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GCSE Phyics Paper 2 Higher Practice Paper in the Style of AQA Separate Science

In this assessment, students will complete a timed paper in the style of AQA Separate Science GCSE Physics Paper 2 Higher Tier.

'GCSE Phyics Paper 2 Higher Practice Paper in the Style of AQA Separate Science' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

GCSE Subjects:   Physics: Single Subject

GCSE Boards:   AQA

Curriculum topic:   GCSE Sample Practice Papers

Curriculum subtopic:   Higher Practice Papers

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

In this assessment, students will be able to complete a timed GCSE Science Physics Paper 2 (Higher) in the style of AQA Separate Science.

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 105 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.

 

Quantities are important in physics.

 

[1]

A force is a push or pull and can be split into either contact or non-contact forces.

Which of the following are non-contact forces?

 

[1]

Friction

Gravity

Magnetic

Air Resistance

Electrostatic

Newton identified three Laws of Motion.

 

 

Explain Newton's First Law of Motion?

 

[3]

The picture below shows somebody on a bicycle.

 

 

Explain in reference to forces, why the wheels pushing on the floor causes the bike to move forward?

 

[3]

The graph below shows the change in speed as somebody completes a skydive.

 

 

Explain what is happening at each stage of the skydive and what forces are causing it to happen at points A to D.

 

[6]

Write the equation that links Pressure, Force normal to a surface and area of the surface.

 

[1]

A force being exerted at a normal angle to a surface exerts a pressure.

What size angle does the term normal refer to?

 

[1]

45 degrees

70 degrees

90 degrees

120 degrees

The following shows a mountain climber on the slopes of Mount Everest.

 

 

Everest is covered in solid layers of ice and also soft snow.

Explain why the climber's boots will have sharp metal spikes one them but also a large surface area.

 

[2]

The mountain climber has a mass of 85 Kg.

What is his total weight?

 

[1]

 

822 N

833 N

850 N

860 N

The spikes on the bottom of the snow boots have a total surface area of 0.08 m2 and the total area of the boots were 0.68 m2.

If the climber had a weight of 900 N what is the difference in pressure that he is exerting on the spikes compared to the overall boot?

 

[5]

Below is a graph showing how air pressure changes with altitude.

 

 

Using data from the graph and your knowledge, explain why a climber would need an oxygen supply to climb Mount Everest and may suffer altitude sickness without it.

 

[5]

Below shows some waves in water.

 

 

[1]

The diagram below shows a light ray hitting a plain mirror.

 

 

Explain where the ray of reflection would come off the mirror and explain how you are able to predict this.

 

[3]

 

The photo below demonstrates an optical illusion with water that makes the straw look broken.

Explain how this illusion occurs due to the properties of light.

 

[4]

The photo below shows what happens to white light as it passes through a prism.

 

 

What is the name used to describe what is happening to the light?

 

[1]

Colouration

Dispersion

Reverberation

Diffusion

Humans are not able to hear all sound frequencies.

What is the range of human hearing?

 

[1]

200 - 200,000 Hz

2 - 200 Hz

20 - 20,000 Hz

2,000 - 20,000 Hz

Ultrasound is sound produced above the human hearing range.

Give two uses of ultrasound.

 

[2]

The Universe is made of millions of stars of differing sizes.

 

 

Describe the life cycle of a star that is a similar size to our sun.

 

[6]

The Universe is extremely large and difficult to study.

 

 

[1]

The diagram below shows a simple electromagnet built using a wire wrapped around an iron nail.

 

 

Give two ways which you could increase the strength of the electromagnet.

 

[2]

Electromagnets are used in fire alarms.

 

 

Referring to the diagram above explain why the alarm sound when the switch is turned on.

 

[5]

Transformers are used as part of the National Grid to increase or decrease the size of alternating current and potential difference.

Describe the structure of a step-up transformer.

 

[2]

Electricity is distributed around the country in pylons like the one shown below.

 

 

[1]

How does a transformer generate a new current int the secondary coil?

 

[4]

Write down the equation which links Moment of a force, Force and Distance (normal to the direction of a force).

 

[1]

Below shows a seesaw made from children's building blocks.

 

Using the picture explain the Principle of Moments.

 

[2]

The diagram shows the use of moments on an aeroplane.

 

 

In order for the aeroplane to be balanced what must the missing distance be?

 

[3]

Police cars are designed to be able to accelerate very quickly.

 

Explain two ways in which police cars can accelerate quickly.

 

[2]

 

The police car has a mass of 1500 kg and the resultant force of 2000 N.

Calculate its acceleration.

 

[2]

The police car may need to brake suddenly.

Stopping Distance = Thinking Distance X Braking Distance

From the list below identify two factors that can increase the braking distance of a vehicle.

 

[1]

Drinking alcohol

Poor tyre conditions

Icy road conditions

Using a mobile phone

In the U.K there are strict laws about drink driving.

Why is there a limit to how much alcohol you can drink before driving?

 

[2]

  • Question 1

Quantities are important in physics.

 

[1]

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
This is a common fill the gap or linking question for Physics. You need to learn that scalar quantities have a magnitude (or size) and no direction. Examples include distance, speed, time. mass, energy and power. Vector quantities have a magnitude and direction. Examples include velocity, force, momentum. Displacement is the distance travelled in a given direction. For example; London is one hundred miles east.
  • Question 2

A force is a push or pull and can be split into either contact or non-contact forces.

Which of the following are non-contact forces?

 

[1]

CORRECT ANSWER
Gravity
Magnetic
Electrostatic
EDDIE SAYS
You need to know that contact forces are created when two objects touch and interact. Examples include friction and air resistance. Non-contact forces are created between objects that don't have to touch. Examples include gravity and magnetic fields.
  • Question 3

Newton identified three Laws of Motion.

 

 

Explain Newton's First Law of Motion?

 

[3]

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
You need to learn what each of Newton's three Laws of Motion are and be able to recall them or apply them to examples. Here's a model answer for this question: Newton's first law explains that if forces are balanced then an object will remain stationary if it is not moving. If it is already moving the object will continue to move at a constant speed.
  • Question 4

The picture below shows somebody on a bicycle.

 

 

Explain in reference to forces, why the wheels pushing on the floor causes the bike to move forward?

 

[3]

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
This is a common question type where the exam tests knowledge of Newton's Third Law of Motion and applying it to examples. Here's a model answer for this question. Newton's Third Law of Motion states when two objects interact with each other they exert an equal and opposite force on each other. The bicycle tyre pushes against the ground. In return, the floor exerts an equal and opposite force on the bike pushing it forward. This is called the driving force that is caused by friction.
  • Question 5

The graph below shows the change in speed as somebody completes a skydive.

 

 

Explain what is happening at each stage of the skydive and what forces are causing it to happen at points A to D.

 

[6]

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
This is a popular exam question because it tests knowledge of forces and being able to apply it to a speed/time graph. You need to be able to read for each stage what is happening to the speed. Here's a model answer for this question. At point A, speed is increasing due to the forces acting on the skydiver being unbalanced. When the line becomes a flat horizontal line this means the speed is no longer increasing and is constant. This is caused by forces acting on the skydiver being balanced. This is called terminal velocity. At point B, the speed suddenly drops quickly down to 5 m/s which is due to the parachute being opened. At this point, the upwards force (air resistance/upthrust) becomes much greater than the downward force of weight and so the skydiver slows down. This is because the parachute has a large surface area which catches particles of air providing the upthrust. Between points C and D the graph again levels off to a steady speed / terminal velocity of 5 m/s. This is again because the upthrust force and weight balance out and there is no resultant force. At point D the skydiver lands with a jolt and the speed drops to zero.
  • Question 6

Write the equation that links Pressure, Force normal to a surface and area of the surface.

 

[1]

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
This is one of the equations you must be able to recall from memory for Physics Paper 2 and you will not be provided with it. A list of equations you must learn are available from the AQA Physics Specification.
  • Question 7

A force being exerted at a normal angle to a surface exerts a pressure.

What size angle does the term normal refer to?

 

[1]

CORRECT ANSWER
90 degrees
EDDIE SAYS
Normal lines and angles are used in multiple physics modules so could easily be a term you are expected to understand and apply in the exam. Normal means at 90 degrees / right angle to the surface and is often represented by a normal line.
  • Question 8

The following shows a mountain climber on the slopes of Mount Everest.

 

 

Everest is covered in solid layers of ice and also soft snow.

Explain why the climber's boots will have sharp metal spikes one them but also a large surface area.

 

[2]

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Pressure is a topic most students are familiar with from work done in earlier school and so most are able to apply it to new situations. You must learn that objects with small surface areas will exert a high pressure on an object (ice in this question). Objects with a large surface area will spread the force over the area and so exert a low surface area onto an object (snow in this question).
  • Question 9

The mountain climber has a mass of 85 Kg.

What is his total weight?

 

[1]

 

CORRECT ANSWER
833 N
EDDIE SAYS
This is a question which could be asked in either Physics Paper One or Physics Paper Two. To answer it you must recall the equation: Weight = Mass X Gravitational Field Strength You must also remember the value for Gravitational Field Strength on Earth is always 9.8 N/kg. The calculation therefore is: Weight = 85 Kg X 9.8 N/Kg Weight = 833 N
  • Question 10

The spikes on the bottom of the snow boots have a total surface area of 0.08 m2 and the total area of the boots were 0.68 m2.

If the climber had a weight of 900 N what is the difference in pressure that he is exerting on the spikes compared to the overall boot?

 

[5]

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
This question makes you work out the pressure of both the spikes and the boots using the equation: Pressure = Force normal to the surface/area of the surface Then you work out the difference in both pressures.
  • Question 11

Below is a graph showing how air pressure changes with altitude.

 

 

Using data from the graph and your knowledge, explain why a climber would need an oxygen supply to climb Mount Everest and may suffer altitude sickness without it.

 

[5]

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Here's a model answer for this question: The graph shows that air pressure at the top of the mountain is much lower than at sea level. At the top of Everest, it is 250 mmHg compared to 760 mmHg at sea level which means there are only about 1/3 of the oxygen atoms available at the top of the mountain. This means that climbers have less oxygen available to them and that their rate of aerobic respiration will be limited resulting in them releasing less energy from glucose in their body. Students generally understand the idea of air pressure dropping as you increase in altitude as there are fewer particles present higher up and this means less oxygen is available. However, the link to biology is important here and you would be expected to be able to explain with less oxygen there would be less (aerobic) respiration occurring and thus less energy is available to the climber. Students would be expected to compared data from the graph in this question based on the instructions of the question. Please always ensure you use the units from the graph when quoting data.
  • Question 12

Below shows some waves in water.

 

 

[1]

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Typically exam questions will always introduce waves through asking about either both or one of the types of waves. Transverse waves are when the oscillation or vibration of the wave is at right angles to the direction of travel and all electromagnetic waves are transverse. Water is also transverse. If you stood on a beach and watched a boat on the water it would bob up and down with the oscillations of the wave whilst the direction of the waves would be towards you (right angles to each other). Longitudinal waves are when the oscillation of the wave (in this case rarefaction and compressions) are parallel to the direction the wave is travelling. Sound is a transverse wave.
  • Question 13

The diagram below shows a light ray hitting a plain mirror.

 

 

Explain where the ray of reflection would come off the mirror and explain how you are able to predict this.

 

[3]

 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Here's a model answer for this question: The angle of reflection from the mirror would be at the same angle from the normal line as the angle of incidence. This is because light rays hitting a plain mirror will follow the Law of Reflection. This means the angle of reflection will always be the same as the angle of incidence. The ray of incidence is the one entering the mirror. The ray of reflection is the one moving away from the mirror.
  • Question 14

The photo below demonstrates an optical illusion with water that makes the straw look broken.

Explain how this illusion occurs due to the properties of light.

 

[4]

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Here's an example of a model answer for this question: The straw appears to be broken in the water due to refraction of light. This is when the light bends as it crosses a boundary due to it changing speed. As the light is crossing from the air which is a less dense medium to the water which is a more dense medium, it will bend towards the normal.
  • Question 15

The photo below shows what happens to white light as it passes through a prism.

 

 

What is the name used to describe what is happening to the light?

 

[1]

CORRECT ANSWER
Dispersion
EDDIE SAYS
You need to know that the splitting of white light is called dispersion and it is due to the different wavelengths of light being refracted to different levels.
  • Question 16

Humans are not able to hear all sound frequencies.

What is the range of human hearing?

 

[1]

CORRECT ANSWER
20 - 20,000 Hz
EDDIE SAYS
Human hearing range is 20 - 20,000 Hz. Above 20,000 Hz is called ultrasound and we are not able to detect this sound. Some animals use ultrasound for communication.
  • Question 17

Ultrasound is sound produced above the human hearing range.

Give two uses of ultrasound.

 

[2]

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
The uses of ultrasound are often split into medical and industrial but you need to be able to recall the following uses: Industrial Uses: Depth testing in boats Detecting flaws in the engineering of metal castings Cleaning jewellery Medical Uses: Scanning unborn babies Breaking down kidney stones Cleaning teeth
  • Question 18

The Universe is made of millions of stars of differing sizes.

 

 

Describe the life cycle of a star that is a similar size to our sun.

 

[6]

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Here's an example of a model answer for this question: A star's life cycle begins when clouds of gas and dust are forced together by gravity. This is called a protostar. The friction caused by particles colliding increases the temperature until nuclear fusion starts and the star becomes a main sequence star. This is when the star completes nuclear fusion converting hydrogen into helium and releasing energy. In a main sequence star the outward force of fusion balances the inward force of gravity making the star stable. When the star runs out of hydrogen, helium starts fusing to make heavier elements and the size of the star swells into a red giant. When fusion stops the star collapses inwards and friction causes it to become hot and make a white dwarf. When the white dwarf cools it becomes a black dwarf.
  • Question 19

The Universe is extremely large and difficult to study.

 

 

[1]

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
The redshift is a topic which many students find difficult but understanding the basics should be relatively easy. You must then apply these to a given question. The redshift is the Doppler Effect applied to light. When wavelengths of light are stretched they become red and when the are squashed they become blue. When objects emitting light move away from a stationary object the wavelengths will become longer and so the white light will shift to the red end of the spectrum. In space, distant light-emitting objects are all red shifted and therefore are moving away from us. As objects are moving away from us (redshift is seen) in all directions it is evidence that the universe is expanding as a result of the Big Bang. The Big Bang was a giant explosion which we believe is how the universe began.
  • Question 20

The diagram below shows a simple electromagnet built using a wire wrapped around an iron nail.

 

 

Give two ways which you could increase the strength of the electromagnet.

 

[2]

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
This is a very common question for electromagnets. There are three ways you can increase the strength of an electromagnet: 1. Increase the number of turns in the coil (solenoid) 2. Increase the current in the wire 3. Add an iron core In this question there is already an iron nail in the coil which is an iron core, therefore, you can only get marks for the first two examples.
  • Question 21

Electromagnets are used in fire alarms.

 

 

Referring to the diagram above explain why the alarm sound when the switch is turned on.

 

[5]

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Here's an example of a model answer for this question: When the switch is turned on the current can flow through the circuit and the electromagnet is turned on. This generates a magnetic field. This attracts the soft iron armature which hits the bell. As the soft iron armature is pulled away from the circuit it breaks the circuit and the electromagnet is turned off and it loses its magnetism. The spring causes the soft iron armature to recoil back and reconnect the circuit. The process repeats rapidly.
  • Question 22

Transformers are used as part of the National Grid to increase or decrease the size of alternating current and potential difference.

Describe the structure of a step-up transformer.

 

[2]

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Transformers are a common area of assessment and this will generally be split into two key areas. The first is about their structure and this is a basic recall to explain that they are made of an iron core with two coils of wire wrapped around it. The wires must be insulated for the transformer to work. The second area is always about how they work. Please look at the next question for this.
  • Question 23

Electricity is distributed around the country in pylons like the one shown below.

 

 

[1]

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
The National Grid is a topic which could get asked about in both Physics Paper One and Physics Paper Two but is in relatively low demand. You need to understand that the electricity leaving the power station has a low potential difference (voltage) but high current. High currents cause high resistance and so if this was transmitted through the wires a lot of energy would be lost as heat energy. To avoid this a step-up transformer is used to decrease the current and increase the voltage of the electricity which will reduce heat loss making the transmission more efficient. This makes the electricity more dangerous however so before it enters our homes and schools the voltage must be decreased using a step-down transformer.
  • Question 24

How does a transformer generate a new current int the secondary coil?

 

[4]

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Here's an example of a model answer for this question: When an alternating current passes through the primary coil, the motor effect generates an alternating magnetic field across the iron core. This alternating magnetic field will then interact with the secondary coil to induce an alternating potential difference. If the secondary coil is part of a complete circuit it will then create an alternating current.
  • Question 25

Write down the equation which links Moment of a force, Force and Distance (normal to the direction of a force).

 

[1]

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
This is one of the equations that you must be able to recall and use from memory in your GCSE Physics Paper Two.
  • Question 26

Below shows a seesaw made from children's building blocks.

 

Using the picture explain the Principle of Moments.

 

[2]

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
The Principle of Moments is a relatively simple idea but as shown in the answer you must use the correct terminology to hit the full two marks here. For one mark you must explain that the clockwise and anticlockwise moments are the same. There is no other way of explaining this correctly. For the second mark, you must then explain the object is in balance/equilibrium.
  • Question 27

The diagram shows the use of moments on an aeroplane.

 

 

In order for the aeroplane to be balanced what must the missing distance be?

 

[3]

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
This is a high demand mathematical question which requires you to rearrange the equation: Moment = Force X Distance (normal to the direction of the force) To complete this question you need to understand that the object is balanced and so the Principle of Moments would tell us that this means the Total Clockwise Moment = Total Anticlockwise Moment. So, to complete this question we first must use the information we have to calculate the Total Anticlockwise Moment which equals 400,000 Nm This means the Clockwise Moment is also 400,000 Nm. We then must rearrange the equation to calculate distance. Distance = Total Clockwise Moment / Force This gives us an answer of 13.3 m
  • Question 28

Police cars are designed to be able to accelerate very quickly.

 

Explain two ways in which police cars can accelerate quickly.

 

[2]

 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
This question specifically asks about Acceleration. To answer it correctly you must link to the recall and use the equation from memory for Physics Paper Two: Acceleration = Resultant Force / Mass This, therefore, means you must refer to force and mass only in the question. The source of the force moving the car is the engine so the engine size must be larger to create a large force. The mass of the car must be reduced to increase the acceleration.
  • Question 29

The police car has a mass of 1500 kg and the resultant force of 2000 N.

Calculate its acceleration.

 

[2]

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
To answer this question you must be able to recall and rearrange the equation: Resultant Force = Mass X Acceleration This can be rearranged into: Acceleration = Resultant Force / Mass
  • Question 30

The police car may need to brake suddenly.

Stopping Distance = Thinking Distance X Braking Distance

From the list below identify two factors that can increase the braking distance of a vehicle.

 

[1]

CORRECT ANSWER
Poor tyre conditions
Icy road conditions
EDDIE SAYS
This question focuses on your understanding of the two components for stopping distances. The braking distance is the time it takes for the car to stop once you have pressed the brake and so is due to the physical conditions of the road and car rather than the driver. Factors that increase the amount of time and thus distance travelled during braking include: Icy / wet road conditions Poor tyre or brake conditions Mass of the car Speed the car is travelling
  • Question 31

In the U.K there are strict laws about drink driving.

Why is there a limit to how much alcohol you can drink before driving?

 

[2]

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
A low demand but important question to remember long after the exams are finished. Alcohol is a depressant, recreational drug which means it slows your reaction times. This means you take longer to respond to changes in the road and so your thinking distance is longer. As stopping distance is thinking distance, added to braking distance, this increases the distance it takes for your car to come to a stop, and therefore, you are more likely to have an accident.
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