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Assessment Report
New Zealand Scholarship Physics 2022
Standard 93103
Part A: Commentary
The top candidates found the examination quite accessible. However, many candidate responses lacked the depth and conceptual understanding seen in recent years, indicating that they were not fully prepared to sit an examination of this type.
Candidates seemed to struggle with questions about ‘significance’ or ‘validity’, that required taking a step beyond a purely mathematical result, and consider how that result applies in the real world.
Only the better candidates were able to correctly state the difference in the concept of quantisation of energy between the photoelectric effect and the Bohr model of the atom. Many candidates were unable to use the fundamental laws of Newton to explain motion correctly, or to accurately substitute values in to given expressions. This is concerning given the level of this examination.
The ability to accurately communicate understanding in a “Show” question is a skill that needs significant development for many candidates. Many candidates made incorrect mathematical statements in an attempt to prove a given relationship. Candidates need to begin a mathematical derivation with conceptual physics statements. The mathematics will then follow and support the physics statements.
Part B: Report on performance standard
Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance commonly:
 completed the entire examination
 showed a wide breadth of conceptual understanding
 combined information from disparate aspects of the curriculum
 communicated written responses succinctly and accurately
 presented well laid out algebraic arguments, satisfying the convincing communication requirements of the standard
 considered alternative pathways to solutions
 described the difference in the concept of quantisation of energy between the photoelectric effect and the Bohr model of the atom
 solved complex, multistep mathematical problems in various contexts by applying physics concepts such as centre of mass, vector components, etc
 demonstrated a thorough understanding of two bodies in orbit, and the key assumptions of the relationship
 demonstrated a detailed understanding of torques
 recognised the increased change in momentum, and hence force, when velocity is reversed, as opposed to stopping
 used mass deficit information to calculate number of photons, momentum, force, and correctly considered the proportion of photons that will have an effect.
Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:
 completed the entire examination
 demonstrated sufficient algebraic and computational skills to meet the requirements of the Scholarship standard
 applied understanding of standing waves to an unfamiliar context
 used vector components successfully to solve a problem
 explained the effects of forces on linear motion, and the effect of torques on rotational motion
 recognised the link between change in momentum, forces, and Newton’s third law
 stated differences between the Bohr model of the hydrogen atom and the photoelectric effect
 used mass deficit information to calculate number of photons, momentum, and force
 correctly applied trigonometric factors to calculate induced voltage for a conductor moving at a non right angle to a magnetic field
 calculated net force acting on an orbiting body by considering either the centripetal force or the sum of gravitational forces.
Other candidates
Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly:
 left questions unanswered
 made basic errors with numerical working
 wrote answers that did not address the question posed
 demonstrated poor communication skills
 failed to demonstrate highly developed knowledge skills
 selected incorrect units in some calculations
 commented incorrectly, or did not comment at all, on the validity of their responses
 demonstrated limited conceptual understanding of fundamental physics concepts including torques, Newton’s Laws, centre of mass, vector components, and modern physics.
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Previous years' reports