Unit 3 : Investigative and Practical Skills in AS Physics

=Units 3 & 6 Investigative & Practical Skills – Route X
Practice Questions to help boost your Score on Section B.
Answers to the Practice Questions.

=Units 3 & 6 Investigative & Practical Skills – Route X
Power point about how to calculate uncertainties
Power Point about how best to approach the EMPA to achieve good marks

"Compressed EMPA" Questions only

"Compressed EMPA" with added answers
An exercise for section B of the EMPA, questions only
An exercise for section B of the EMPA, with answers

A simple experiment to practice EMPA skills. (Note that Q9 & Q10 are strictly speaking Unit 6 questions.)
Some practice questions on uncertainties.
Answers to above question on uncertainties. Note that these answers are not necessarily in agreement with what the exam board thinks and should be discussed with your teacher.

Practice questions about combining uncertainties.
An outline of a lesson that will help develop a discussion of errors and experimental technique.

Examinations Update – subject information: Issue 4 September 2009

Units 3 & 6
Investigative & Practical Skills – Route X
PHA3/B3/X & PHA6/B6/X
The specifications outline that the practical and investigative skills in this route will be assessed through:
• Practical Skills Verification (PSV)
• Externally Marked Practical Assignment (EMPA).

The PSV requires teachers to verify their candidates’ ability to demonstrate safe and skilful practical techniques and make valid and reliable observations.
Candidates following this route must undertake specific practical exercises. They will be required to work individually and carry out five short practical exercises under supervision in the laboratory during normal class time. The exercises will be set by us and may be undertaken at any stage during the course at the centre’s discretion, either as individual exercises or by organising more than one exercise to be taken at a given time. The candidates must be supervised during the practical work.

One or more of these specified tasks may change from year to year dependent on the content of the EMPA.
The list for the year September 2009 – May 2010 is as follows:

Unit 3 (AS)

Measuring equipment used
(i) Measurement of the I V curve of a component
ammeter, voltmeter
(ii) Measuring the terminal velocity of a ball falling in oil
stopwatch, metre ruler, set square
(iii) Measurement of the density of a regular object
vernier callipers, micrometer screw gauge, electronic balance
(iv) Measurement of the wavelength of monochromatic light with a diffraction grating
protractor, metre ruler
(v) Using a potential divider with a thermistor as a temperature sensor
thermometer, voltmeter

Unit 6 (A2)

Measuring equipment used
(i) Measurement of the period of an oscillator performing simple harmonic motion
digital stopwatch, fiducial mark
(ii) Measuring the pd across a capacitor as it is discharged through a resistor of fixed resistance
digital stopwatch, voltmeter
(iii) Determination of the specific heat capacity of a solid
thermometer, mass balance and digital stopwatch
(iv) Measuring the absorption of beta or gamma radiation by aluminium or lead leading to a determination of the half-value thickness
radiation detector (any type) and counter or rate meter
(v) Use of data logging in any of the above contexts; analysis of the outcome using a pc-based spreadsheet
voltage sensors, light gates or motion sensors, temperature sensors or radiation detectors; attached to data logger or via an interface to a computer

There is no formal assessment of these exercises. Teachers need to confirm on the Candidate Record Form, for each candidate, that this requirement has been met. Failure to complete the tick box will mean that the candidate will be awarded a mark of zero for the whole of this unit. Knowledge and understanding of the skills shown in the tasks may be assessed by the EMPA written tests. The Externally Marked Practical Assignment (EMPA) may be conducted between 1 March until the deadline date for the coursework submission. We will provide details of the EMPA well in advance of the window so that preparations can be made.