Data response questions

Do not forget to take a ruler and calculator into the exam.

Maths questions often start with the command words like 'calculate', 'determine', 'estimate' and 'measure'. They will then include a blank space for you to show your working.

When an answer to a maths question is marked:

  • full marks are given for the right answer (but it is wise to show your working so you can check your answer)
  • marks are given for working, including substitution and rearrangement
  • errors carried forward are taken into account

Errors carried forward is related to what happens if a later answer depends on an earlier answer, and you get the earlier one wrong. You could still get full marks in the later answer if your working is correct but you use the incorrect earlier answer.

If your answer has many decimal places or figures, make sure you give it to an appropriate number of decimal places or significant figures. You may be asked to give units. This may earn you an additional mark, so do not forget to check whether you need to do this.

Some maths questions might ask you to plot or complete a graph or table. When you draw a graph, make sure you:

  • plot each point accurately
  • draw a best-fit straight line or curve

You may be given a grid with axes and scales already given. Sometimes you may be given an empty grid for you to supply your own axes. When you do this:

  • put the independent variable on the x-axis and the dependent variable on the y-axis
  • make sensible scales so that the plotted points cover at least 50% of the area of the graph
  • label the axes with their quantity and unit, eg time (s)

Sample question 1 - Foundation


A fixed mass of gas is kept at a constant volume in a sealed container. The container is heated and the pressure at different temperatures is recorded in the table below.

Temperature (K)Pressure (N/cm2)

a) Plot the pressure of the gas against its temperature on the grid below and join the points with a suitable straight line. [3 marks]

b) Use your graph to find the pressure of the gas at 0 K. [1 mark]

c) Describe the relationship between the pressure of the gas and its temperature as shown by the graph. [2 marks]

Question courtesy of Eduqas.

a) Plots [2] no tolerance.

Straight line joining plotted points [1] +/- ½ small square tolerance

b) Show the line extending back to the origin [1]

c) Pressure increases with temperature / positive correlation [1] in a uniform way [1]


They are directly proportional [1]