One to four mark questions

One to four mark questions will start with command words such as 'describe' or 'explain'. Some command words are easy to understand such as:

  • 'calculate' or ‘determine’ for maths questions
  • 'complete' to fill in a gap in a table or graph
  • 'define' to give the meaning of an important word
  • 'suggest' where you use your knowledge in an unfamiliar situation
  • 'compare' where you describe the similarities and/or differences between things

The command words 'describe' and 'explain' can be confusing. If you are asked to describe a graph, you will be expected to write about its overall shape, whether it is linear or curved, the slope of gradients etc. If you are asked to explain why a pattern or trend is seen in a graph, you will be expected to use your science knowledge, not just say what you see (which is a description), eg the graph shows a steep linear increase for the first three hours because…

Explain how and why questions often have the word 'because' in their answer. Describe questions don't.

The number of marks per question part is given in this form '[2 marks]'. It is essential that you give two different answers if a question is worth two marks. Sometimes you can gain a second mark by giving the units in a calculation or stating specific data points, eg during the first two years the number of lions deceased by seven.

You will be expected to write in more depth for three and four mark questions. They might ask you about a process such as the carbon cycle or the method you would use in an experiment.

These questions have been written by Bitesize consultants as suggestions to the types of questions that may appear in an exam paper.

Sample question 1 - Foundation

Question

Describe the structure of a generalised animal cell. [4 marks]

Any four from:

  • the cytoplasm is made from water and is where cellular reactions occur
  • the nucleus contains genetic material which controls the cell
  • the membrane controls the movement of molecules into and from the cell
  • mitochondria are the site of respiration
  • ribosomes are the site of protein synthesis

[4]

Sample question 2 - Foundation

Question

Describe the structure of a generalised plant cell. [4 marks]

Any four from:

  • the cytoplasm is made from water and is where cellular reactions occur
  • the nucleus contains genetic material which controls the cell
  • the membrane controls the movement of molecules into and from the cell
  • mitochondria are the site of respiration
  • ribosomes are the site of protein synthesis
  • the cell wall is made from cellulose and provides support
  • photosynthesis occurs in chloroplasts
  • cell sap is stored in the permanent vacuole

[4]

Sample question 3 - Foundation

Question

What conditions can denature an enzyme? [2 marks]

  • high temperatures [1]
  • extreme (very high or low) pH [1]

Sample question 4 - Higher

Question

Describe the structure of a prokaryotic cell. [4 marks]

Any four from:

  • all bacteria possess prokaryotic cells
  • they do not have a nucleus
  • instead their DNA is present in the cytoplasm
  • the cytoplasm is made from water and is where cellular reactions occur
  • the membrane controls the movement of molecules into and from the cell
  • flagella rotate or move like whips to move bacterial cells
  • a cell wall provides protection

[4]

Sample question 5 - Higher

Question

Describe the differences between light and electron microscopes. [3 marks]

Any three from:

  • light microscopes are lower magnification
  • they are also lower resolution
  • light microscopes can study living cells but electron microscopes cannot
  • electron microscopes are more expensive
  • transmission electron microscopes look at cross sections of samples
  • scanning electron microscopes look at samples in three dimensions

[3]

Sample question 6 - Higher

Question

Describe where enzymes of the digestive system are produced. [3 marks]

  1. carbohydrase enzymes are produced in the mouth, pancreas and small intestine [1]
  2. lipase enzymes are produced in the pancreas and small intestine [1]
  3. protease enzymes are produced in the stomach, pancreas and small intestine [1]