What you need to know about O-Level Physics Practical Examinations

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The Singapore-Cambridge O-Level Physics syllabus aims to provide students with a holistic understanding of energy, matter and their interrelationships. It focuses on investigating natural phenomena and then applying patterns, models, principles, theories and laws to explain the physical behaviour of the universe.

Physics Practical is therefore one of the learning methods, and the Physics Practical examination is a crucial way to assess the student’s level of understanding and explanation.

For the O-Level Physics examination, there are a total of three Papers:

Paper

Type of Paper

Duration

Marks

Weighting

1

Multiple Choice

1 h

40

30%

2

Structured & Free Response

 

1 h 45 min

80

50%

3

Practical

1 h 50 min

40

20%

Zooming into the Practical assessment (Paper 3), it consists of two sections:

  • Section A carries 20 marks and will consist of one to two compulsory practical experiment questions with a total duration of 55 minutes.

(Usually consists two small experiments, with experimental design and planning)

  • Section B carries 20 marks and will consist of one compulsory 55-miniute practical experiment question.

(Usually one big experiment, which includes tabulation of data, graph drawing, graph analysis and sources of error)

Practical assessment questions require students to apply and integrate knowledge and understanding from different topics of the Physics syllabus.

Students are not allowed to refer to textbooks or any notes or information during the Practical exam. Students would be allocated a specific time for access to apparatus and materials of specific questions.

The student actually spends the longest time (1 h 50 min) for the Physics Practical assessment (Paper 3) managing up to three experiments, which could be nerve-wrecking if one is ill-prepared and inexperienced, or if lab data is poorly collected.

By getting more practice at a Physics lab, it is possible to build up familiarity with the different types of experiments and Cambridge assessment criteria like:

  • Manipulation, measurement and observation (MMO)
  • Presentation of data and observations (PDO)
  • Analysis, conclusions and evaluation (ACE)

At Concept First, we recognize the importance of the Physics Practical paper and have dedicated Physics Lab lessons to help you gain confidence and secure marks in this area.

View the full information on the Physics O-Level syllabus by SEAB (Singapore Examinations and Assessments Board).