2013 Notes from the Marking Centre – Physics
Introduction
This document has been produced for the teachers and candidates of the Stage 6 Physics course. It contains comments on candidate responses to the 2013 Higher School Certificate examination, highlighting their strengths in particular parts of the examination and indicating where candidates need to improve.
This document should be read along with:
- the Physics Stage 6 Syllabus
- the 2013 Higher School Certificate Physics examination
- the marking guidelines
- advice for candidates attempting science examinations
- Advice for HSC students about examinations
- other support documents developed by the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW to assist in the teaching and learning of Physics in Stage 6.
Section I – Part B
Candidates showed strength in these areas:
- understanding reliability with reference to secondary sources (Q.21b)
- plotting data on a graph (Q.22)
- calculating acceleration from change in velocity (Q.22)
- deriving appropriate equations for orbital velocity, electric field strength and net force and then substituting in appropriate values (Qs.23a, 25b, 26b, 29a, 30b)
- understanding the photoelectric effect (Q.24)
- extracting data from tables and graphs (Q.22).
Candidates need to improve in these areas:
- distinguishing between torque and force when deriving equations (Q.29)
- considering vector directions
- recognising non-standard units when substituting values into relevant equations (Qs.23b and 25b)
- constructing curves of best fit that correlate with all relevant plotted data (Q.22)
- recognising the importance of using the gradient to determine acceleration (Q.22)
- not assuming quantities such as the mass of celestial bodies
- distinguishing between Einstein’s contributions to relativity and quantum theory (Q.28).
Section II – Options
Candidates showed strength in these areas:
- understanding Rutherford’s model of the atom and Bohr’s postulates (Q.35a)
- reproducing a standard HR diagram (Q.34b)
- outlining the fusion reaction occurring in stars (Q.34d)
- extracting data from tables and graphs (Qs.32d, 33f, 34e, 35b, 36a, 36e).
Candidates need to improve in these areas:
- differentiating between neutrons and neutrinos and mass defect and binding energy (Q.35b and c)
- distinguishing between the conditions and steps in the CNO cycle within stars and the proton-proton chain reaction (Q.34c)
- plotting data on HR diagrams (Q.34b)
- extracting all relevant data when analysing complex graphs such as light curves (Q.35e)
- revising their first-hand investigations (Qs.33b and 34a)
- analysing gathered secondary information (Qs.32d, 33f, 34e, 35b, 36a, 36e).