Practical questions

You will complete ten required practical activities if you are studying GCSE Biology and twenty-one if you are studying GCSE Combined Science. You could be asked questions about the methods, safety precautions you might take, results and conclusions of these experiments.

In this Ecology section thereis one core practical activity:

  • Core practical : Measure the population size of a common species in a habitat. Use sampling techniques to investigate the effect of a factor on the distribution of this species.

Edexcel questions courtesy of Pearson Education Ltd.

Sample question 1 - Foundation


Describe how a student could use a calculated mean to estimate the total number of daisy plants in a field. [2 marks]

  • divide the field area by the quadrat size [1]
  • multiply by the mean number of daisies [1]

Sample question 2 - Higher


Leguminous plants have nodules on their roots that have colonies of nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

Clover is a leguminous plant.

Describe how a quadrat could be used to sample the population of clover in a 500m2 field. [3 marks]

To receive full marks, you must include the following points:

  • a description of the use of a quadrat either by random sampling or using a belt transect [1]
  • a sample size 10-100 and count the number of clover plants in each quadrat [1]
  • multiplication factor dependent on the number of quadrats sampled [1]