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.

Sample question 1 - Foundation

Question

Jackets can be made from either cotton or polyester.

The table below gives data for the complete life cycle assessment of jackets made from cotton and polyester.

Use this information to answer the following question.

Give one advantage and one disadvantage of using cotton rather than polyester to make jackets. [2 marks]

FactorPolyester per kgCotton per kg
energy used (MJ)171.3140.1
fuel (oil or gas) used (kg)1.530
fertiliser used (kg)0467
emissions:carbon dioxide (kg)3.85.3
emissions:sulfur dioxide (g)0.24.0
water used (dm3)190026,700

Question courtesy of Eduqas.

Advantage: cotton less energy used/less fuel with cotton [1]

Disadvantage: fertiliser used for cotton/more emissions (of carbon dioxide/sulfur dioxide)/more water used [1]

Sample question 2 - Foundation

Question

Glass can be made from its raw materials - sand, limestone and sodium carbonate.

Glass can also be obtained by recycling used glass objects.

Suggest three advantages of making a glass bottle from recycled glass compared to making it from glass that has been made from its raw materials. [3 marks]

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

Recycling does not use up raw materials [1]

Recycling requires less energy [1]

If glass objects are recycled then they do not go to landfill sites [1]

Sample question 3 - Higher

Question

Polyester is made from compounds formed from crude oil. Cotton is grown from plants.

The table below gives data for the complete life cycle assessment of jackets made from cotton and polyester.

Jacqueline claims that making jackets from cotton rather than polyester is better for the environment because cotton comes from plants.

Use information from the table to discuss whether Jacqueline’s claim is correct. [4 marks]

FactorPolyester per kgCotton per kg
energy used (MJ)171.3140.1
fuel (oil or gas) used (kg)1.530
fertiliser used (kg)0467
sulfur dioxide emissions (kg)0.24.0

Question courtesy of Eduqas.

Marks awarded for discussion:

Cotton

  • requires fertilisers to produce it
  • gives emissions of sulfur dioxide (polyesters do not)

Both are required to get [1]

Negative environmental impact of one of these e.g. sulfur dioxide linked to acid rain [1]

However less energy and fuel is used with cotton [1]

Environmental benefit of this observation e.g. less use of crude oil reducing pollution risk [1]

Sample question 4 - Higher

Question

A company carries out a life-cycle assessment (LCA) for a carpet.

The carpet is made from polypropene.

Polypropene is made from substances obtained from crude oil.

a) Complete the empty boxes in the table below by giving one example of an activity that occurs at each stage of the LCA. The first one has been done for you.

[3 marks]

Staging in LCAActivity
Obtaining and processing the raw materialsMake polypropene from crude oil
Making the product
Using and maintaining the product
Disposing of the product

b) Suggest one advantage of making a carpet from wool, not polypropene. Wool is obtained from sheep. [1 mark]

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

a)

Staging in LCAActivity
Obtaining and processing the raw materialsMake polypropene from crude oil
Making the product Making polypropene threads or weaving/knotting the polypropene threads [1]
Using and maintaining the productWalking/sitting on the carpet or cleaning the carpet [1]
Disposing of the productTaking the carpet to a tip/ dump [1]

b) Wool is renewable, but the oil from which polypropene is made is not renewable [1]