Data response questions

Do not forget to take a ruler and calculator into the exam.

Maths questions often start with the command words like 'Calculate', 'Determine', 'Estimate' and 'Measure'. They will then include blank space for you to show your working.

When an answer to a maths question is marked:

  • full marks are given for the right answer (but it is wise to show your working so you can check your answer)
  • marks are given for working, including substitution and rearrangement
  • errors carried forward are taken into account

Errors carried forward are related to what happens if a later answer depends on an earlier answer, and you get the earlier one wrong. You could still get full marks in the later answer if your working is correct but you use the incorrect earlier answer.

If your answer has many decimal places or figures, make sure you give it to an appropriate number of decimal places or significant figures. You may be asked to give units. This may earn you an additional mark, so do not forget to check whether you need to do this.

Some maths questions might ask you to plot or complete a graph or table. When you draw a graph, make sure you:

  • plot each point accurately
  • draw a best-fit straight line or curve

You may be given a grid with axes and scales already given. Sometimes you may be given an empty grid for you to supply your own axes. When you do this:

  • put the independent variable on the x-axis and the dependent variable on the y-axis
  • make sensible scales so that the plotted points cover at least 50% of the area of the graph
  • label the axes with their quantity and unit, eg time (s)

Questions courtesy of Eduqas.

Sample question 1 - Foundation


When a rocket launches, it forces out hot gas downwards.

a) Use Newton's 3rd Law to explain why the rocket moves upwards. [2 marks]

b) i) A model rocket has a weight of 5 N. The upward thrust on the rocket is 20 N. Calculate the resultant force on the rocket. [1 mark]

ii) The mass of this rocket is 0·5 kg. Use your answer to b) i) and recall an equation to calculate the acceleration of the model rocket. [2 marks]

a) There is a downward force on the gas [1]. According to Newton's 3rd Law, there must be an equal and opposite upward force on the rocket [1].

b) i) Resultant force = 20 - 5 = 15 N [1]

ii)   F  =  ma [1]

So a  =  \frac{F}{m} =  \frac{15}{0.5}  =  30~m/s^2 [1]

Sample question 2 - Higher


A lunar module descends at a constant speed of 1.5 m/s under the action of retrorockets.

Three seconds before landing, the retrorockets are switched off and the lunar module falls to the surface with an acceleration of 1.6 m/s2.

a) Select an equation from the list and use it to show that the height of the lunar module above the surface when the retrorockets are switched off is 11.7 m. [3 marks]

b) Complete the table to show how the height of the lunar module changes in the last three seconds of its motion. [2 marks]

Time after rockets switched off (s)
Distance moved by lunar module towards moon's surface (m)0.0......11.7
Height above surface (m)11.7......0.0

a) x = ut + \frac{1}{2} at^2 [1]

x  = (1.5 \times 3) + (\frac{1}{2} \times 1.6 \times 9) [1]

= 4.5 + 7.2

= 11.7 m [1]

b) Using the same equation for the different times gives:

2nd column in table: 2.3 m moved and 9.4 m above surface [1]

3rd column in table: 6.2 m moved and 5.5 m above surface [1]

Time after rockets switched off (s)
Distance moved by lunar module towards moon's surface (m)
Height above surface (m)