Energy - Short answer questions

Some short answer questions will be multiple choice questions. These will appear in both exam papers, and at both tiers. Multiple choice questions are asked as questions, often starting with 'What is …' or 'Which of these …'.

You have four options to choose from in a multiple choice question. You must only choose one of these options, by writing your answer (A, B, C, or D) in a box.

It may help to reject any answers that you feel are obviously wrong so that you can focus on choosing the right answer.

Other short answer questions will start with command words such as 'describe' or 'explain'. Some command words are easy to understand such as:

  • 'calculate' or 'determine' for maths questions
  • 'complete' to fill in a gap in a table or graph
  • 'define' to give the meaning of an important word
  • 'suggest' where you use your knowledge in an unfamiliar situation

The command words 'describe' and 'explain' can be confusing. If you are asked to describe a graph, you will be expected to write about its overall shape, whether it is linear or curved, the slope of gradients etc. If you are asked to explain why a pattern or trend is seen in a graph, you will be expected to use your science knowledge, not just say what you see (which is a description), eg 'The graph shows a steep linear increase for the first three hours because…'.

'Explain how' and 'why' questions often have the word 'because' in their answer. 'Describe' questions don't.

The number of marks per question part is given in this form '[2 marks]'. It is essential that you give two different answers if a question is worth two marks. Sometimes you can gain a second mark by giving the units in a calculation or stating specific data points, eg 'The speed of the object decreased by 8 m/s.'

These questions have been written by Bitesize consultants as suggestions to the types of questions that may appear in an exam paper.

Sample question 1 - Foundation


No device is 100% efficient. Circle the correct type of non-useful energy that is dissipated in each example below:

a) A filament light bulb [1 mark]


b) A hair dryer [1 mark]


a) Heat [1]

b) Sound [1]

Sample question 2 - Foundation


Name two types of renewable energy that can be used to generate electricity without using heat. [2 marks]

Any two from:

  • wind
  • solar
  • tidal
  • hydro
  • wave


Sample question 3 - Higher


Circle the correct answer in each case. Recall the equations you have used before.

a) The kinetic energy of a 500 kg car moving at 20 m/s is: [1 mark]

1,000 J100,000 J10,000 J

b) The work done by force of 35 N moving a toy car a distance of 2.5 m is: [1 mark]

87.5 J32.5 J14 J

a) 100,000 J [1]

b) 87.5 J [1]

Sample question 4 - Higher


a) Underline the correct definition of power. [1 mark]

rate at which energy is transferredrate at which charge flowstime ÷ work

b) Recall two equations you have used before to calculate the power of a crane, which lifts a 100 N load through a height of 6 m in a time of 5 seconds. [1 mark]

a) rate at which energy is transferred [1]

b) 120 W [1]