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Physics - Kinematics

To study smart and ace your exams, you should study with the understanding of what you would be specifically tested on, and what are the expected learning outcomes as set by the GCE O-level Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board.

Below is some key information about “Kinematics” as an O-level Physics exam topic, and the desired learning outcomes.


Kinematics is a subfield of physics, developed in classical mechanics, that describes the motion of points, bodies (objects), and systems of bodies (groups of objects) without considering the forces that cause them to move. Kinematics, as a field of study, is often referred to as the “geometry of motion” and is occasionally seen as a branch of mathematics. A kinematics problem begins by describing the geometry of the system and declaring the initial conditions of any known values of position, velocity and/or acceleration of points within the system.

Kinematics is a topic within Newtonian Mechanics, the branch of physics that deals with the study of motion and its causes. The greatest contribution to the development of mechanics is by one of the greatest physicists of all time, Isaac Newton. By extending Galileo’s methods and understanding of motion and gravitation, Newton developed the three laws of motion and his law of universal gravitation, and successfully applied them to both terrestrial and celestial systems to predict and explain phenomena. He showed that nature is governed by a few special rules or laws that can be expressed in mathematical formulae.


  • Speed, velocity and acceleration
  • Graphical analysis of motion
  • Free-fall
  • Effect of air resistance

Learning Outcomes

O-level Physics candidates should be able to:

  • state what is meant by speed and velocity
  • calculate average speed using distance travelled / time taken
  • state what is meant by uniform acceleration and calculate the value of an acceleration using change in velocity / time taken
  • interpret given examples of non-uniform acceleration
  • plot and interpret a displacement-time graph and a velocity-time graph
  • deduce from the shape of a displacement-time graph when a body is:
    • at rest
    • moving with uniform velocity
    • moving with non-uniform velocity
  • deduce from the shape of a velocity-time graph when a body is:
    • at rest
    • moving with uniform velocity
    • moving with uniform acceleration
    • moving with non-uniform acceleration
  • calculate the area under a velocity-time graph to determine the displacement travelled for motion with uniform velocity or uniform acceleration
  • state that the acceleration of free fall for a body near to the Earth is constant and is approximately 10 m/s2
  • describe the motion of bodies with constant weight falling with or without air resistance, including reference to terminal velocity

[Source: Above information is extracted from the Singapore Examinations & Assessment Board Singapore-Cambridge O-level Physics Syllabus 6091 for the Year 2022 – ]


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