Structured questions

This is the most common question on exam papers, although the number of marks for each question may vary.

At its simplest, this type of question will ask you to remember a simple fact that you have been taught. This type of question is likely to be worth one mark, and will often start with 'Give...', 'State...' or 'Name..'. In some cases, a question may ask you to state two things, rather than just one, and will be worth two marks.

Other structured questions may be worth two or more marks. These will often start with a command word such as 'Describe...' or 'Explain...', and will require a more detailed answer:

  • 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 or four 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 and linked way. Examiners will not credit a key word if it is used out of context or if your answer contradicts itself.

Questions courtesy of Eduqas.

Sample question 1 - Foundation


Give the formulae of the:

  • positive ion in potassium chloride
  • negative ion in Na2O

[2 marks]

  • K+ [1]
  • O2- [1]

Sample question 2 - Foundation


Give the chemical formula for magnesium hydroxide. [1 mark]

Mg(OH)2 [1]

Sample question 3 - Higher


Write the balanced symbol equation for the reaction that takes place between chlorine and sodium iodide. [2 marks]

Cl2 + 2NaI → 2NaCl + I2

  • [1] for correct formulae
  • [1] for balancing

Sample question 4 - Higher


The equation below represents the reaction occurring between copper(II) chloride solution and sodium hydroxide solution.

CuCl2 + 2NaOH → Cu(OH)2 + 2NaCl

Write the ionic equation for this reaction. Include state symbols. [2 marks]

Cu2+(aq) + 2OH-(aq) → Cu(OH)2(s)

  • [1] for equation
  • [1] for state symbols