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Assessment Report
Level 2 Physics 2017
Standards 91170 91171 91173
Part A: Commentary
Candidates are advised to clearly explain what they are doing at each step in calculation questions. It is hard for markers to give credit to a space filled with numbers. Writing the relevant formula, then substituting numbers then giving the correct numerical solution with correct units, is expected. “Show” questions particularly require some sort of explanation.
When making comparative statements such as “resistance is increasing”, candidates should be clear whether they are referring to the total resistance or the resistance of a component in the circuit.
Candidates need to answer all parts of a question, in particular, when instructed to give a direction or state an assumption.
Part B: Report on standards
91170: Demonstrate understanding of waves
Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:
 completed ray diagrams and describe images
 carried out simple one step calculations
 recognised straightforward physics principles and apply them to a context
 described the effects of a change in a variable in a problem
 recognised applications of diffraction and interference.
Candidates who were assessed as Not Achieved commonly:
 drew very poor ray diagrams
 gave incorrect values for symbols leading to incorrect answers
 were unable to calculate sines of angles or use trigonometry
 were unable to carry out reasonable calculations
 were unable to interpret questions requiring understanding of reflection, refractions, lenses, wave refraction, diffraction and interference
 confused the type of images formed from a concave and convex mirror.
Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:
 completed ray diagrams and calculations
 used correct significant figures
 explained how physics principles apply in a range of appropriate contexts and question settings
 completed mathematical calculations beyond a simple one step level
 described interference, but failed to discuss path difference.
Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:
 comprehensively explained physics principles and apply them to the context of the question
 completed two and threestep calculations
 identified when to make values negative to correctly calculate distance using Descartes law. (a very few could do this)
 identified how a lens can be modified to change the focal length.(a very few could do this).
Standard specific comments
Candidates should use a ruler for all ray diagrams, labelling points when asked.
For Show questions, it is expected pupils provide full working, including the formula, substation and then the correct numerical answer.
Contrasting image types for two different mirrors and/or lenses and describing interference in terms of path difference continues to be an area candidates struggle with.
91171: Demonstrate understanding of mechanics
Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:
 applied the principle of conservation of momentum to calculate velocity
 drew free body force diagrams
 calculated the time of flight of a projectile
 described how to reduce the force experienced by a highjumper on landing
 stated the necessary conditions for equilibrium
 calculated a torque
 used the formula for centripetal force
 selected appropriate formulae, substituted correct values and completed onestep calculations accurately
 described straightforward concepts that were relevant to the given situation.
Candidates who were assessed as Not Achieved commonly:
 were unable to recognise which physics concept was applicable to the situation in a particular question, neither for the descriptive nor for the numerical aspect
 could not draw closed vector diagrams
 were unable to calculate torques or explain how torques changed when the mass moved.
Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:
 stated the condition under which momentum is conserved
 completed questions involving momentum and impulse
 drew a closed vector diagram with only one error
 calculated a value for elastic potential energy using or using work done.
 explained how a change to a mat could reduce the force experience by a highjumper on landing
 carried out twostep calculations involving torques
 calculated the speed of a rotating object given nonstandard data
 calculated the elastic potential energy of a spring
 selected appropriate formulae, substituted correct values and completed twostep calculations accurately
 made valid links between connected physics ideas.
Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:
 applied the concept of impulse correctly to solve a problem
 drew an accurate closed vector diagram
 linked all ideas connecting force, time of impact and change of momentum
 discussed clearly the effect of changing position has on torques and forces on a balanced plank.
Standard specific comments
Closed vector diagrams and multistep torque questions continue to be an area candidates struggle with.
91173: Demonstrate understanding of electricity and electromagnetism
Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:
 completed simple one step calculations
 used an appropriate rule to determine the direction of the force
 stated that electrical potential energy changed to kinetic energy
 knew how adding a component to circuit changed the total resistance of the circuit.
Candidates who were assessed as Not Achieved commonly:
 gave circular arguments
 used imprecise language instead of physics terms
 confused electric and magnetic fields
 thought that when you altered the total resistance of the circuit the current stayed the same
 could not explain how a voltage was induced by a conductor moving across a magnetic field and thought you needed a battery to get a current
 stated generic circuit concepts like, voltage is the same in parallel.
 gave the direction of the force as “towards the positive plate” where the positive plate was not labelled
 stated that the righthand slap rule was the reason why a voltage was induced
 used the term power as a generic term for electricity.
Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:
 linked the brightness of a bulb to its power and explained how changing the current through the bulb affected its brightness
 correctly applied the righthand slap rule to determine the direction of force
 explained why a charged object in a uniform field experienced a constant force.
Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:
 completed multi step calculations accurately
 explained what they were calculating at each step
 gave coherent arguments using precise physics terminology
 completed all parts of the question and stated assumptions in words when asked
 described why no current flowed in terms of opposing induced voltages and not opposing currents
 correctly identified and used the distance the diaphragm moved in q1d.
Standard specific comments
There were too many candidates who stated that a voltage was induced because of the “right hand rule”. They need to realise that these “rules” are ways to work out the direction not the cause.
Often candidates would omit giving a direction when it was asked for.
Explaining how a voltage is induced in a conductor moving across a magnetic field and under what conditions a current flows continues to be an area candidates struggle with.
Physics subject page
Previous years' reports
2016 (PDF, 215KB)