Practical questions

You will complete 21 required practical activities if you are studying GCSE combined science: Synergy. 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.

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

Sample question 1 – Foundation

Question

Some students investigated the effect of the different concentrations of sugar in four drinks, A, B, C and D, on the movement of water across a partially permeable membrane.

The students:

  • made four bags from artificial partially permeable membrane
  • put equal volumes of 5% sugar solution in each bag
  • weighed each bag containing the sugar solution
  • placed one bag in each of the drinks, A, B, C and D
  • after 20 minutes removed the bags containing the sugar solution and weighted them again

The image shows how they set up the investigation.

Four bags of partially permeable membranes bags in a different concentrations of sugar solutions

The bag in drink A got heavier after 20 minutes.

Explain why. [3 marks]

Concentration (of sugar) in the bag was higher (than in the drink) or Higher concentration of water outside the bag or in the drink / boiling tube [1] (so) water moved in (to the tubing) [1] by osmosis [1].

Sample question 2 – Foundation

Question

A student investigated the cooling effect of evaporation.

She used the equipment (data logger and probe) shown in the image below to measure how the temperature of a liquid changed as the liquid evaporated.

The apparatus needed for an investigation in to the cooling effect of evaporation

Which type of variable was the temperature in this investigation?

[1 mark]

Tick one box.

Control
Dependent
Independent
Control
Dependent
Independent

Sample question 3 – Higher

Question

The image below shows a ripple tank used to model the behaviour of waves.

A plunger is used to generate wave fronts in shallow water

Some students investigate the properties of the waves generated.

Student A says 'the waves move water from one end of the tank to the other'.

Student B says 'that's wrong. Only the waves move, not the water.'

Suggest what the students could do to decide which of them is correct. [2 marks]

Place a floating object/plastic duck on the surface of the water [1].

It will stay in the same place or only bob up and down if the water does not move [1].

Sample question 4 – Higher

Question

A student investigated the cooling effect of evaporation.

She used the equipment in the image below to measure how the temperature of three different liquids changed as the liquids evaporated.

The apparatus needed for an investigation in to the cooling effect of evaporation for three liquids

The temperature and volume of each liquid was the same at the start of the investigation.

State one further control variable in this investigation. [1 mark]

Use one of the following:

  • Surface area [1]
  • Duration of experiment [1]