Maths questions

Maths questions often start with the command words 'calculate' or 'determine'. They will then have a blank space for you to show your working. It is important that you show your working, don't just write the answer down. You might earn marks for your working even if you get the answer incorrect.

Some maths questions might ask you to 'show that' something is true. These questions often require you to prove something mathematically. For example, you might have to calculate two values and then compare them.

In some maths questions you will be required to give the units. This may earn you an additional mark. Don't forget to check whether you need to do this.

Maths questions might include graphs and tables as well as calculations. Don't forget to take a ruler and calculator.

If drawing graphs, make sure you:

  1. put the independent variable on the x-axis and the dependent variable on the y-axis
  2. construct regular scales for the axes
  3. label the axes appropriately
  4. plot each point accurately
  5. draw a straight or curved line of best fit (you can use a special best fit line ruler to help with this)

If you are asked to calculate an answer and it has lots of significant figures, you should try to round it to the same number of significant figures you were given in the data in the question. Don't forget to check your rounding.

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

Sample question 1 - Foundation and Higher


A student investigates the extension of the spring using six different weights.

The results are shown in the table.

Weight (N)Extension (mm)

The spring constant for the spring is 50 N/m. Calculate the energy stored in the spring when the weight is 1 N. [3 marks]

E = \frac{1}{2}kx^2 [1]

E = \frac{1}{2} \times 50 \times 0.02^2 [1]

Energy = 0.01 J [1]

Recall the equation linking energy, spring constant and extension. Remember to convert the extension from millimetres into metres. Include the unit too.