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 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 manner, the points are linked to each other, and are relevant to the question.

Sample question 1 - Foundation

Question

Chlorine reacts with hydrogen to form hydrogen chloride:

H2(g) + Cl2(g) → 2HCl(g)

State the type of solution formed when hydrogen chloride dissolves in water. [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.

Acidic [1]

Sample question 2 - Foundation

Question

State, in terms of the electrons in their atoms, what the atoms of lithium, sodium and potassium have in common. [1 mark]

Edexcel question courtesy of Pearson Education Ltd.

They all have the same number of electrons in their outer shell/all have one electron in their outer shell. [1]

Sample question 3 - Higher

Question

The electronic configurations of sodium and potassium are:

  • sodium 2.8.1
  • potassium 2.8.8.1

When sodium and potassium react with water they form positive ions.

Explain why, in terms of their electronic configurations, potassium is more reactive than sodium. [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.

  • in potassium the outermost electron is further away from the nucleus [1]
  • so less attraction between nucleus and electron/the electron is easier to remove [1]

Sample question 4 - Higher

Question

When iron wool is heated in bromine vapour, iron bromide is produced.

Bromide ions are formed in the reaction.

Explain the type of reaction bromine atoms undergo when they are converted to bromide ions. [2 marks]

Edexcel question courtesy of Pearson Education Ltd.

  • bromine atoms are reduced [1]
  • because electrons are gained to form bromide ions [1]