GCSE _Physics_Single

1.01 use the following units: kilogram (kg), metre (m), metre/second (m/s), metre/second^2(m/s^2), newton (N), second (s) and newton/kilogram(N/kg)

Make sure you are familiar with units for 

Mass: kilogram (kg)

Distance: metre (m)

Speed: metre per second (m/s)

Acceleration: metre per second squared (m/s^2)

Force: newton (N)

Time: second (s) 

Gravity: newton/kilogram (N/kg) 


1.03 plot and explain distance-time graphs

A distance time graph has distance on the y axis (usually in metres) and time on the x axis (usually in seconds). The gradient of the line (change in y/ change in x) is the speed. If the line is flat then the object is stationary.    

1.04 know and use the relationship between average speed, distance moved and time taken

To calculate average speed use 

speed (m/s) = distance travelled (m)/ time taken (s)

1.05 practical: investigate the motion of everyday objects such as a toy car or tennis ball

Apparatus: stop watch and metre rule

mark the start and end positions for the know distance 

use a metre rule to measure the distance 

line up front of car with start point, release and start timer 

move eyes to end point 

stop timer when front of car passes end point 

improve by repeating and averaging 

make sure car starts from stationary 

calculate average speed using : average speed = distance travelled/ time taken

1.07 plot and explain velocity-time graphs

on a velocity time graph the velocity-time graph the velocity is on the y axis (usually in m/s) and time is on the x axis (usually in s). If the line is flat then the object is moving at a constant velocity. the gradient of the line is the acceleration. The area under the line is the distance travelled.  

1.09 determine the distance travelled from the area between a velocity-time graph and the time axis

The area under the graph can be calculated as rectangles and triangles, or by counting boxes, is equal to the distance travelled. 

1.11 describe the effects of forces between bodies such as changes in speed, shape or direction

Forces can act on a body to change the velocity, so the speed, direction or both.

Or forces can change the shape of a body, stretching it squishing it or twisting it. 

1.12 identify different types of force such as gravitational or electrostatic

different types of forces include:

Gravitational, weight, friction, electrostatic, air resistance (drag), tension (force in a spring), up thrust, lift, thrust 

1.17 know and use the relationship between unbalanced force, mass and acceleration : F = M x A

Force = Mass x Acceleration.

the force refers to the resultant force or the combined forces as seen in 1.15 

1.18 know and use the relationship between weight, mass and gravitational field strength: W=mxg

Weight (N)= Mass (kg) x gravitational field strength (N/kg)

gravitational field strength on earth is approx. 10 N/kg and in GCSEs is taken to be 10 N/kg. 

1.20 describe the factors affecting vehicle stopping distance, including speed, mass, road condition and reaction time

Thinking distance Affected by:



speed of the car

Drugs (avoid as drugs can increase or decrease thinking distance) 

Braking distance affected by:

Road conditions 

Tyre conditions 

Brake conditions 

speed of the car

mass of the car


2.04 know and use the relationship between power, current and voltage: and apply the relationship to the selection of appropriate fuses

power (w) = current (A) x voltage (V) 

when looking at a circuit a component will be given a power and a voltage appropriate to run at then the current can be calculated so the rating of the fuse can be selected for slightly higher than that. 


2.06 know the difference between mains electricity being alternating current (a.c.) and direct current (d.c.) being supplied by a cell or battery

AC is constantly changing magnitude and direction. AC is how mains electricity is produced from turbines.

DC is constant. And is produced from a battery and used in some sensitive components like in computing.

2.08 understand how the current in a series circuit depends on the applied voltage and the number and nature of other components

Notes on current:

  • As voltage increases the current also increases.
  • In general, the more components in a circuit, the lower the current.

2.09 describe how current varies with voltage in wires, resistors, metal filament lamps and diodes, and how to investigate this experimentally

in the bellow diagram the red box could represent a wire, a bulb, a resistor or a diode. 

By changing the resistance of the variable resistor the graphs are reproduced. 

3.01 use the following units: degree (°), hertz (Hz), metre (m), metre/second (m/s) and second (s)

the units for:

angle = degree (°) 

frequency = hertz (Hz)

wavelength = metre (m)

velocity = metre/second (m/s)

time = second (s) 


3.03 know the definitions of amplitude, wavefront, frequency, wavelength and period of a wave

Key Definitions:

  • Wavefront: Created by overlapping lots of different waves. A wavefront is where all the vibrations are in phase and the same distance from the source.
  • Amplitude: The maximum displacement of particles from their equilibrium position.
  • Wavelength: The distance between a particular point on one cycle of the wave and the same point on the next cycle.
  • Frequency: The number of waves passing a particular point per second. Is measured in Hertz (Hz).
  • Time Period: The time it takes for one complete wave to pass a particular point.

3.04 know that waves transfer energy and information without transferring matter

Waves can transfer energy and information with out transferring matter, for example sun light, it transfers energy as it makes the earth warm without bringing any matter.  

3.10 know that light is part of a continuous electromagnetic spectrum that includes radio, microwave, infrared, visible, ultraviolet, x-ray and gamma ray radiations and that all these waves travel at the same speed in free space

Electromagnetic Spectrum:

  • A continuous spectrum of waves of differing frequency.
  • All electromagnetic waves have the following properties:
    • Transfer energy
    • Are transverse waves
    • Travel at the speed of light in a vacuum
    • Can be reflected and refracted

3.11 know the order of the electromagnetic spectrum in terms of decreasing wavelength and increasing frequency, including the colours of the visible spectrum

Radio Waves


Infrared (IR)

Visible Light

Ultraviolet (UV)

X – Rays

Gamma Rays 

these are written in order of increasing frequency, lowest at the top

and decreasing wavelength, lowest at the bottom.

the colours displayed are in order of lowest frequency to the left highest frequency to the right.  

3.12 Explain some of the uses of electromagnetic radiations, including: radio waves: broadcasting and communications, microwaves: cooking and satellite transmissions, infrared: heaters and night vision equipment, visible light: optical fibres and photography, ultraviolet: fluorescent lamps, x-rays: observing the internal structure of objects and materials, including for medical applications, gamma rays: sterilising food and medical equipment.

uses of electromagnetic radiations, including:
• radio waves: broadcasting and communications
• microwaves: cooking and satellite transmissions
• infrared: heaters and night vision equipment
• visible light: optical fibres and photography
• ultraviolet: fluorescent lamps
• x-rays: observing the internal structure of objects and materials, including for medical applications
• gamma rays: sterilising food and medical equipment.

3.13 explain the detrimental effects of excessive exposure of the human body to electromagnetic waves, including: microwaves: internal heating of body tissue, infrared: skin burns, ultraviolet: damage to surface cells and blindness, gamma rays: cancer, mutation and describe simple protective measures against the risks

the detrimental effects of excessive exposure of the human body to electromagnetic waves:
• microwaves: internal heating of body tissue
• infrared: skin burns
• ultraviolet: damage to surface cells and blindness
• gamma rays: cancer, mutation

to reduce the risks:

  • wear sun glasses, sun cream and stay in shade for UV
  • Wear led clothing for Gamma 

3.17 practical: investigate the refraction of light, using rectangular blocks, semi-circular blocks and triangular prisms

1.       Set up your apparatus as shown in the diagram using a rectangular block.

2.       Shine the light ray through the glass block

3.       Use crosses to mark the path of the ray.

4.       Join up crosses with a ruler

5.       Draw on a normal where the ray enters the glass block

6.       Measure the angle of incidence and the angle of refraction and add these to your results table

7.       Comment on how the speed of the light has changed as the light moves between the mediums.

8.       Repeat this for different angles of incidence and different glass prisms. 

3.21 explain the meaning of critical angle c

Critical Angle:

  • The angle of incidence which produces an angle of refraction of 900 (refracted ray is along the boundary of the surface).
  • When the angle of incidence is greater than the critical angle, total internal reflection occurs (all light is reflected at the boundary).
  • This effect only occurs at a boundary from a high refractive index material to a low refractive index material.

4.01 use the following units: kilogram (kg), joule (J), metre (m), metre/second (m/s), metre/second2 (m/s2), newton (N), second (s) and watt (W)

know the units for 

Mass = kilogram (kg)

energy = joule (J)

velocity = metre/second (m/s)

acelleration = metre/ second 2 (m/s2)

force = newton (N)

time = second (s)

power = watt (W) 


4.02 describe energy transfers involving energy stores: energy stores: chemical, kinetic, gravitational, elastic, thermal, magnetic, electrostatic, nuclear and energy transfers: mechanically, electrically, by heating, by radiation (light and sound)

Energy Stores:

Chemical – e.g. the food we eat

Kinetic – movement energy

Gravitational – objects that are lifted up

Elastic – e.g. from springs

Thermal – from hot objects

Magnetic – objects in magnetic fields

Electrostatic – charged objects

Nuclear –  stored within a nucleus



4.05 describe a variety of everyday and scientific devices and situations, explaining the transfer of the input energy in terms of the above relationship, including their representation by Sankey diagrams

The energy flow is shown by arrows whose width is proportional to the amount of energy involved. The wasted and useful energy outputs are shown by different arrows.


4.13 know and use the relationship between gravitational potential energy, mass, gravitational field strength and height: GPE = m × g × h

Gravitational potential energy  (J) =  Mass (kg) x gravitational field strength (N/kg) x height (m) 

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Section 1: Principles of chemistry

      a) States of matter

      b) Atoms

      c) Atomic structure

     d) Relative formula masses and molar volumes of gases

     e) Chemical formulae and chemical equations

     f) Ionic compounds

     g) Covalent substances

     h) Metallic crystals

     i) Electrolysis

 Section 2: Chemistry of the elements

     a) The Periodic Table

     b) Group 1 elements: lithium, sodium and potassium

     c) Group 7 elements: chlorine, bromine and iodine

     d) Oxygen and oxides

     e) Hydrogen and water

     f) Reactivity series

     g) Tests for ions and gases

Section 3: Organic chemistry

     a) Introduction

     b) Alkanes

     c) Alkenes

     d) Ethanol

Section 4: Physical chemistry

     a) Acids, alkalis and salts

     b) Energetics

     c) Rates of reaction

     d) Equilibria

Section 5: Chemistry in industry

     a) Extraction and uses of metals

     b) Crude oil

     c) Synthetic polymers

     d) The industrial manufacture of chemicals

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