Exam terms

Systematic error

These cause readings to differ from the true value by a consistent amount each time a measurement is made.  Sources of systematic error can include the environment methods of observation or instruments used.  Systematic errors cannot be dealt with by simple repeats. ,If a systematic error is suspected the data collection should be repeated using …

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Suggest

In the context of the exam questions this means that: you need to apply your knowledge and understanding to a new situation. This command word is often used where the examiner is testing your ability to apply your existing knowledge to an unfamiliar context. You are likely to be given a scenario you are entirely …

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Sketch graph

A line graph, not necessarily on a grid, that shows the general shape of the relationship between two variables.  It will not have any points plotted and although the axes should be labelled they may not be scaled. 

Sketch

In the context of the exam questions this means that: you need to draw approximately. Just use very simple lines, shapes and labels to represent the parts of what you are trying to show in your sketch. You don’t need to be an artist to gain full marks.

Show

In the context of the exam questions this means that: you need to provide structured evidence to reach a conclusion. To do this you need to build up the logic of what you are saying step by step.  Each step in what you say should follow on logically from the previous step. Especially if it …

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Resolution

This is the smallest change in the quantity being measured (input) of a measuring instrument that gives a perceptible change in the reading.  This is an important consideration in microscopy. A high resolution image can be magnified to show fine details more clearly. Magnifying a low resolution image shows a larger version of the same …

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Reproducible

A measurement is reproducible if the investigation is repeated by another person or by using different equipment or techniques and the same results are obtained.  Be careful not to confuse repeatability (you) and reproducibility (other people). 

Repeatable

A measurement is repeatable if the original experimenter repeats the investigation using same method and equipment and obtains the same results.  Be careful not to confuse repeatability (you) and reproducibility (other people). 

Random error

These cause readings to be spread about the true value due to results varying in an unpredictable way from one measurement to the next. Random errors are present when any measurement is made and cannot be corrected. The effect of random errors can be reduced by making more measurements and then calculating a new mean. …

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