Structured questions

This is the most common question on exam papers, although the number of marks for each question may vary.

At its simplest, this type of question will ask you to remember a simple fact that you have been taught. This type of question is likely to be worth one mark, and will often start with 'Give...', 'State...' or 'Name..'. In some cases, a question may ask you to state two things, rather than just one, and will be worth 2 marks.

Other structured questions may be worth two or more marks. These will often start with a command word such as 'Describe...' or 'Explain...', and will require a more detailed answer:

  • if you are asked to describe something, you need to give an account but no reason
  • if you are asked to explain something, you must give reasons or explanations

More complex structured questions will be worth three or four marks. They include questions with complex descriptions and explanations, questions in which you need to compare and contrast two different things, or calculations with several stages.

The mark schemes given here may show answers as bullet points. This is to show clearly how a mark can be obtained. However, it is important that your answer is written in a logical, linked way. Examiners will not credit a key word if it is used out of context, or if your answer contradicts itself.

Questions courtesy of Eduqas.

Sample question 1 - Foundation


Describe how an indicator could be used to find the exact volume of acid needed to neutralise 25 cm3 of sodium hydroxide solution. [3 marks]

  • add indicator to sodium hydroxide solution/solution in a conical flask [1]
  • add acid slowly (from burette) [1]
  • indicator changes colour sharply at point of neutralisation [1]

Sample question 2 - Foundation


Milk of magnesia is used to treat indigestion.

It contains magnesium hydroxide which reacts with excess hydrochloric acid in the stomach.

a) Complete the following word equation to show the products formed.

Magnesium hydroxide + hydrochloric acid → ______ + ______.

[2 marks]

b) Another indigestion remedy contains calcium carbonate.

Name the gas produced when calcium carbonate reacts with hydrochloric acid and state how this gas can be identified. [2 marks]

a) Magnesium chloride [1] + water [1]

b) Carbon dioxide [1] + turns limewater milky [1]

Sample question 3 - Higher


Sulfuric acid is a strong acid

What is meant by a strong acid? [2 marks]

The acid is fully ionised/all the molecules are dissociated [1]

This happens in aqueous solution/when dissolved in water [1]

Sample question 4 - Higher


When sodium hydroxide reacts with sulfuric acid a solution of sodium sulfate is produced.

a) Give the formula of sodium sulfate. [1 mark]

b) Describe how crystals of sodium sulfate can be obtained from a solution of sodium sulfate. [2 marks]

a) Na2SO4 [1]

b) heat until half volume/remove some water [1]

leave to form crystals [1]