# GCSE Physics Paper 1 Higher Practice Paper in the Style of AQA Trilogy

In this assessment students attempt an exam paper in the style of AQA Trilogy - Physics Paper 1 Higher

Key stage:  KS 4

GCSE Subjects:   Physics: Combined Science

GCSE Boards:   AQA Trilogy

Curriculum topic:   GCSE Sample Practice Papers

Curriculum subtopic:   Higher Practice Papers

Difficulty level:

### QUESTION 1 of 10

In this assessment, students will be able to complete a timed GCSE Science Physics Paper 1 (Higher) in the style of AQA Trilogy.

We would recommend for this paper that you work through the assessment online and for the questions that are worth more than one mark you write your answers on paper to show your working.

For each question, the marks awarded for each section are written next to the questions and look like this [4]

You should aim for 1 minute per mark

The timer is set for 75 minutes for this practice paper, although you can keep working after the timer has run out.

If you are struggling to answer a question do not waste time on it, but move onto the next question.

Disclaimer:

We have no affiliation to AQA and these questions represent our own unique content developed by EdPlace GCSE authors.

None of the content displayed here has been supplied by AQA or any other third party suppliers.

Questions 1 - 5 are about energy transfers in a pumped-storage hydroelectric power station.

The Dinorwig Power Station, known locally as "Electric Mountain", is a pumped-storage hydroelectric power station in northern Wales.

Water is pumped from a reservoir to the top of the mountain. When the demand for electricity is high, water drops through a height of 100 m. The falling water passes through turbines, generating electricity.

When water falls from the top of the mountain to the reservoir, does the gravitation potential energy store of the water?

[1]

Increase

Decrease

Stay the same

Questions 1 - 5 are about energy transfers in a pumped-storage hydroelectric power station.

The Dinorwig Power Station, known locally as "Electric Mountain", is a pumped-storage hydroelectric power station in northern Wales.

Water is pumped from a reservoir to the top of the mountain. When the demand for electricity is high, water drops through a height of 100 m. The falling water passes through turbines, generating electricity.

When water falls from the top of the mountain to the reservoir, which energy store gains energy?

[1]

Increase

Decrease

Stay the same

Questions 1 - 5 are about energy transfers in a pumped-storage hydroelectric power station.

The Dinorwig Power Station, known locally as "Electric Mountain", is a pumped-storage hydroelectric power station in northern Wales.

Water is pumped from a reservoir to the top of the mountain. When the demand for electricity is high, water drops through a height of 100 m. The falling water passes through turbines, generating electricity.

When the power station is running, 390 000 kg water flows through a turbine every second.

What is the change in gravitational potential energy when this mass of water falls from the mountain top to the reservoir?

[3]

Questions 1 - 5 are about energy transfers in a pumped-storage hydroelectric power station.

The Dinorwig Power Station, known locally as "Electric Mountain", is a pumped-storage hydroelectric power station in northern Wales.

Water is pumped from a reservoir to the top of the mountain. When the demand for electricity is high, water drops through a height of 100 m. The falling water passes through turbines, generating electricity.

The peak power output of the whole power station is 360 MW. How much energy is transferred if this power station runs for 10 seconds?

Use the equation energy transferred = power  ×  time

[1]

Questions 1 - 5 are about energy transfers in a pumped-storage hydroelectric power station.

The Dinorwig Power Station, known locally as "Electric Mountain", is a pumped-storage hydroelectric power station in northern Wales.

Water is pumped from a reservoir to the top of the mountain. When the demand for electricity is high, water drops through a height of 100 m. The falling water passes through turbines, generating electricity.

Pumped storage stations are used to generate electricity when there is a sudden peak in demand. Suggest the advantage of pumped storage over nuclear power stations for generating electricity for sudden peaks in demand.

[2]

Strontium-90 is a radioactive isotope. It undergoes beta minus decay.

The atomic number of Strontium-90 is 38 and the mass number is 90.

What are the atomic number and mass number of its decay product? Enter your answers as numbers, not words.

[2]

The half-life of Strontium-90 is 29 years.

In the year 2020, the activity of a sample of Strontium-90 is 1000 Bq.

What will the activity of that sample be in the year 2078?

[3]

One use of Strontium-90 is in devices to monitor the thickness of paper as it is being made. Describe how this is done.

Describe the difference between alpha and beta radiation and hence explain why a source of beta radiation is more suitable than alpha radiation for this application.

[6]

Phosphorus-32 is another source of beta particles. It has a half-life of 14 days. Explain why Strontium-90 is used for monitoring paper thickness and not Phosphorus-32.

[2]

Questions 10 - 14 are about an electric circuit.

A student sets up a circuit to investigate the properties of a filament lamp. The circuit they use is shown below.

Name the meters X and Y.

[1]

Questions 10 - 14 are about an electric circuit.

A student sets up a circuit to investigate the properties of a filament lamp. The circuit they use is shown below.

When the voltmeter reading is 3.0 V, the ammeter reading is 0.14 A. Calculate the resistance of the filament lamp in ohms (Ω). Give your answer to 2 significant figures.

[3]

Questions 10 - 14 are about an electric circuit.

A student sets up a circuit to investigate the properties of a filament lamp. The circuit they use is shown below.

The student then adjusts the variable resistor, so that the potential difference across the bulb is reduced from 3.0 V to 1.5 V.

To achieve this, does the student increase or reduce the resistance of the variable resistor?

[1]

The student increases the resistance of the variable resistor

The student decreases the resistance of the variable resistor

Questions 10 - 14 are about an electric circuit.

A student sets up a circuit to investigate the properties of a filament lamp. The circuit they use is shown below.

In Question 12, you were asked:

The student then adjusts the variable resistor, so that the potential difference across the bulb is reduced from 3.0 V to 1.5 V.

To achieve this, does the student increase or reduce the resistance of the variable resistor?

[2]

Questions 10 - 14 are about an electric circuit.

A student sets up a circuit to investigate the properties of a filament lamp. The circuit they use is shown below.

According to Ohm's Law, if the potential difference across the bulb is reduced from 3.0 V to 1.5 V, the current through the bulb should decrease from 0.14 A to 0.07 A. This does not happen.

Predict and explain whether the current reading will be higher or lower than 0.07 A.

[4]

Questions 15 to 19 are about an electric cooker.

A standard cooker has 4 heater rings. The two small rings are rated at 1 kW power and the two large rings are rated at 2 kW power.

What does the phrase "1 kW" power tell us about the energy transfer of a single ring?

[2]

Questions 15 to 19 are about an electric cooker.

A standard cooker has 4 heater rings. The two small rings are rated at 1.00 kW power and the two large rings are rated at 2.00 kW power.

If all four rings are being used, how much current is being drawn from the mains supply? Give your answer in amps. Use your answer to explain why electric cookers are not connected to the mains by a  standard plug socket.

[6]

Questions 15 to 19 are about an electric cooker.

We place a saucepan containing 750 g water on a cooker ring with 1 kW power.

The cooker ring will transfer 60 000 J in 1 minute.

Match these pieces of apparatus with the measurements they make.

[1]

## Column B

Ammeter
Potential difference
Stopwatch
Time
Thermometer
Temperature
Voltmeter
Electric current

Questions 15 to 19 are about an electric cooker.

We place a saucepan containing 750 g water on a cooker ring with 1 kW power.

The cooker ring will transfer 60 000 J in 1 minute. Calculate the increase in temperature expected if the water is heated for 1 minute.

The specific heat capacity of water is 4.2 J / °C / g.

[3]

Questions 15 to 19 are about an electric cooker.

The actual temperature increase of the water is much less than the answer to Question 18. Suggest two reasons why this is so.

[2]

Questions 20 to 22 are about atomic structure.

Oxygen-18 is an isotope of oxygen.

What is an isotope?

[1]

Questions 20 to 22 are about atomic structure.

Oxygen-18 is an isotope of oxygen.

The atomic number of oxygen is 8. How many protons and neutrons are there in an oxygen atom?

[1]

Questions 20 to 22 are about atomic structure.

Protons and neutrons are not spread uniformly around the atom.

Describe without using diagrams the arrangement of protons and neutrons within the atom. Explain how experimental evidence was used to develop this model.

[6]

Questions 23 to 25 are about density.

We have a small statue, made of a grey metal. Its base is about 2 cm wide, so it will fit in a measuring cylinder.

Describe an appropriate method to determine the density of the statue.

[4]

Questions 23 to 25 are about density.

We have a small statue, made of a grey metal. Its base is about 2 cm wide, so it will fit in a measuring cylinder.

The mass of the statue is 58.5 g and its volume is 7.4 cm3. Determine its density in g / cm3.

[2]

Questions 23 to 25 are about density.

We have a small statue, made of a grey metal. Its base is about 2 cm wide, so it will fit in a measuring cylinder.

This table lists the densities of some common grey metals.

 Metal Density (g / cm3) Aluminium 2.7 Iron 7.9 Lead 11.4 Silver 10.5

Which metal is it most likely that the statue is made of? Justify your choice

[2]

• Question 1

Questions 1 - 5 are about energy transfers in a pumped-storage hydroelectric power station.

The Dinorwig Power Station, known locally as "Electric Mountain", is a pumped-storage hydroelectric power station in northern Wales.

Water is pumped from a reservoir to the top of the mountain. When the demand for electricity is high, water drops through a height of 100 m. The falling water passes through turbines, generating electricity.

When water falls from the top of the mountain to the reservoir, does the gravitation potential energy store of the water?

[1]

Decrease
EDDIE SAYS
If the height of the water decreases, the gravitational potential energy store of the water decreases.
• Question 2

Questions 1 - 5 are about energy transfers in a pumped-storage hydroelectric power station.

The Dinorwig Power Station, known locally as "Electric Mountain", is a pumped-storage hydroelectric power station in northern Wales.

Water is pumped from a reservoir to the top of the mountain. When the demand for electricity is high, water drops through a height of 100 m. The falling water passes through turbines, generating electricity.

When water falls from the top of the mountain to the reservoir, which energy store gains energy?

[1]

EDDIE SAYS
The water moves faster as it falls, so the kinetic energy store of the water increases. This energy comes from the gravitational potential store of the water.
• Question 3

Questions 1 - 5 are about energy transfers in a pumped-storage hydroelectric power station.

The Dinorwig Power Station, known locally as "Electric Mountain", is a pumped-storage hydroelectric power station in northern Wales.

Water is pumped from a reservoir to the top of the mountain. When the demand for electricity is high, water drops through a height of 100 m. The falling water passes through turbines, generating electricity.

When the power station is running, 390 000 kg water flows through a turbine every second.

What is the change in gravitational potential energy when this mass of water falls from the mountain top to the reservoir?

[3]

EDDIE SAYS
Model answer: gravitational potential energy = mass × gravitational field strength × height. gravitational potential energy = 390 000 kg × 10 N / kg × 100 m gravitational potential energy = 390 000 000 J
• Question 4

Questions 1 - 5 are about energy transfers in a pumped-storage hydroelectric power station.

The Dinorwig Power Station, known locally as "Electric Mountain", is a pumped-storage hydroelectric power station in northern Wales.

Water is pumped from a reservoir to the top of the mountain. When the demand for electricity is high, water drops through a height of 100 m. The falling water passes through turbines, generating electricity.

The peak power output of the whole power station is 360 MW. How much energy is transferred if this power station runs for 10 seconds?

Use the equation energy transferred = power  ×  time

[1]

EDDIE SAYS
The calculation is 360 MW × 10 s.
• Question 5

Questions 1 - 5 are about energy transfers in a pumped-storage hydroelectric power station.

The Dinorwig Power Station, known locally as "Electric Mountain", is a pumped-storage hydroelectric power station in northern Wales.

Water is pumped from a reservoir to the top of the mountain. When the demand for electricity is high, water drops through a height of 100 m. The falling water passes through turbines, generating electricity.

Pumped storage stations are used to generate electricity when there is a sudden peak in demand. Suggest the advantage of pumped storage over nuclear power stations for generating electricity for sudden peaks in demand.

[2]

EDDIE SAYS
Model answer: Water can start and stop flowing instantly, allowing electricity to be generated instantly. Nuclear power releases energy all the time, so we cannot increase output in response to peaks in demand.
• Question 6

Strontium-90 is a radioactive isotope. It undergoes beta minus decay.

The atomic number of Strontium-90 is 38 and the mass number is 90.

What are the atomic number and mass number of its decay product? Enter your answers as numbers, not words.

[2]

EDDIE SAYS
In beta minus decay, a neutron in the nucleus breaks into a proton and an electron. The electron is ejected, which is the beta particle we observe. The nucleus loses a neutron and gains a proton, so the mass number does not change and the atomic number increases by 1.
• Question 7

The half-life of Strontium-90 is 29 years.

In the year 2020, the activity of a sample of Strontium-90 is 1000 Bq.

What will the activity of that sample be in the year 2078?

[3]

EDDIE SAYS
Model answer: 2078 - 2020 = 58 years 58 years = 2 × 29 years, so 2 half-lives activity = 1000 Bq × ½ × ½ = 250 Bq The key thing to remember is that a half-life is the time taken for the activity to halve from whatever it was before. After two half-lives, the activity is one quarter of the initial activity, not zero,
• Question 8

One use of Strontium-90 is in devices to monitor the thickness of paper as it is being made. Describe how this is done.

Describe the difference between alpha and beta radiation and hence explain why a source of beta radiation is more suitable than alpha radiation for this application.

[6]

EDDIE SAYS
• Question 9

Phosphorus-32 is another source of beta particles. It has a half-life of 14 days. Explain why Strontium-90 is used for monitoring paper thickness and not Phosphorus-32.

[2]

EDDIE SAYS
Model answer: The radiation from an isotope with a short half-life (like Phosphorous-32) will soon become negligible, so the sample will need to be changed regularly. The radiation from an isotope with a long half-life (like Strontium-90) changes little over time, so the sample will last for a long time.
• Question 10

Questions 10 - 14 are about an electric circuit.

A student sets up a circuit to investigate the properties of a filament lamp. The circuit they use is shown below.

Name the meters X and Y.

[1]

EDDIE SAYS
The important point here is that ammeters go in series in the circuit (they measure current flow through them) and voltmeters go in parallel with a component in the circuit (they detect differences in electrical potential either side of the component).
• Question 11

Questions 10 - 14 are about an electric circuit.

A student sets up a circuit to investigate the properties of a filament lamp. The circuit they use is shown below.

When the voltmeter reading is 3.0 V, the ammeter reading is 0.14 A. Calculate the resistance of the filament lamp in ohms (Ω). Give your answer to 2 significant figures.

[3]

EDDIE SAYS
Model answer: potential difference = current × resistance 3.0 = 0.14 × resistance resistance = 3.0 ÷ 0.14 = 21.4285714... resistance = 21 Ω (2 sig.fig)
• Question 12

Questions 10 - 14 are about an electric circuit.

A student sets up a circuit to investigate the properties of a filament lamp. The circuit they use is shown below.

The student then adjusts the variable resistor, so that the potential difference across the bulb is reduced from 3.0 V to 1.5 V.

To achieve this, does the student increase or reduce the resistance of the variable resistor?

[1]

The student increases the resistance of the variable resistor
EDDIE SAYS
The resistance of the variable resistor must increase; the next question asks you to think about why this is so.
• Question 13

Questions 10 - 14 are about an electric circuit.

A student sets up a circuit to investigate the properties of a filament lamp. The circuit they use is shown below.

In Question 12, you were asked:

The student then adjusts the variable resistor, so that the potential difference across the bulb is reduced from 3.0 V to 1.5 V.

To achieve this, does the student increase or reduce the resistance of the variable resistor?

[2]

EDDIE SAYS
Model answer: If the potential difference across the bulb is lower, then the potential difference across the variable resistor must be higher. This is because the circuit is a potential divider, and the total p.d. across the circuit if fixed by the supply voltage. To increase the p.d. across the variable resistor, we increase its resistance.
• Question 14

Questions 10 - 14 are about an electric circuit.

A student sets up a circuit to investigate the properties of a filament lamp. The circuit they use is shown below.

According to Ohm's Law, if the potential difference across the bulb is reduced from 3.0 V to 1.5 V, the current through the bulb should decrease from 0.14 A to 0.07 A. This does not happen.

Predict and explain whether the current reading will be higher or lower than 0.07 A.

[4]

EDDIE SAYS
The current reading will be higher than 0.07 A; it will be between 0.07 A and 0.14 A. Filament bulbs do not follow Ohm's Law. As the current reduces, so does the resistance. This is because reducing the current reduces the temperature of the wire. If we halve the p.d. but reduce the resistance as well, the current will fall, but not by 50 %.
• Question 15

Questions 15 to 19 are about an electric cooker.

A standard cooker has 4 heater rings. The two small rings are rated at 1 kW power and the two large rings are rated at 2 kW power.

What does the phrase "1 kW" power tell us about the energy transfer of a single ring?

[2]

EDDIE SAYS
Transfers 1000 J per second.
• Question 16

Questions 15 to 19 are about an electric cooker.

A standard cooker has 4 heater rings. The two small rings are rated at 1.00 kW power and the two large rings are rated at 2.00 kW power.

If all four rings are being used, how much current is being drawn from the mains supply? Give your answer in amps. Use your answer to explain why electric cookers are not connected to the mains by a  standard plug socket.

[6]

EDDIE SAYS
Model answer: The total power consumption of the four rings together is 2 × 1 kW + 2 × 2 kW = 6 kW or 6000 W. To calculate current from this, use power = current × voltage. current = 6 000 ÷ 230 current = 26.1 A The maximum current a standard plug socket can carry is 13 A. If the oven draws 26.1 A, the current would break the fuse.
• Question 17

Questions 15 to 19 are about an electric cooker.

We place a saucepan containing 750 g water on a cooker ring with 1 kW power.

The cooker ring will transfer 60 000 J in 1 minute.

Match these pieces of apparatus with the measurements they make.

[1]

## Column B

Ammeter
Electric current
Stopwatch
Time
Thermometer
Temperature
Voltmeter
Potential difference
EDDIE SAYS
It might not look like it, but this is the required practical on specific heat capacity. We're adding energy to something (water) and measuring the temperature change. One of the ways of making science questions tricky is to disguise the underlying science in a different context. One of the fun bits about doing science is seeing past the disguise.
• Question 18

Questions 15 to 19 are about an electric cooker.

We place a saucepan containing 750 g water on a cooker ring with 1 kW power.

The cooker ring will transfer 60 000 J in 1 minute. Calculate the increase in temperature expected if the water is heated for 1 minute.

The specific heat capacity of water is 4.2 J / °C / g.

[3]

EDDIE SAYS
Model answer: energy = mass × specific heat capacity × temperature change 60 000 = 750 × 4.2 × temperature change Temperature change = 60 000 ÷ (750 × 4.2) Temperature change = 19 °C This is a routine question, except that you have to explain how you get your answer. Be careful, examiners sometimes ask this- though the best habit is to always write down all your steps.
• Question 19

Questions 15 to 19 are about an electric cooker.

The actual temperature increase of the water is much less than the answer to Question 18. Suggest two reasons why this is so.

[2]

EDDIE SAYS
Model answer: The pan heats up as well as the water, taking some of the energy. Also, some of the energy escapes to the surroundings. For "suggest" you don't have to give detailed answers, or even ones that are definitely correct. They do need to be sensible ideas, though. Remember that no energy transfer is perfectly efficient; they always lose some energy to surroundings.
• Question 20

Questions 20 to 22 are about atomic structure.

Oxygen-18 is an isotope of oxygen.

What is an isotope?

[1]

EDDIE SAYS
This is an important definition to learn.
• Question 21

Questions 20 to 22 are about atomic structure.

Oxygen-18 is an isotope of oxygen.

The atomic number of oxygen is 8. How many protons and neutrons are there in an oxygen atom?

[1]

EDDIE SAYS
The atomic number tells us the number of protons. The mass number is the total of protons and neutrons, so the neutron number is the difference between the mass number and the atomic number.
• Question 22

Questions 20 to 22 are about atomic structure.

Protons and neutrons are not spread uniformly around the atom.

Describe without using diagrams the arrangement of protons and neutrons within the atom. Explain how experimental evidence was used to develop this model.

[6]

EDDIE SAYS
Model answer: Protons and neutrons are both found in the nucleus of the atom. This is a small volume at the centre of the nucleus; the radius of the nucleus is about 10-15 m, compared with the typical atomic radius of 10-1 m. The key experimental evidence for this is the alpha particle scattering experiment. Rutherford, Geiger and Marsden fired a beam of alpha particles at a thin sheet of gold. They found that most alpha particles passed through the gold sheet unaffected, but a small percentage were deflected by large angles, some bouncing back off the sheet entirely. This was explained by most of the atom being empty space (allowing alpha particles to pass through) but a small volume at the centre of the atom containing nearly all the mass of the atom. This is what we call the nucleus. A lot of six mark science questions have this sort of format; you need two pieces of information to get 3 - 4 marks, and a connection between the facts to get into the 5 - 6 mark band. Be careful not to waste time on information the question isn't asking for; in this case, examiners would ignore anything you wrote about electrons.
• Question 23

Questions 23 to 25 are about density.

We have a small statue, made of a grey metal. Its base is about 2 cm wide, so it will fit in a measuring cylinder.

Describe an appropriate method to determine the density of the statue.

[4]

EDDIE SAYS
Model answer: Place the statue on a digital balance to determine its mass. To determine its volume, part-fill a measuring cylinder with water (to a greater depth than the height of the statue) and record the increase in water level when the statue is submerged in water. Calculate the density using the equation density = mass ÷ volume. Some of the questions in the exam will directly link to the required practicals you have done through the course. Exam boards don't give an exact method that you must follow like a recipe; they will credit sensible alternatives.
• Question 24

Questions 23 to 25 are about density.

We have a small statue, made of a grey metal. Its base is about 2 cm wide, so it will fit in a measuring cylinder.

The mass of the statue is 58.5 g and its volume is 7.4 cm3. Determine its density in g / cm3.

[2]

EDDIE SAYS
A lot of physics questions involve recalling an equation and substituting numbers in to get the answer. Whatever the topic, it's the same underlying skill.
• Question 25

Questions 23 to 25 are about density.

We have a small statue, made of a grey metal. Its base is about 2 cm wide, so it will fit in a measuring cylinder.

This table lists the densities of some common grey metals.

 Metal Density (g / cm3) Aluminium 2.7 Iron 7.9 Lead 11.4 Silver 10.5

Which metal is it most likely that the statue is made of? Justify your choice

[2]

EDDIE SAYS
In this question, the agreement between the value in the table and the measurement is very good. In a harder question, there might be a larger (but still small) gap between the value in the table and the result of the experiment.