Get the most from your friendly calculator

This helpsheet is on the front page in the general resources but I forgot, so I’ll repost it here so that those who are looking for it get a double chance. ENJOY

Your calculator can go in to all Physics exams unless it is one that isn’t allowed. Here are the two most common calculators and how to set them up. Learning these tips will give you the edge in the exam.

No programmable calculators are allowed in the Physics Exam!

November 2023
November 2023

Past Papers for National 5 Physics

Please read the course report after completing the paper and marking it according to the General Marking Principles.

N5 PapersYearMarking
Digital QP
tagging xls2014-
tagging pdfSkills Tagging
N5 Q3-8

N5 S1 2024

N5 S2 2024

20232023 MI

20222022 MI2022Report2022S1DQP
20212021 MI2021 QP evidence
2019QP20192019 MI2019Report2019DQP

20182018 MI2018Report2018 DQP


2017QP20172017 MI2017Report2017 DQP
2016QP20162016 MI2016Report2016 DQP
2015QP20152015 MI2015Report2015 S1 DQP
2015 S2 DQP
2014QP20142014 MI2014Report2014 DQP
QP & MISpecimenQP & MI

This is the legendary file from Mr Davie, with all the past paper questions matched to the topics.

I’ve just found this file, to give you some additional access to other questions to practice. Here some of the topics have got questions from SG, Int 2 and H questions.

Dynamics 2021

A couple of songs to start this unit. I think we should start all topics with a song.

I can’t condone where this guy is putting his hands!

Most up-to-date notes,

covering all outcomes

This is the updated version of the Dynamics booklet, updated to match the 2017 SQA changes.

The latest version February 2020

Dynamics Summary Notes

Now these appear to be called “Knowledge Organisers!” Who thinks up these fancy names?

This one is a joint effort by Miss Horn and Mrs Physics with formatting help from Mr Risbridger.

These are perfect Mind Maps by Ms Milner, thanks these are the best out!

From A Milner, these are so comprehensive

Other mind maps by Melanie Ehsan, with thanks to eSgoil (who provide lots of online materials), the first of a collection of mindmaps.

Scalars and Vectors

Speed, Velocity, Acceleration

Velocity time graphs

Newton’s Laws of Motion

With a little help from the IoP here is my updated Newton’s 3 Laws. I hope you can understand it. I’m quite scared to share it with you! The pdf will miss some detail as I’ve overlapped some images.




A mixture of some notes not yet tidied up!

Here are some practice questions with worked answers and 6 to a page diagram of the sky diving graph

29th December 2021

Mrs Physics

29th December 2021

Waves Resources

Let’s start with a song!

and I’ve downloaded the lyrics and made them into a songsheet for you. Hope Jonny doesn’t charge me for copyright!

and if you like that one, then this is Physics legend

this has got lots more information on the EM Spectrum

2018 Wave Notes as produced by Miss Horn

Wave notes pdf

Wave notes word

Waves Summary Notes

These are waves summary notes I’ve produced. Hope you like them. I’d appreciate someone telling me if a photodiode can detect gamma radiation!

Revision Mind Map

This is part of a series of brilliant Mind Maps made by Miss Milner for the N5 Physics Course. I’ve broken it up into sections so here are the waves mind maps!

Here are a list of current wave resources. I will add more as I go through them. Thanks to other schools if you have kindly supplied material. I really appreciate it as do my students.

Reflection is not in the N5 Course, but it is good to know about reflection!

This is a pdf of the power point that I a using

waves-summary-notes-gairloch1 Some of these notes are for National 4, use with the content statements so you don’t spend too long learning the National 4 work.

vflambda-vdt This starts with a practical model that you can complete in class using the Virtual Physics/ Flash Learning. It then shows how v=fλ is equivalent to v=d/t. Finally some questions will let you practise what you know.

WAVES questions word WAVES questions pdf


Januarty 2021

Wordwall Revision Games

Practice your Physics using these Wordwalls, don’t forget this forms only PART of your revision.

Sorry I don’t know why some of these wont embed, I’ve had to post them as links. I hope you can still get to play.

Continue reading “Wordwall Revision Games”

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!

Here’s the video

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

Thanks to Miss Horn who started these off

click on the image for the pdf Summary Sheet for Radiation

Radiation Mind Map- only print page 1 and 2. If anyone knows how to delete p3 I’d be grateful for a helping hand.

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.

To give you an idea of the radiation dose that would occur with radiotherapy, here is my mum’s dose. I know that she’d have been happy to share this with you as a learning experience. I really miss you mum x

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 October 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.

Space Learning Outcome Questions

Final Space Learning Outcomes.

Sept 2020