Three and four mark questions

These are similar to one and two mark questions but you will be expected to write in more depth for three and four mark questions.

Three and four mark questions usually require longer answers.

Edexcel questions courtesy of Pearson Education Ltd.

Sample question 1 - Foundation and Higher


The figure shows the structure of an oxygen-14 atom:

A graphic showing the structure of an oxygen 14 atom. There is a nucleus of neutrons and protons in the centre, with electrons in formation on the outside.

Complete the four labels on the figure. [4 marks]

In the oxygen nucleus there are always 8 protons. There are 8 green particles so these are the protons [1]. The six grey particles must be the neutrons [1].

Sample question 2 - Higher


Iodine-131 emits beta particles and gamma rays.

A patient is only given a small dose of iodine-131 during treatment.

Hospital staff who administer this treatment to a lot of patients are potentially exposed to greater risk.

Explain the dangers to hospital staff and state one safety precaution taken. [3 marks]

An explanation linking any two of:

  • gamma rays are highly penetrating
  • cause DNA/cells to mutate/kill cells/cause cancer
  • if subjected to repeated exposure


Safety - any one from:

  • warning signs
  • restricted access
  • shielding
  • do not touch
  • relevant protective clothing
  • monitor dose


Sample question 3 - Foundation and Higher


Cobalt-60 is radioactive.

It emits beta radiation and gamma radiation.

Describe the differences between beta radiation and gamma radiation. [3 marks]

A description including any three of the following points:

  • beta (radiation) is electron(s)
  • beta has mass
  • beta has (negative) charge
  • beta is a better ioniser
  • beta is less penetrating
  • gamma radiation is electromagnetic
  • wave
  • gamma travels at a speed of light
  • gamma is just energy