Practical questions

You will complete 21 required practical activities if you are studying GCSE combined science: Trilogy. You could be asked questions about the apparatus, methods, safety precautions, results, analysis and evaluation of these experiments.

There will be a number of different types of practical based questions. Some will be on the set required practicals, some will cover the working scientifically terms and some will be on other science practicals which you might have done in class. Use all the information given in the question particularly any diagrams to help you understand what the question is about.

In this Homeostasis and response section there are two required practical activities:

  1. Required Practical Activity 7: Plan and carry out an investigation into the effect of a factor on human reaction time.
  2. Required practical activity 8 (biology only): Investigate the effect of light or gravity on the growth of newly germinated seedlings.

This page contains AQA material which is reproduced by permission of AQA.

Sample question 1

Two students investigated reflex action times.

This is the method used.

  • Student A sits with his elbow resting on the edge of a table.
  • Student B holds a ruler with the bottom of the ruler level with the thumb of Student A.
  • Student B drops the ruler.
  • Student A catches the ruler and records the distance.
  • Steps 1 to 4 are then repeated.

The same method was also used with Student A dropping the ruler and Student B catching the ruler.

The table shows the students' results.

Test numberStudent AStudent B
19 cm12 cm
22 cm13 cm
36 cm13 cm
47 cm9 cm
57 cm8 cm
Mean7 cmX
Question

Circle the anomalous result in the table for Student A. [1 mark]

2 cm in test number 2

Question

What is the median result for Student B? [1 mark]

Tick one box.

8 cm
11 cm
12 cm
13 cm
8 cm
11 cm
12 cm
13 cm
Question

Calculate the value of X from the table in Student B's column. [1 mark]

Mean distance ruler dropped =

\frac{(12+13+13+9+8)}{5} = 11

Question

What improvement could the students make to the method so the results are more valid? [1 mark]

Tick one box.

Use alternate hands when catching the ruler
Carry out more repeats
Use a longer ruler for catching
Use more than two students to collect results
Use alternate hands when catching the ruler
Carry out more repeats
Use a longer ruler for catching
Use more than two students to collect results

Sample question 2 - Foundation

Question

Describe how you could adjust this method to show the effect of stimulants in reaction times. [2 marks]

Two from:

  • Person A and B both drink a caffeinated drink after they have measured their reaction times.
  • Wait a few minutes for the caffeine to have an effect on the nervous system.
  • Repeat the experiment and compare the results.

Sample question 3 – Foundation

Question

This table shows how catch distances (centimetres) on the ruler drop test and reaction times (milliseconds) are related.

Catch distance (cm)Reaction time (ms)
150
590
10140
15170
20200
25230
30250

Draw a graph of catch distance against reaction time. [5 marks]

  • Line graph not bar chart.
  • Correctly plotted points (two marks).
  • Catch distance on x axis and reaction time on y axis.
  • Suitable linear scales both starting at zero.
  • Labelled axes with titles and units.