Saturday, January 10, 2015

O-Level Physics (5054) | Skills to be tested?

  • O-Level Physics (5054) | Skills to be tested?

Examinations for the Cambridge O-Level Physics (5054) syllabus test you on the following skills:
  1. your knowledge (what you remember) and understanding (how you use what you know and apply it to unfamiliar situations)
  2. how you handle information and solve problems
  3. your experimental skills

The theory papers (paper 1 and paper 2) test skills 1 and 2 (listed above). The practical papers (paper 3 and paper 4) test skill 3.

Candidates should note that 65% of the marks are for A and of these only 30% are for simple recall.

Let’s now look at the 3 skills mentioned in more details and the range of the skills candidates should try to develop.

Skill 1: Knowledge with understanding
What this means: remembering facts and applying these facts to new situations

What you need to be able to do:
  • Use scientific ideas, facts and laws
  • Know the meaning of scientific terms (e.g. centre of mass)
  • Know equations and definitions
  • Use simple equations (e.g. speed = distance/time)
  • Know about apparatus and how it works
  • Know about symbols, quantities (e.g. mass and weight) and units (e.g. kg and N)

Skill 2: Handling information and solving problems
What this means: how you extract information and rearrange it in a sensible pattern and how you carry out calculations and make predictions

What you need to be able to do:
  • Select and organise information from graphs, tables and written text
  • Change information from one form to another (e.g. draw graphs)
  • Arrange data and carry out calculations
  • Identify patterns from information given and draw conclusions
  • Explain scientific relationships (e.g. use the moving (kinetic) particle theory to explain ideas about solids, liquids and gases.)
  • Make predictions and develop scientific ideas
  • Solve problems

Skill 3: Experimental skills and investigations
What this means: planning and carrying out experiments, recording and analysing information

What you need to be able to do:
  • Follow instructions to set up and use apparatus safely
  • Make observations and measurements and record them with regard to accuracy
  • Analyse experimental results
  • Plan and carry out an experiment describing any problems and suggesting improvements

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