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# Physics Practicals - Where am I going wrong? watch

1. I always seem to end up doing terribly in practicals. In our first attempt at the A2 practicals I achieved a laughable 24/40 (8/10, 12/20, 4/10). Last year I managed to scrape an A with 32/40 but that was only after the second try. We only have one more chance to get it right, but first I need to know where on earth I'm going wrong, and how to prepare for them, can anyone give me some tips? How much preparation should I be doing for them?

It's practically the same with the exams, bar the Mechanics module in AS the exams seem to be much more difficult than what is learnt during revision or when practising questions.
2. (Original post by ElegantElephant™)
I always seem to end up doing terribly in practicals. In our first attempt at the A2 practicals I achieved a laughable 24/40 (8/10, 12/20, 4/10). Last year I managed to scrape an A with 32/40 but that was only after the second try. We only have one more chance to get it right, but first I need to know where on earth I'm going wrong, and how to prepare for them, can anyone give me some tips? How much preparation should I be doing for them?

It's practically the same with the exams, bar the Mechanics module in AS the exams seem to be much more difficult than what is learnt during revision or when practising questions.
Most important points of a good practical score:

i) Do repeat readings of everything, and take the average. If they ask you to measure your desk, do it three times, make a table, and take the mean.
ii) Get good at making the links between the relationship you're given and y = mx+c, or the logarithmic version of this if you're in A2
iii) get good at plotting graphs. Your points need to take up at least half the page in each direction. You need to have the exact same axis titles on your graph as you do in your table, and that should be in the following format:

Length / m.
Mass / N

My two practical modules were the worst out of all my physics modules, but I scored a still good 108/120 and 112/120 in them. The practicals themselves are as easy or as difficult as you make them, just keep things simple and remember the above .
3. (Original post by M_E_X)
Most important points of a good practical score:

i) Do repeat readings of everything, and take the average. If they ask you to measure your desk, do it three times, make a table, and take the mean.
ii) Get good at making the links between the relationship you're given and y = mx+c, or the logarithmic version of this if you're in A2
iii) get good at plotting graphs. Your points need to take up at least half the page in each direction. You need to have the exact same axis titles on your graph as you do in your table, and that should be in the following format:

Length / m.
Mass / N

My two practical modules were the worst out of all my physics modules, but I scored a still good 108/120 and 112/120 in them. The practicals themselves are as easy or as difficult as you make them, just keep things simple and remember the above .
Thanks a lot, those tips are very helpful, some of them I haven't even thought about until now
4. (Original post by ElegantElephant™)
Thanks a lot, those tips are very helpful, some of them I haven't even thought about until now
No problem . If you're stuck on any particular problems I'm happy to help, just quote me and put the link to the paper or whatever.

Doing repeat readings and having good graphs (and axes) are the most important things really.
5. (Original post by M_E_X)
No problem . If you're stuck on any particular problems I'm happy to help, just quote me and put the link to the paper or whatever.

Doing repeat readings and having good graphs (and axes) are the most important things really.
Thanks for the offer I appreciate it, I'll be sure to bother you when I have any more questions
6. Just do lots of practice, students often think because they're practicals they can't be practiced as much as you would for written exams.

Find topics of your syllabus that have a relevant practicals/experimental investigations and do them by yourself. Obviously unless you're like Dexter and have a secret lab in your room, you won't be able to get results but they can easily be obtained from the web (or even make up your own so that they fit the scientific pattern).

With the results obtained (which is the easiest bit of a practical) do three written stages:

1. Planning (plan your experiment, note the control variables, equipment, method, safety measures, method for recording your results...and then explain why you've decided to do what you do)

2. Analysis (with the results obtained, do the necessary calculations, mess around with formulae and do the graphs, find the gradients and relate it to what it represents in the experiment)

3. Conclusion/Evaluation (what do your results show? do they support the hypothesis? how can the experiment be made better?)

You can get the practical written exams from most exam board websites, just go over those questions for each different practical and hopefully you'll get the hang of it
7. in calculation make sure u do- the % uncertainty etc
8. any hints on wats coming up?

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