Magnetism and electromagnetism - 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 two marks.

Structured questions, with command words such as 'describe' or 'explain', will be worth two 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 three to five 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


a) i) Describe how induced magnets are different from permanent magnets. [2 marks]

ii) An un-magnetised iron bar is placed near a bar magnet.

A bar magnet in an angular 'U' sort of shape. The N and S poles are marked. There is a wire running through and round the magnet, with arrows indicating direction of current.

Here are five statements about the above diagram, only two are correct, which two? [2 marks]

  • The bar is not magnetised.
  • The magnet induces a N pole at the nearest end of the bar.
  • The iron bar and magnet attract each other.
  • Like poles face each other.
  • The magnet repels the iron bar.

b) How can we show that the Earth has a magnetic field? What instrument would you use? [3 marks]

Question courtesy of Eduqas.

a) i) An induced magnet is temporary. It is only magnetic when another magnetic field is present.


  • The magnet induces a N pole at the nearest end of the bar.
  • The iron bar and magnet attract each other.

b) A simple test is with a plotting compass. If no magnetic field existed then a magnetic compass would not point to any specific direction on Earth. But the compass needle would point to magnetic North in the Northern hemisphere and will point to the South Magnetic Pole in the Southern hemisphere.

Sample question 2 - Higher


The following diagram shows a bar magnet moving out of a coil of wire that is connected to a milliammeter. The meter registers a negative induced current.

The magnet moves out of the coil of wire and the ammeter registers negative current flow.

a) Describe what you would see on the meter when:

i) the S pole was moved into the coil. [1 mark]

ii) the N pole was moved out again but faster. [1 mark]

ii) the magnet remained stationary inside the coil. [1 mark]

b) A student then decides to move the magnet in and out of the coil continuously.

i) Describe the effect on the meter. [1 mark]

ii) What type of electrical current is this? [1 mark]

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

a) i) The meter would register a positive current/deflects to the other side.

ii) The meter would register a negative but stronger current/deflects to the other side more than before.

iii) No current.

b) i) The needle on the meter goes backwards and forwards from + to - continuously.

ii) An alternating current.