpecimen Answers

Virtual Flash Video

The audio can be turned off it is annoys. Here is the Virtual converted to an mp4 if I can get it to work. If people comment and find them useful I can do the rest.


HSDU powerpoint questions

These questions will be great for student self study. Beware I will need to edit some of them later as there are some things that are out of date.

eg Q= quality factor, now called Radiation weighting factor

H = dose equivalent now called equivalent dose.


This is the main Radiation post. Start here!

Thanks to Miss Horn for the Radiation Notes. Worked Answers to follow.

From Helpmyphysics


Fusion is the process when two SMALL NUCLEI join to form a LARGER NUCLEI with the production of ENERGY


Fission is the process when two large nuclei split to form two smaller nuclei with the production of energy. This can occur spontaneously or due to a collision with a neutron. Often extra neutrons are produced.

Chain Reaction

When neutrons split nuclei by fission and extra neutrons are produced which can split further nuclei. Large quantities of energy are produced.

Reducing exposure to ionising radiation.

There are 3 groups of category to reduce harm caused by radiation:


Monitor includes things like wearing radiation badges or EPUs, timing how long you are exposed to radiation, checking with radiation counters any contamination on clothes.

Shielding is placing layers of absorbers between you and the source, BEWARE, goggles and a lab coat are great at protecting against alpha but have no effect on gamma. Only thick layers of lead would offer protection against gamma.

Distance. Radiation obeys the inverse square law, as you double the distance from a source the level you are exposed to decreases by ¼ . Using tongs is an effective method of keeping your distance from a source.

When it goes wrong

Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster 1986- Effects and Summary

Chernobyl Surviving Disaster (BBC Drama Documentary)

Chernobyl Questions
  1. What date was the Chernobyl Disaster?
  2. What was the name of the man who hanged himself at the start, who was narrating the story?
  3. Which reactor blew?
  4. What was the cause of the accident?
  5. How many people went to see what had happened?
  6. What happened to the people who saw the hole in the reactor?
  7. What day of the week was the disaster?
  8. What town was evacuated?
  9. How did they drain the water from the reactor?
  10. How did they put out the fire?
  11. What was the reading on the counter when they measured the radiation levels?
  12. Why was this reading misleading and wrong?
  13. What was the real count when it was measured correctly?
  14. What were some of the symptoms of radiation poisoning?
  15. Who was sent to prison for crimes to do with the disaster? (or record how many people went to jail)
  16. Who was president of the USSR when the disaster occurred?
  17. What was the trigger that caused the man to hang himself?
  18. What is the “elephant’s foot?” in the reactor?
  19. Have there been any other nuclear disasters? Can you find out about them and name them?
  20. What other things did you learn about nuclear power stations and radioactivity?
updated June 2019

Radiation 2

Here are some videos and powerpoint shows that I’ve made for the NPA but the outcomes are the same as those in N5 Physics. Thanks to John Sharkey for the use of the Virtual Flash Physics (Int 2) and to Julian Hamm of furryelephant for the animations of ionising an atom.


With thanks to Julian Hamm www.furryelephant.com
After watching the video can you mix and match the effects of the radiation.
There are a few booboo’s such as given below and I say we put a beta particle instead of a beta source in the cloud chamber! But as I’ve already spent a day on this I had better move on!

NB In the video above I know totally that photographs were taken well before 1896, the first being taken in 1826. Henri Becquerel discovered that Uranium, a naturally radioactive element fogs photographic film.

June 2020

Protactinium Half Life Experiment

Using John Sharkey’s Virtual Animations I complete the Half Life of Protactinium 234. The sound needs to be turned down after the first 60 s

This is the draft copy of the Half Life Experiment until I can take out all the noise. I might redo it a third time!

The first one is from the Flash Animations

Using John Sharkey’s Physics Animations
Using John Sharkey’s Flash Learning Virtual Int 2

This one below is from the Int 2 Virtual Physics. No sound, but a few notifications for Teams!

June 2020

Indium-116 half life experiment

I hope that I am not breaking any rules, but these great resources no longer appear to be online. Can’t believe they are 20 years old!

The first photos show the background count rate, a reading of counts taken over a 1 minute period. The source is then taken out at 9:00 am and a count taken between 9:00 and 9:01, readings are then taken every 15 mins.

Time & CounterClose up ratemeter
Photo missing
count rate= 570

Background count   
Time Time from startCount ratecorrected count

June 2020

Week 2: The Maths Bit

Week 2: Significant Figures

You will need to be able to use and understand significant figures in N5 Physics. Don’t worry if you don’t get it straight away, we’ve almost a year to get it right. The video I’ve found is clearer than I could do and sorry it is a bit long, but well worth getting to grips with. What I will add today is a document explaining the importance of significant figures to a physicist, which I will post on here and in the class Notebook section. I wouldn’t watch the hour long video as we need to move on.

  • Watch it here on Youtube : Significant Figures Video
  • Read  and make notes on significant figures: It is in Class Notebook, and on Mrsphysics
  • Read and make notes on Rounding (Sheet to follow)
  • Make sure you’ve checked the answers to the Compendium Questions on Significant Figures. (section 0)
  • I’ll add to the calculator work this week, and you can work through that as soon as you can.

Week 2, part 2. Rounding

You will need to correctly round to the correct number of significant figures in N5 Physics. Again you might not get it straight away, but you’ll get plenty of practice. I’ll do another helpsheet for the Class Notebook.

  • Watch the video on Youtube: Rounding in more detail  it explains the reason for rounding and how it does it
  • For an additional help try this one Rounding Videos This is by the same guy who did the sig fig video.
  • Make notes on rounding: it will eventually be in the class notebook and on MrsPhysics in the N5 maths section.
  • Complete the Sig fig and Rounding Quiz (10 questions). You ought to be able to get at least 7/10. Review the work if you get less than this.

Scientific Notation Week 2 extension

…..but you will need to be able to do this. You will need to know how to do Scientific Notation. I will not test you in this just now, but you should be confident about it by August. Watch this video on YouTube:  Scientific Notation

Make a note on Scientific Notation in your Class Notebook

There will be a sheet this week to help you with this, which will be in the class materials here and in your note book as well, and on this site in the Maths bit.

Significant Figures

Watch the video below on significant figures.

Figure 1: The red and brown is called a counting stick and can only measure to 10 cm.

A picture containing water, clock

Description automatically generated

Figure 2: The top part of this metre stick can read to the nearest 1 cm, the bottom to the nearest mm.

When Physicist use numbers it is usually because they have measured something. Significant figures tell us how precise our measurement.

For example a student uses a metre stick to measure the length of a jotter.

A close up of a measure

Description automatically generated

If the student measures a jotter with the “counting stick” (in the top picture in the red and brown) which is marked in 10 cm graduations they will not be able to get a very good value. You would get that the jotter was just under 30 cm long but you wouldn’t be able to say much more.

If the student uses a ruler marked in centimetre marks they could say that the jotter was over 29 cm but less than 30 cm and closer to 30 cm than 29 cm, you’d say it was about 30 cm long.

If the jotter was measured with a metre stick marked in millimetres the jotter could be measured as 29.7 cm long

Figure 3 Here is a diagram of the jotter measured with different metre stick.

You need to look at significant figures with rounding which I will cover this week too.

30 cm is one significant figure and means a number between 25 cm and 34 cm which would be rounded to 30 cm. This is how you could record the number if you used the counting stick.

29 cm is two significant figures and means a number between 29.5 cm and 30.4 cm, which would be rounded to 29 cm. This is how you could record the number if you used the metre stick marked in cm only

29.7 cm is three significant figures and means a number between 29.65 cm and 29.74 cm, which would be rounded to 29.7 cm. This is probably the best measurement we should aim to make and to do this we would need a metre stick with millimetre graduations.

29.76 cm is four significant figures and means a number between 29.755 cm and 29.764 cm, it is unlikely that you could measure a jotter to that level of precision as the pages would vary by more than this. You would need a better piece of apparatus than a metre stick to measure this.

How many Significant Figures?

The simple rule is this: Your answer should have no more than the number of significant figures given in the question.

If different numbers in the question are given to a different number of significant figure you should use the number of significant figures in the value given to the smallest number of significant figures.


Question: A rocket motor produces 4,570 N (3 sig fig) of thrust to a rocket with a mass of 7.0 kg (2 sig fig). What is the acceleration of the rocket?

The calculated answer to this question would be 652.8571429 ms-2 . However the least accurate value we are given in the question is the value of the mass. This is only given to two significant figures. Therefore our answer should also be to two significant figures: 650 ms–2 .

You might not think that this makes a difference, but during the SQA Intermediate 2 paper in 2006 Q25 was written to test significant figures.

Week 1: Intro to N5


  • Know what to expect on the National 5 Physics course
  • Understand the Course Structure
  • Know where to access materials
  • Find good places to go for online help.
  • Know about Units, Prefixes and Scientific Notation

Success Criteria

  • Understand the make up of the SQA N5 Physics Course
  • Get 90% or more on the weekly Friday Review assessment
  • Complete the tasks on Units, Prefixes and Scientific Notation to a high standard


  • Check out the National 5 compendium and save your own copy in an editable form.
  • Read through the whole of Mrsphysics.co.uk/n5 front page
  • Go through the compendium and mark off the content that you feel you have already covered in BGE. You could do this electronically if you want (NB Capital P in wingdings 2 gives a nice tick and capital O gives a cross).
  • Check through the course content from the SQA website
  • Watch Mr Mitchell’s Introduction to N5 Physics
  • Watch Mr Mitchell’s Greek Letter Video
  • Watch Mr Mitchell’s Video on Units, Prefixes and Scientific Notation
  • Read the material in the Intro of the Compendium.
  • Make notes on the Compendium content 0.2,0.3,0.4. and pages 21 to the end.
  • Work through material on rearranging equations
  • Answer the questions from the Learning Outcome Question Booklet on Units Prefixes and Scientific Notation 0.2, 0.3,0.4 or if you need the link as a pdf
  • Start making a list of Quantity, Symbol, Unit, Unit Symbol, Scalar or Vector in the Notes. NB Colum 3 needs to be much wider than most and column 1 needs to fit in gravitational field strength, but columns 2, 4 and 5 only need to be a few letters wide. Keep this up to date, and we’ll have a quiz as to who can get the longest list from all the quantities you’ve met in the BGE.
  • Do the Quiz on TEAMS- you’ll need to score 9/10 or more so do some revision.
  • Let me know if you don’t have a CASIO 83 or 85 calculator.
  • ….and finally, ask any questions that you have or anything that you need to be explained in more detail.


April 2020


As part of your homework you should be either making sure you have your own set of revision notes or know where to find the answers to the statements in the compendium. Copying notes from the board is not good education, but you reviewing the information covered in class from the work books is a very effective revision tool.

June 2019 to Summer 2019

Here is the start of the National 5 Homework from June to the Summer.

It is EXPECTED and VITAL that if you miss any lesson, or do not finish the day’s work that you catch up the missed work, either from a friend or via MRSPHYSICS

No.WkDate dueTASK
10Wed 5th JuneFor complete the compendium and tick off all the work you’ve covered up to now in S1-S3. Use your jotters to help you.) Class task
1Monday 10th JuneComplete the ALL UNIT learning outcome questions.
22Wed 12th JuneRead the relevant sections in the waves booklet and complete Section 17.1 to end of section 17.5
32Wed 12th JuneRead the relevant sections in the waves booklet and answer Section 17.6 to start of section 18
43Monday 17th JuneRead the relevant sections in the waves booklet and answer Section 18 and 19
54Wed 19th JuneRead the relevant sections in the Space Booklet and answer Section 7.1- end of 7.8
65Mon 24th JuneRead the relevant sections in the Space Booklet and answer Section 7.8 to end of 7.13
76Wed 26th JuneRead the relevant sections in the Space Booklet and answer Section 8
WED 28th AUG
90Friday 6th SeptemberSPACE TEST

Explain this!

Here is an experiment

Various materials of the same mass (500g) are crushed, placed in a boil in the bag bag and placed in boiling water until they have reached equilibrium. They are they removed rapidly and placed into a beaker with a known volume of water and a known temperature. The highest temperature they reach is recorded.

Describe what will happen to the temperature of the beakers when the bags are placed in them.

Why are the bags left in the boiling water for a long time?

Why must you be quick moving the bags into the beakers of water at room temperature?

What would happen if water got trapped in the top of the bag when moving them?

Why are the materials crushed and not a solid lump?

Could this be used to find a value for the specific heat capacity? If so, how.

Summary Notes

I’ve found a producer of some succinct summary notes which I am updating and I’ll post here. I don’t seem to have a full set, but I’ll hunt them out.

Properties of Matter


Mrs N Hunter Summary Notes

I am extremely grateful to Nancy Hunter from Shetland for these great summary notes. She has kindly given permission for me to upload them here.

Hope they help. I am not removing the Anderson High School as that is where they were produced! Thanks for sharing.

I’m also very grateful to Mr L Mitchell from Belmont Academy for his Key Definitions. I’ve taken the six documents and made them into one document, hope they help. Thanks for sharing!

TopicWord/Term Definition
DAcceleration The change in velocity per unit time. It is a vector quantity and is given by the gradient of the line on a velocity-time graph.
DAverage Speed The total distance travelled by an object measured over the total time taken. The rate of covering a distance. It is measured in metres per second.
DBearing A three-digit number without a degree symbol that can be used to describe direction. It is measured from North (000) in a clockwise direction.
DDeceleration A negative acceleration which indicates that an object is slowing down. The SQA have said they will use the term negative acceleration instead of using deceleration.
DDisplacement The shortest distance between the starting point and finishing point of a journey, which takes into account the direction of travel of the object. The two points are connected with a straight line. It is a vector quantity and is given by the area under a velocity-time graph.
DDistance How far an object has travelled from the starting point to the finishing point of a journey, regardless of its direction. It is a scalar quantity.
DInstantaneous Speed The speed of an object at a particular moment in time. It is measured in metres per second. The time for the instantaneous speed must be very small
DMass The quantity of particles that make up an object. It is a scalar quantity and is measured in kilograms (kg).
DResultant Vector The final vector drawn from the starting point to the finishing point after adding two vectors.
DScalar A quantity that consists of a magnitude (size) only.
DSpeed The distance travelled per unit time. The rate of covering a distance. It is a scalar quantity.
DVector A quantity that consists of a magnitude (size) and direction.
DVelocity The displacement per unit time. It is a vector quantity.
DWeight The force due to gravity acting on an object. It is a vector quantity and is measured in newtons (N).
SAsteroid Objects orbiting the sun that do not fulfil planetary criteria.
SCelestial Body A natural object in the sky.
SDocking The joining together of spacecraft modules in orbit. It requires a very precise Hohmann transfer from one orbit to the target orbit.
SDwarf Planet An object that orbits a star and is similar to a planet but is not large enough to clear its orbital path of debris.
SExoplanet A planet outside of our solar system that orbits a star.
SGalaxy A cluster of gravitationally bound stars, gas and dust clouds.
SGeostationary Satellite A satellite that has a period of 24 hours and orbits the Earth’s equator at an altitude of 36 000 km. It remains above the same point on the Earth’s surface.
SGravity Assist Using the gravitational pull of a celestial body to gain or lose orbital velocity.
SGravitational field strengthWeight per unit mass. Weight per kilogram. (Nkg -1 )
SGravity Turn A spacecraft takes a slight turn when it reaches a certain altitude after a vertical launch. This minimises the effect of the gravitational pull of the body on the spacecraft, allowing it to reach a certain horizontal speed for its desired orbit.
SHohmann Transfer The movement of a spacecraft from one circular orbit to another by gaining or losing orbital velocity.
SIon Drive Ion thrusters accelerate ions in an electric field to generate thrust rather than burning fuel. They only require a small amount of fuel to do this.
SKepler’s 3 rd Law As the orbital radius increases, the orbital period also increases.
SMoon A natural object that orbits a planet.
SOrbital Period The time taken to go around the Sun in one full revolution, or the time taken for a moon to go once around a planet etc
SOrbital Radius The distance between the centre of an object and the centre of the body it is orbiting.
SPlanet An object that does not undergo nuclear fusion but orbits a star.
SSolar System A central star orbited by planets.
SStar A large ball of hot gases that is undergoing nuclear fusion and emitting electromagnetic radiation
SSun The star at the centre of our solar system.
SUniverse Consists of many galaxies separated by empty space.
EAlternating Current (A.C.) An electric current which constantly changes direction and it's magnitude (size).
EAmmeter A component used to measure the current in a circuit.
EBattery A collection of two or more cells.
EBulb/Lamp A component that converts electrical energy to light energy.
ECell A component used to power a circuit.
EDirect Current (D.C.) The flow of electrons or charge in one direction only. Current which only flows direction in the circuit.
EElectric Field A force field that surrounds any electric charge, causing a charge to experience a force.
EElectrical Current The electric charge transferred per second.
EMains Voltage The voltage supplied to any electrical device plugged into the mains. In the UK, this is 230 V.
ENon-Ohmic Conductor A component that does not obey Ohm’s law.
EOhm’s Law For a fixed temperature, the voltage across a conductor is directly proportional to the current passing through it.
EOhmic Conductor A component that obeys Ohm’s law.
EOhmmeter A device used to measure the resistance of a circuit component.
EParallel Circuit A circuit in which there is more than one path (branch) for the current to flow.
EPotential Difference (Voltage) The energy supplied to each coulomb of charge that passes through a power supply.
EResistance The opposition to a current or electron flow.
EResistor A component that opposes the flow of current.
ESeries Circuit A circuit in which all components are connected one after the other and there is only one path for the current to flow.
ESwitch A component that allows a circuit to be turned on/off.
EVariable Resistor A component that allows the flow of current in a circuit to be changed.
EVoltmeter A device used to measure the voltage across a circuit component.
PoMAbsolute Zero The temperature at which the pressure in a substance is zero. This occurs at -273 °C (or 0 K), where we assume that the average kinetic energy of the particles is zero.
PoMCondensing The process by which a gas changes state to a liquid.
PoMConduction The transfer of heat through a solid. Heat flows from a high temperature to a low temperature.
PoMConvection The transfer of heat from one place to another by the movement of fluids (liquids and gases).
PoMFreezing The process by which a liquid changes state to a solid.
PoMFusion (Melting) The process by which a solid changes state to a liquid.
PoMHeat A form of energy measured in joules (J). It is a measure of the total kinetic energy of the particles in an object.
PoMPressure The force per unit area.
PoMRadiation The transfer of heat by electromagnetic waves (infrared).
PoMSpecific Heat Capacity The amount of heat energy required to change the temperature of 1 kg of a substance by 1 °C.
PoMSpecific Latent Heat The amount of heat energy required to change the state of 1 kg of a substance without a change in temperature .
PoMSpecific Latent Heat of Fusion The energy required to change 1 kg of a solid into a liquid at its melting point without a change in temperature.
PoMSpecific Latent Heat of Vaporisation The energy required to change 1 kg of a liquid into a gas at its boiling point.
PoMTemperature Indicates how hot or cold an object is, measured in degrees Celsius (°C) or kelvin (K). It is a measure of the average kinetic energy of the particles in an object.
PoMVaporisation (Evaporating) The process by which a liquid changes state to a gas.
WAmplitude The maximum distance from the mean position on a wave. (The vertical distance from the axis to the top of the wave (crest) or axis to the bottom of the wave (trough). It is also half the vertical height of the wave.
WAngle of Incidence The angle measured between the incident ray and the normal.
WAngle of Refraction The angle measured between the refracted ray and the normal.
WCrest The top point (peak) of a wave.
WDiffraction The bending of waves through gaps or around obstacles.
WEletromagnetic Spectrum A group of all the types of electromagnetic radiation ordered in terms of their wavelength/frequency. All the waves travel at the speed of light (3 ´ 10 8 ms -1 )
WFrequency The number of waves produced or passing a point per second.
WLongitudinal Wave A longitudinal wave is one where the particles vibrate along the same direction as the wave.
WNormal A dashed line that is drawn perpendicular (at 90°) to any surface.
WPeriod The time taken for one wave to pass a point. It is also calculated from the inverse of the frequency.
WRefraction The change in speed of light as it passes from one medium to another (e.g. from air to glass).
WTransverse Wave A transverse wave is one where the particles move at right angles (90°) to the direction of travel of the wave.
WTrough The bottom point of a wave.
WWave speedThe distance travelled per second. It is also the frequency multiplied by the wavelength.
WWavelength The horizontal distance from one crest to the next crest, one trough to the next trough or one point on a wave to the same point on the next wave.
RAbsorbed Dose The energy absorbed by a material per unit mass.
RActivity The number of nuclear decays (or disintegrations) per second.
RAlpha Particle A particle made up of 2 protons and 2 neutrons. It is also the nucleus of a helium atom. It has a charge or +2 or 3.2 ´ 10 -19 C
RAtom An overall neutral particle consisting of a nucleus (protons and neutrons) and orbiting electrons. All matter is made up of atoms.
RBackground Radiation Radiation that is all around us and is caused by both natural and artificial sources, e.g. radon gas.
RBeta Particle A fast moving electron. It has a charge of -1. It forms in the nucleus when a neutron changes to a proton.
RElectron A negatively charged particle that orbits the nucleus of an atom. It has a charge of -1. or -1.6 ´ 10 -19 C
RFilm Badge An obsolete radiation detector worn by people who work with radioactive materials to monitor the radiation dose that they are exposed to. It uses different filters which blacken or ‘fog’ when radiation hits them.
RGamma Ray An electromagnetic wave of very high frequency and energy.
RGeiger-Muller Tube A radiation detector that uses the ionisation of gas in the tube to count the number of times radiation hits it.
RHalf LifeThe time taken for the activity/ corrected count rate(of a radioactive source)to half
RIonisation The addition or removal of an electron from a neutral atom.
RNeutron A particle with neutral charge that exists in the nucleus of an atom.
RNucleus The small, dense region containing protons and neutrons at the centre of an atom.
RProton A positively charged particle in the nucleus of an atom. It has a charge of +1. or +1.6 ´ 10 -19 C
RRadiation Weighting Factor An indicator of the relative biological effect of radiation on a material.
RScintillation Counter A radiation detector that counts the flashes of light produced when radiation hits the scintillating material.
RShielding The act of placing a material between a person and a radioactive source to absorb radiation.

Learning Outcome Questions.

At last I’ve completed the LOQ. I am sure I’ll find mistakes when I produce the answers. I will get those done a.s.a.p, but they take a lot longer to type up than write up.

When completing these questions there is no point in just going straight to the answers, it wont teach you anything. Use the answers after you’ve completed what you can do and had a good guess at what you can’t. Mark in green anything you’ve had to look up.


Complete book of outcome questions

Final version of the Learning Outcome Questions that are matched to the compendium

Individual Sections





Properties of Matter



This also contains some bonus material on problem solving questions. You’ll find these in every paper.

December 2019

Learning Outcome Answers

This contains the N5 Physics Self Assessment Answers for each unit. Revise with these or use as homework

There is absolutely no point in just copying out the answers. There is an important requirement in checking your answers carefully to ensure you haven’t made a mistake and that you’ve understood the course specifications and the learning outcomes.

Only check over the answer when you’ve completed a section and mark them in green pen.

Advice from the SQA

From the Understanding Standards Meeting I went to Physics teachers were advised to tell their students NOT to add in the rearranging line for their calculations. Just do the formula, substitution and final line. For some of you this will involve too many steps so you might want to cross out any middle lines. I’ve shown mine in these answers to hopefully give you more help as to how to get to the answer.

All Units (the maths bit)


Finally finished, but I’ll need to edit out the duplicates but I’ll do that with the updated booklet so the numbers match. (updated 22nd June 2020) Not sure when they will get done, it might be a 2021 version




Properties of Matter

20/12/19 finished

Radioactivity & Variables Questions

Finished 27/07/20

Please if you find mistakes in my answers please add a comment below.

I will now need to go through and make a 2021 booklet of questions and answers with the corrections. This is a long slow process! I hope you find them useful, then it will have all been worthwhile…… Now I need to start the Higher ones!

July 2020