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Assessment Report
Level 1 Physics 2021
Standards 90937 90938 90939
Part A: Commentary
Successful candidates were able to draw clear diagrams and showed logical working.
Physics uses mathematics to answers questions, and many candidates showed a lack of knowledge of using exponents, and how to use them in an equation. Candidates should ensure they know how to use the calculators efficiently and correctly, including the use of scientific notation.
Accurate use of key terms allowed candidates to achieve higher grades.
Part B: Report on standards
90937: Demonstrate understanding of aspects of electricity and magnetism
Examinations
The examination had three questions with four parts to each question. Overall, candidates had the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding over a broad range of physics concepts covered by this standard.
Observations
Candidates were able to calculate the current and voltage in series and parallel circuits, write definitions of conductors and insulators accurately and use formulas in calculations.
The righthand grip rule was used correctly to determine the direction of current and an understanding of the magnetics field strength formula allowed the candidates to accurately use the inverse relationship between magnetic field strength and distance.
Grade awarding
Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:
 demonstrated a foundation of understanding of the core concepts
 calculated answers by selecting the correct formula and substitute numbers into the formula accurately for onestep calculations, but not twostep calculations
 made errors in the use of calculators when working problems containing scientific notation
 drew a simple circuit
 used key physical terms and phrases to describe concepts i.e. what a conductor is, how particles become charged, and the effect of magnetism
 did not apply the rules for calculating current and voltage in series and parallel circuits
 did not apply the right hand grip rule correctly to determine the direction of current in a magnetic field
 did not display understanding of which charges moved and in which direction.
Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:
 displayed a limited knowledge in one of the three areas
 provided inaccurate definitions, e.g. what a conductor is
 did not use key physical terms and phrases to describe concepts, i.e. talked about protons moving or positive electrons moving or difference between conductors and insulators
 did not complete a given circuit diagram and/or magnetism diagram
 did not identify the correct formula to use and/or did not substitute values into the correct formula to find an unknown
 displayed very little knowledge of the scientific concepts they were required to identify and explain
 left questions blank
 could not identify and use a formula
 demonstrated and lack of understanding of scientific notation.
Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:
 drew most diagrams correctly, but made careless mistakes with diagrams and/or explanations or omitted important information
 were able to identify key concepts and link scientific ideas together, i.e. linked the drop in resistance to the changes to current, but did not link rheostat resistance to total resistance
 calculated total power, but not just the heat pump’s power perhaps due to misreading the question
 calculated answers by selecting the correct formula and substituted numbers into the formula accurately for onestep calculations and twostep calculations
 displayed understanding of the principle of an ioniser
 displayed understanding of the effect of charging by contact
 could explain the process of how the ioniser cleaned the air, but often did not link the dust as an insulator
 displayed knowledge of how ammeters are connected in series while voltmeters are connected in parallel
 calculated the current at a fixed distance from a magnetic field
 applied the righthand grip rule to determine the field direction as well as identifying inverse relationship between magnetic field strength (B) and distance (d).
Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:
 demonstrated very good understanding of the core concepts of electricity standard and applied them to the unfamiliar contexts of the questions
 read the questions carefully, made use of the information that provided and paid attention to the finer numerical details given
 completed all the calculations and were able to use scientific notation on their calculators accurately, i.e. calculated the power of the heat pump
 set out their working in a clear and logical manner which helped to avoid careless errors and made it easy to follow
 used key physical terms and phrases to describe concepts, i.e. identifying the poles, direction of the current and the nature of the magnetic force
 linked the key scientific concepts of electricity and magnetism together, i.e. explaining the movement of charge in two different contexts
 produced diagrams that were accurate and precise
 related their answers fully to the context of the question.
90938: Demonstrate understanding of aspects of wave behaviour
Examinations
The examination had three questions with four parts to each question, with many wave and ray diagrams that candidates needed to complete. Candidates with a basic knowledge of waves were able to achieve in this examination. Candidates who were able to give definitions and to correctly draw refraction, dispersion and diffraction were able to access the higher grades.
Observations
Candidates are reminded that practising drawing ray diagram should be part of their revision schedule. Using a fine pen and a ruler, the ray diagrams are drawn as straight lines with arrows pointing from the object to the eye/mirror/lens.
Grade awarding
Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:
 provided definitions of basic terms used in conjunction with waves
 stated that lights ‘bent’ towards the normal when entering water from air
 drew ray diagrams, but only drew single rays when locating images
 stated the colours of the visible spectrum
 stated correct particle vibration in transverse and longitudinal waves.
Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:
 did not draw ray diagrams
 displayed a lack of understanding of how diffracted waves spread out after passing a barrier
 did not define basic terms – refraction and frequency in particular
 did not know direction of energy transfer in a wave or particle vibration in transverse and longitudinal waves
 did not identify the correct angle of incidence.
Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:
 drew 2 diverging rays from a point when locating an image
 displayed understanding of how light behaved when entering a prism, either with dispersion or total internal reflection
 drew a diagram of diffraction of a wave past a barrier correctly
 changed units with prefixes correctly in calculations.
Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:
 provided answers to all questions asked in each question part
 drew neat and clear diagrams when answering questions using a fine pen and a ruler
 converted between different prefixes and units without much difficulty.
90939: Demonstrate understanding of aspects of heat
Examinations
The examination had three questions with four parts to each question. In Question One, candidates demonstrated understanding of heat transfer in the context of temperatures in a building. In Questions Two, Candidates explained the principles of convection, thermal expansion and heat energy and performed specific heat capacity calculations. Question Three required students to explain phase changes, latent heat and perform calculations in the context of a desalination plant.
Observations
Most candidates attempted all questions and were able to show their knowledge across the range of concepts covered in this standard. Candidates who were able to demonstrate understanding of thermal expansion or latent heat and accurately interpreted a heating curve were able to achieve in this examination. Higher performing candidates described convection currents using kinetic theory e.g. when explaining the movement of warm air stated that the particles became less dense or became lighter when heated. They also explained how conduction is a method of heat loss in terms of particles.
Grade awarding
Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:
 defined terms correctly, i.e. specific heat capacity
 described phenomena correctly, i.e. convection currents
 linked the concepts of heat transfer to the question’s context, but lacked depth in their response, i.e. not explaining the method of heat transfer, partially interpreting the heating curve or attributing the constant temperature to overcoming forces
 used the correct formulae, but did not check for inaccuracies in calculations
 partially answered questions, i.e. identifying only one aspect of why warm air rises, calculating only part of an answer, describing the difference in specific heat capacity of dry and humid air, but not linking to the context of the question.
Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:
 left a number of parts in each question unanswered
 attempted calculations unsuccessfully or chose incorrect formulae for calculations
 did not link the concepts of heat transfer to the context of the questions
 did not describe thermal expansion beyond stating that thermal expansion is when an object expands
 did not describe convection.
Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:
 clearly explained a range of concepts within each question and ensured the answer was linked directly to the question i.e. condensation in the context of desalination
 clearly identified the specific aspect of heat being examined, e.g. thermal expansion or the method of heat transfer, in unfamiliar contexts
 carried out multiple step calculations accurately to determine the time taken to heat a room and the mass of salt water processed in a specific time.
Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:
 explained and discussed relevant concepts within each question, including details, and used appropriate physics terms, i.e. particles move/ vibrate, spaces between particles increase (not the particles become larger)
 made links between aspects of heat and the context of exam questions, e.g. kinetic theory linked to no increase in temperature during phase change; increase in temperature and thermal expansion
 carried out multiple step calculations accurately and used the relationships in a formula to support their discussions of aspects of heat relevant to the context in question, e.g. latent heat of condensation linked to kinetic theory.
Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:
 correctly defined terms such as latent heat, and correctly described phenomena such as convection currents
 linked the concepts of heat transfer to the question context, but answers lacked depth, such as not explaining the method of heat transfer
 partially interpreted the heating curve
 used the correct formulae, but did not convert quantities to the correct units
 were able to identify only one aspect of thermal expansion, and calculated only part of an answer
 listed reasons for heat loss without reference to the method of heat transfer.
Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:
 left several parts in each question unanswered
 chose incorrect formulae for calculations
 were unable to link the concepts of heat transfer to the context of the questions
 could not describe any aspects of thermal expansion
 were unable to define convection.
Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:
 clearly explained a range of concepts within each question and ensured the answer was linked directly to the question
 clearly identified the specific aspect of heat being examined in unfamiliar contexts
 carried out multiple step calculations accurately, but did not link the relevant concept to support correct calculation.
Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:
 explained and discussed relevant concepts within each question
 made links between aspects of heat and the context of exam questions
 carried out multiple step calculations accurately, and used the relationships in these formulae to support their discussions of aspects of heat relevant to the context in question, such as latent heat with reference to kinetic theory.
Standard specific comments
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