Hints and Tips: Getting it Right in Paper 6

READ ALL the question first. You have plenty of time. Imagine the apparatus in front of you.

Measurement on-site. Make sure you have a good quality ruler, able to measure accurately to 1mm.

Decide where a measurement is to be taken (top/middle/bottom)

Write the measurements down to the nearest 1mm ( or 1 degree if an angle)

The question often asks you to process the measurement in some way (work out an area or volume/divide by a number of oscillations/ find the sine of an angle/find a volume.) Do the algebra or rearrange first. Then put in the numbers. Quote your answer to the number of decimal places in the question and don’t forget units.

There is often data where you have to fill in the units and there will always be a graph to plot (e.g, a cooling curve) Use sensible and easy-to-plot scales for the graphs and remember that the axes have units. Draw the LOBF through as many data points as possible. Look down the points to see whether it’s a straight line or not. If it is, use a ruler. If not, draw freehand a smooth curve Use a sharp HB pencil

The graph tells you something. Think about what the data is telling you – they will either ask you to work out a gradient or an area. Gradients – big is beautiful and keep it simple – look out for division by easy numbers. Both gradient and area under will have units.

You are sometimes asked to read meters. Be careful about sensitivity. We used to use these big demonstration meters in school

Precautions to ensure accuracy. When reading meters, volumes from measuring cylinders, lengths and so on, avoid parallax errors. Repeat measurements and zero all meters are the usual ones to write down when asked to comment.

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About John Vagabond

I have taught physics and math all over the world
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