Section B - Structured questions

Simple recall questions are usually worth one mark. They 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 car on a rollercoaster is stationary at the top of a slope.

When it reaches the bottom, its energy is lower than expected.

Suggest two ways to improve the efficiency of the rollercoaster car. [2 marks]

OCR Gateway Science, GCE Physics, Paper J249, 2016.

  • reduce the friction between the car and track/lubrication of wheel bearings [1]
  • make the shape of the car more streamlined to reduce drag [1]

Sample question 2 - Foundation


Anya and Yaj are watching a tennis match.

Anya says, "I think that when the ball is going over the net it only has kinetic energy".

Yaj says, "I think that when the ball is going over the net, it has kinetic energy and gravitational potential energy".

Who is correct? Explain your answer. [2 marks]

OCR Gateway Science, GCE Physics, Paper B751, June 2014.

Yaj, because:

  • the ball is moving so has kinetic energy [1]
  • the ball is off the ground so has (gravitational) potential energy [1]

Sample question 3 - Higher


The gap between the outer and inner walls of a house is called the cavity.

The cavity can be filled with foam. Explain how this reduces heat losses from the house. [2 marks]

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

Any two from:

  • foam reduces the thermal conductivity of the wall
  • foam is a good insulator/poor heat conductor
  • foam contains trapped air
  • foam reduces heat losses by convection/conduction


Sample question 4 - Higher


Allan wants to reduce energy losses from his house.

He asks an energy adviser for help.

The adviser uses a camera to produce a thermogram of the house.

Explain how the thermogram can be used to compare how much heat energy is lost from different parts of the house. [2 marks]

OCR Gateway Science, GCE Physics, Paper B751, June 2013 - Higher.

  • most heat lost from hot/poorly insulated areas (indicated by colours white/yellow/red) [1]
  • least heat lost from cool/well insulated areas (indicated by colours black/dark blue/purple) [1]