Practical questions

You will complete eight required core practical activities if you are studying GCSE Chemistry, and 18 if you are studying GCSE Combined Science (five of these are in Chemistry).

You could be asked questions about the apparatus, methods, safety precautions, results, analysis and evaluation of these experiments.

There are no core practical activities in the Extracting metals and equilibria section.

Sample question 1 - Foundation

Question

A student carries out some experiments to investigate metal displacement reactions.

The student adds some metals to solutions of their salts, and observes whether a reaction occurs.

The table shows the results.

Salt solutionSalt solutionSalt solution
MetalMagnesium sulfateZinc sulfateCopper sulfate
Magnesium[Not done]Reaction occursReaction occurs
ZincNo reaction[Not done]Reaction occurs
CopperNo reactionReaction occurs[Not done]

Give a reason why:

a) three experiments were not done [1 mark]

b) there was no reaction in three experiments [1 mark]

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

a) A metal cannot displace itself. [1]

b) A less reactive metal cannot displace a more reactive metal. [1]

Sample question 2 - Foundation

Question

A student carries out some experiments to investigate metal displacement reactions.

The student adds some metals to solutions of their salts, and observes whether a reaction occurs.

The table shows the results.

MetalX sulfateY sulfateZ sulfate
X[Not done]No reactionNo reaction
YReaction occurs[Not done]Reaction occurs
ZReaction occursNo reaction[Not done]

Use these results to deduce the order of reactivity of the three metals, starting with the most reactive. [1 mark]

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

Y > Z > X [1]

Sample question 3 - Higher

Question

A student carried out an experiment to see how reactive different metals are when they are placed in dilute hydrochloric acid. A sample of each metal was placed in a separate test tube of acid.

In the experiment, the student used the same amount of each metal in a finely powdered form.

State two factors, concerning the hydrochloric acid, which should also be controlled to produce valid results. [2 marks]

Edexcel question courtesy of Pearson Education Ltd.

Any two of the following points:

  • use the same volume of acid
  • use the same concentration of acid
  • use the same temperature of acid

[2]

Sample question 4 - Higher

Question

Iron[III] ions react with thiocyanate ions to produce an ion that is deep red in solution:

Fe3+(aq) + SCN-(aq) ⇌ FeSCN2+(aq)

Fe3+(aq) is pale yellow, SCN-(aq) is colourless and FeSCN2+(aq) is red.

The mixture reaches equilibrium in a test tube, and appears orange. A student investigates this equilibrium. The student adds a few drops of potassium thiocyanate solution, a source of SCN- ions.

Predict what the student will see, and justify your answer. [2 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 mixture will turn red/darker [1]
  • the position of equilibrium moves to the right [1]