Structured questions

Simple recall questions are usually worth 1 mark. They are 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 2 marks.

Structured questions, with command words such as 'describe' or 'explain', will be worth 2 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 3 to 5 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, linked way.

Sample question 1 - Foundation


Three waves are shown below. All three waves were produced in the same time.

Trace one: peak heights half unit, peak to peak distance 1.5 units. Trace two: peak heights one unit, peak to peak distance 1.5 units. Trace three: peak heights one unit, peak to peak one unit.

a) Which wave has the smallest amplitude? [1 mark]

b) Which wave has the highest frequency? [1 mark]

c) In diagram 2, 10 waves were produced in 5 seconds, calculate the frequency of the wave. [2 marks]

d) Recall an equation to calculate the speed of the waves in diagram 2 if the wave has a wavelength of 20 cm. State the unit. [3 marks]

This question has been written by a Bitesize consultant as a suggestion to the type of questions that may appear in an exam paper.

a) 1 [1]

b) 3 [1]

c) 10 ÷ 5 [1]

= 2 Hz [1]

d) v  =   f  \times  \lambda =  2  \times  20 [2]

=  40~cm/s [1]