Practical questions

You will complete eight required practical activities if you are studying GCSE Physics and 21 if you are studying GCSE Combined Science. You could be asked questions about the methods, safety precautions you might take, results and conclusions of these experiments.

There is one required practical in the Forces and matter topic: Investigate the extension and work done when applying forces to a spring.

Edexcel questions courtesy of Pearson Education Ltd.

Sample question 1 - Foundation and Higher

Question

A student uses a digital calliper to measure the length of a spring.

The spring is bendy and difficult to measure.

The student takes the six readings shown in the table below.

MeasurementLength (mm)
120.31
220.33
320.44
420.30
520.33
620.30

a) Calculate the average length of the spring. [2 marks]

The student investigates the stretching of a spring with the equipment shown in the figure below.

A clamp stand holds both a spring and a ruler. The spring has a weight hooked onto the bottom. The clamp is attached to a bench.

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

The results are shown in the table below.

Weight (N)Extension (mm)
0.204.0
0.408.0
0.6012.0
0.8016.0
1.0020.0
1.2024.0

b) Draw a graph for the readings. [3 marks]

The student writes this conclusion:

'The extension of the spring is directly proportional to the weight stretching the spring.'

c) Comment on the student's conclusion. [3 marks]

a) Calculate (20.31 + 20.33 + 20.33 + 20.30 + 20.30) ÷ 5 = 20.31 [1]

You should exclude anomalous results when calculating the mean [1].

b)

A line graph showing the extension of a wire. Extension is on the Y axis, with weight on the X axis.

[3]

Make sure you use a scale which fills as much of the grid as possible. You must use scales which increase by equal amounts and label the axes with a titles and units. Don't forget to add the line of best fit.

c) The graph line is straight [1] and passes through the origin [1] so the student is correct [1].