Data response questions

Do not forget to take a ruler and calculator into the exam.

Maths questions often start with the command words like 'Calculate', 'Determine', 'Estimate' and 'Measure'. They will then include blank space for you to show your working.

When an answer to a maths question is marked:

  • full marks are given for the right answer (but it is wise to show your working so you can check your answer)
  • marks are given for working, including substitution and rearrangement
  • errors carried forward are taken into account

Errors carried forward are related to what happens if a later answer depends on an earlier answer, and you get the earlier one wrong. You could still get full marks in the later answer if your working is correct but you use the incorrect earlier answer.

If your answer has many decimal places or figures, make sure you give it to an appropriate number of decimal places or significant figures. You may be asked to give units. This may earn you an additional mark, so do not forget to check whether you need to do this.

Some maths questions might ask you to plot or complete a graph or table. When you draw a graph, make sure you:

  • plot each point accurately
  • draw a best-fit straight line or curve

You may be given a grid with axes and scales already given. Sometimes you may be given an empty grid for you to supply your own axes. When you do this:

  • put the independent variable on the x-axis and the dependent variable on the y-axis
  • make sensible scales so that the plotted points cover at least 50% of the area of the graph
  • label the axes with their quantity and unit, eg time (s)

Questions courtesy of Eduqas.

Sample question 1 - Foundation


Four competitors in a weightlifting competition have to lift a weight above their heads.

Their best lifts are displayed in the table below:

WeightlifterMass lifted (kg)Force (N)Distance lifted (m)Work done (J)

a) Complete the table. [2 marks]

b) Weightlifter D is the winner of the competition as he has lifted the largest mass.

Using the information from the table explain why he does the least amount of work. [1 mark]


WeightlifterMass lifted (kg)Force (N)Distance lifted (m)Work done (J)
B72720 [1]2.31656
C747402.41776 [1]

b) Smallest distance lifted compared to the other weightlifters [1]

Relevant work done = force × distance

Weightlifter D has the lowest product of force and distance [1]

Sample question 2 - Higher


A skydiver falls vertically.

She is acted upon by two forces.

a) The table gives some information about the force on the skydiver during her fall.

SpeedWeightAir resistanceResultant force

i) Complete the table. [3 marks]

ii) Use the information in the table to plot a graph of resultant force against speed and draw a suitable line. [3 marks]

b) i) State the value of the skydiver’s speed when she is no longer accelerating. [2 marks]

ii) The skydiver estimated that the air resistance is over 550 N at 25 m/s.

Use the graph to calculate the air resistance and explain if she is correct.

a) i) 700 in both cells in the weight column [1]

700 in bottom cell in air resistance column [1]

ii) All 5 points plotted correctly award 2 marks

4 points plotted correctly award 1 mark only

Good curve of best fit consistent with the data [1]

b) i) 50 m/s

ii) Resultant force = 120 (N) from graph [1]

Air resistance = 700 – 120 = 580 (N)

580 (N) is just over 550 (N) and is therefore consistent with skydiver’s estimate. [1]

Both 580 (N) and explanation required to earn second mark.