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Posted by BitesizePhysicsTeacher (U15165682) on Thursday, 28th March 2013
Lots of students struggle with these types of question because they don't quite know where to start, and aren't sure how much they need to say.
It's not a hard and fast rule, but generally it pays to think in terms of half marks - i.e. a 1 mark question has two half marks, so two point that need to be made, a 2 mark question has four things to be said.
If you start by including the conditions given in the question, then ask yourself "what next?", possibly a few times, while aiming to get to the answer. It is often necessary to mention other quantities which might have an effect, even if they do not change.
Example Question -
In a circuit containing a 6V battery, a capacitor and a resistor in series, it takes 5 seconds for the capacitor to fully charge.
Describe and explain the effect of increasing the resistance of the resistor. The capacitor and battery are unchanged.
Model answer -
Time taken to charge will increase [1/2 mark]
Increasing resistance reduces the current [1/2 mark]
Smaller current means capacitor charges more slowly [1/2 mark]
Time to charge capacitor increases [1/2 mark]