Maths questions

Maths questions often start with the command words 'calculate' or 'determine'. They will then have a blank space for you to show your working. It is important that you show your working, don't just write the answer down. You might earn marks for your working even if you get the answer incorrect.

Some maths questions might ask you to 'show that' something is true. These questions often require you to prove something mathematically. For example, you might have to calculate two values and then compare them.

In some maths questions you will be required to give the units. This may earn you an additional mark. Don't forget to check whether you need to do this.

Maths questions might include graphs and tables as well as calculations. Don't forget to take a ruler and calculator.

If drawing graphs, make sure you:

  1. put the independent variable on the x-axis and the dependent variable on the y-axis.
  2. construct regular scales for the axes
  3. label the axes appropriately
  4. plot each point accurately
  5. draw a straight or curved line of best fit (you can use a special best fit line ruler to help with this)

If you are asked to calculate an answer and it has lots of significant figures, you should try to round it to the same number of significant figures you were given in the data in the question. Don't forget to check your rounding.

Edexcel questions courtesy of Pearson Education Ltd.

Sample question 1 - Foundation and Higher


A woman pulls a suitcase for 80 m along a horizontal path. The mass of the woman and the suitcase is 85 kg. The woman does 1,200 J of work on the suitcase as she pulls the suitcase along. She walks with an average velocity of 1.5 m/s.

Calculate the kinetic energy of the woman and the suitcase. [2 marks]

Calculate KE = \frac{1}{2}mv^2

= \frac{1}{2} \times 85 \times 1.5^2 [1]

Kinetic energy = 96 J [1]

Recall the equation for kinetic energy and substitute in the mass and velocity of the woman and suitcase.

Sample question 2 - Foundation and Higher


A man lifts his suitcase. The increase in gravitational potential energy of the suitcase is 264 J. The mass of the suitcase is 12 kg.

Calculate the vertical height the suitcase is raised (gravitational field strength, g = 10 N/kg). [3 marks]

\Delta h = \frac{\Delta GPE}{mg} [1]

= \frac{264}{12 \times 10} [1]

Vertical height = 2.2 m [1]

Recall the equation for gravitational potential energy. Rearrange to make \Delta h the subject and substitute in the energy, mass and gravitational field strength.

Sample question 3 - Foundation and Higher


The International Space Station (ISS) has several solar panels called wings. In one second, the useful energy available from one wing is 34.3 kJ. The energy incident on the wing from the Sun is five times this amount.

What is the percentage efficiency of the wing? [2 marks]

efficiency = \frac{useful~energy~transferred}{total~energy~supplied}

= \frac{34.3}{5 \times 34.3} [1]

Efficiency = 0.2 [1]

Recall the equation for efficiency and substitute in the numbers given in the question.