Practical questions

You will complete twelve Specified Practical Activities if you are studying GCSE Physics. You could be asked questions about the apparatus, methods, safety precautions, results, analysis and evaluation of these experiments.

Sample question 1 - Foundation


A pupil wants to perform an experiment to compare the densities of oil and water. Oil floats on water.

The pupil used a measuring cylinder that has a mass of 74 g and an electronic balance that measures to the nearest gram (g).

  1. she places the empty measuring cylinder on to the balance
  2. she places the measuring cylinder containing some oil on to the balance
  3. some water was then added to the cylinder

The liquid levels in the measuring cylinder are shown below:

Three measuring cylinders on scales, the mass is given.  The third image has water and oil in the cylinder. There's a close up of the measurement on the cylinders,

a) Use the diagrams to complete the table below. [3 marks]

Volume (cm³)Mass (g)

b) Use the data above and an equation you recall to calculate the density of oil and give its unit in this experiment. [3 marks]

Question courtesy of Eduqas.


Volume (cm³)Mass (g)

102 - 74 = 28 [1]

water level in third diagram = 50 [1]

152 - 102 = 50 [1]

(b) Density of oil = mass ÷ volume [1]

= 28 ÷ 35 = 0.8 [1]

Correct unit of g/cm3 given [1]