Electricity - Section B - Structured questions

Simple recall questions are usually worth one mark. They often have command words like Give, State, Name or Identify. Some questions may ask you to state two things, rather than just one, and will be worth two marks.

Structured questions, with command words such as Describe or Explain, will be worth two or more marks:

  • 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 to five 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.

Sample question 1 - Foundation


Patrick walks on a nylon carpet. Patrick becomes charged. Then he receives an electric shock.

Describe how Patrick can become charged, and suggest how he receives an electric shock. [2 marks]

OCR Gateway Science, GCE Physics, Paper B752, June 2015.

He gains charge from the carpet. There is friction between carpet and feet. The carpet and shoes are insulators. He either gains or loses electrons.

When he touches another person or something metal he is earthed/discharged.

Sample question 2 - Foundation


A dimmer switch can be used to control the brightness of a light in a room. One type of dimmer switch contains a variable resistor.

Describe how the variable resistor in this type of switch can reduce the brightness of the light. [2 marks]

OCR Gateway Science, GCE Physics, Paper B752, June 2013.

Turning the switch increases the resistance.

Increased resistance decreases the current.

Sample question 3 - Higher


A thermistor is a circuit component. Explain how a thermistor can be used to control the current in a circuit. [3 marks]

This question has been written by a Bitesize consultant as a suggestion to the type of question that may appear in an exam paper.

The resistance of the thermistor changes with temperature.

The higher the temperature the lower resistance.

If the temperature increases, the resistance decreases and the current increases.